Eating Shrimp and Self-Isolating

               


At the end of our Communications Committee Meeting on Monday, Gustavo asked if anyone had anything else. Ron said, “Just one thing, when are we going to get shrimp?”

               That harked back to a couple of months ago when Armando told us there was a place where people line up to get shrimp. We said we wanted to go there sometime, but we never had.

               Gusatvo laughed at Ron’s question and said, “I like how you think, Elder Searle. We’ll go tomorrow.”

               So Tuesday for lunch, we along with Gustavo, Michelle, and Armando piled into Gustavo’s car and drove to the shrimp place, which turned out to be a street stand. Before we came here, we heard all the warnings about not eating at street stands, but they are everywhere here and the smell that emanates from some of them is almost irresistible. So we learned a different rule here, if you’re going to eat at a street stand, eat at one with a long line. The regulars know which places have the best food and at which places people have gotten sick, so trust the crowd. With that rule in mind, the shrimp place was a definite “eat here” spot. There was a line when we arrived, but Armando told us it was a short compared to what the lines were before the pandemic.

Armando, our host

               We had Marlin “fish sticks.” I call them that for lack of better word to describe them. They were long pieces of fish battered and fried. Next we had crab tostadas with avocado and fish empanadas. Then the piece de resistance—shrimp cocktail. The food was all wonderful, but the shrimp cocktail is what the long line is for. It is a jar full of shrimp in a delicious cocktail sauce. For a seafood lover like me, it was heaven!

 


              Going to eat shrimp was our only outing for the week. After we got back to the office from lunch, Ron started getting a scratchy throat. By the next morning, it was obvious he was sick, and Friday night I started in with a scratchy throat. We don’t know if it’s COVID or flu—we’ve been vaccinated for both. Regardless of what virus it is, we’ve been self-isolating since Wednesday. The good news is Ron is feeling well today, so if it runs the same course in me, I should be back up by the middle of the week. The other good news is that I was able to access most of the programs I use at work on my laptop at home, so I could still do a little work. Plus, we are so blessed to be serving in this area with so many other wonderful Senior Missionaries; we received more offers to bring us dinner than we could accept.



               Meanwhile, since we are staying in our apartment, I thought this would be a good time to give you a tour of it. I took these photos a while ago but didn’t share them on my blog because I thought they would give an inaccurate image of what Senior Missionary housing is like. We pay the maximum the church has Senior Missionaries pay for housing, so we have a really nice apartment which I don’t think is typical. However, after hearing from other Senior Missionaries, I’ve decided that there is no one single image of a “typical” Senior mission. The assignments, the apartments, and the entire situations are as varied as are the Senior Missionaries themselves. So here is where we live and are isolating.

The view into our apartment from the front door. The undercounter
appliance which looks like a dishwasher is really a fridge. We have a
second larger, but still small (smaller than it looks here refrigerator
on the left.)

    
Our at home office. You can see my wonky oven in the reflection of the mirror.

               
I am so thankful for my modern bathroom!




   I also thought you’d like to see this. It’s called a piloncillo, and it’s pure, unrefined cane sugar. It’s also the closest thing we can find to brown sugar in Mexico. You have to grate it to use it, which is harder than it sounds. I needed a cup for a cake I was baking, and by the time I had that much grated, I was worried my right arm was going to be more muscled than my left. Piloncillo has a more molasses flavor than regular brown sugar, but I like it. Baking here in general is a little challenging. First, Mexico City sits at 7349’ above sea level, and anyone who has done much baking knows ingredients react differently at high altitudes. Second, our oven’s temperatures are in Celsius. If that were the only issue, I’d just google Fahrenheit vs Celsius. However, the knob on our oven is off kilter so when the oven is off, the knob is pointing at 275°. I ordered an oven thermometer and experimented. My oven dial now has tape around it showing where to set the knob for temps I commonly use.

           


    I’ve wanted to share this with you for quite a while. These carts are steam ovens that bake sweet potatoes while their proprietors push them around the streets. One is frequently outside of our apartment building in the evenings, sometimes as late as 9:00. The steam inside the ovens builds up, so every so often the proprietor pulls a lever to let it off, and it gives off a high pitched, shrill whistle that can be heard for blocks. One evening as the whistle was going off in the street below our window, it hit me what it sounds like. After that, I was determined to get a video of it to send to my kids. A couple of weeks ago Ron and I saw one a block away but walking away from us. We literally ran for two blocks to catch the guy, and Ron paid him a few pesos to let me film the steam being let off. Staying home this week, I finally had time to figure out how to put the video in a format I can post here. So here’s the link. Listen and decide what you think it is—especially if you’re into hunting. Then I’ll tell you what I think.

 


Okay, here’s my take. to me, it sounds like an elk bugling. Not that I’m a hunter, but my dad was, and I grew up hearing him practicing on his homemade elk bugle which was made from a length of garden hose. I’ve also watched YouTube videos of elk bugling. So now when I hear the sweet potato men letting off a little steam, it reminds me of Idaho and home. My son Preston said it sounded like an elk bugle mixed with a train. Maybe so when you hear it loud, but I’m usually hearing it at a distance, so you might want to listen to it from another room.

We hope you are all doing well. Getting sick has reminded us that this thing isn't over. We love you all and appreciate your support.


Comments

  1. Love hearing from you and each of your adventures.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Ron & Dayle! I'd gotten behind on your posts, but took some time today to get caught up! It's like watching a PBS travel show! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I love seeing the colors, the architecture, the flowers, the food...and you. I can't imagine you being anywhere else.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, definitely elk bugling! One of my favorite Yellowstone National Park sounds!

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  4. Love reading about your adventures! Hope you are feeling better.

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  5. Interesting seeing the plastic around the plate, we saw that when we visited Baja Mexico a while back! You are showing us so much about the culture, thanks...

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  6. When my daughter came home from Spain for Christmas, all she wanted was Mexican food! I am beginning to see why!

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  7. I'm not a hunter either but I sure have heard elk bugling!
    Your apartment is nice and I am sure it is different for all, including the young missionaries too.!

    ReplyDelete

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