Saturday was a social busy day. Social? Me? social? Well, I experienced a strange social day and as the Radiohead rockymentary says “meeting people is easy” I decided to embrace the Facebook knowledge or oracle on these days and I went to 2 activities.
Somebody from Church opened a little restaurant, Mexican Oaxaca style in Vanier, Ottawa. In fact, I remember helped her doing her financial preparations and budget, estimations of rent, gas, salaries etc. She should have opened in October but paperwork and renovations pushed her to start just in December. This is not a restaurant itself, it’s most catering, they cook food to go. There is a regular size table, some stools, and 2 chairs, not big as you see. The kitchen is the size of my bedroom, with 4 people exceptionally working there it seemed too crowed. I came around 11.45 am. There was an accident at the highway so I was a bit stressed driving and thinking why the inauguration couldn’t wait until Spring?…When I arrived I did my anthropological observation, I took my cellphone and as good National Geographic reporter took pictures of everything that moved or didn’t move. The Guadalupe image was there, even if my friend isn’t Catholic (she’s Unitarian like me), flowers, animals of clay with colors they could blind you and a piñata was hanging outside, in a form of star with fancy colors…I was able to talk to my friend, she looked like a zombie, she worked until 2 am and started that day at 6am, that’s the problem when you got a job like that, you become slave of your business.
Ok, now, when you think in something Mexican or from Oaxaca, or even Peru, what exactly do you think For me is simple: third world, colors, Catholic images, precarious order, improvisation, slow motion but loving and flashy decoration. Mitla, my friend’s restaurant is like that. In fact, is not a restaurant as I said before, but well, you have to call somehow. The newspaper of Ottawa, Vanier and radio talked about this place, good reviews so far…but remember, if you plan to come with your family of 4 plus friends…it will be already crowed. Space is limited. What surprised me the most was people who helps my friend in the kitchen are young which a reasonable person could think is synonymous of dynamism…which is this case is not the case. One of them was working in slow motion. One customer asked her for hot chocolate and she served it almost cold…after apologizing the real order came. I just started with a tea…then, just like that a customer came, tall, dark skin, with glasses wearing sporty clothes. He orders Pozole soup (pork and corn) and tamales and we just started to talk and bla, bla, bla, he told me he was from Montreal, we exchanged some phrases in French and he told me he was a social worker that when he decided to move here in Ottawa was a family drama “what are you going to do there? there is nothing in Ottawa”, at some point he asked me to try his soup (big bowl), I noticed he was immigrant, only an immigrant can do dare that. I tasted the soup…it was delicious…sublime, like momy’s. I asked for a soup too and also try one empanadas, which in Peru is different from the Oaxaca (made with a tortilla and not dough) and since I’m vegetarian I had no choice to try the chicken empanada…the reason I stopped to eat chicken is its plastic taste, no matter what I added is tasteless but this chicken, as my friend told me, was from a farm where they walk, eat flies, I mean, what a normal chicken does…and believe, the taste is different. It was just orgasmic. The guy was sitting beside me told his name…something like Ashmed or something like that, we continued to talk and more people arrive, since the place is small, everybody says hi, thing abnormal in Ottawa. Well, he finished his lunch and we said bye wishing to meet again at Mitla.
More and more people come to the restaurant, I feel bad and I left my chair…a friend of my business’ friend named Jeffrey , he says hi, introduces himself and take my place and the other chair beside mine for his friend Jeff. Yes, 2 Jeffreys, both gays.. Jeffrey is a cheff in downtown and tells me to take his chair and I started to talk to Jeff .In front of us there was a Mexican family, mom, dad, daughter and in-law with a kid, everybody speaks Spanish but the kid, which is very common the second generation of immigrants, they lose their mother tongue, only Indians, Chinese and Greeks preserve this with jalousie…not the Latinos. It was super nice talking to Jeff. He told me he worked in a Anglican Church, he seemed very spiritual but the root of that is because he was lost at some point in his life, as he said himself, that now at his 40’s he’s reaching the balance. He admits had excess but added Jeffrey helped to be grounded. They meet in a party, later on, he showed me a picture where both were disguised. Jeffrey with other friends as ABBA and Jeff as faraon. So funny, I recalled the video of Eurasure when they disguise as ABBA too, he laughed, I said I love Pet Shop Boys, he told me he does remixes on his computer, that he likes House and Trance, I said “me too”. He had so many things in common. I invited to visit Unitarian Church. Jeffrey was interested too. And then I said I went to Madonna’s concert and he told he went twice to see her. I said the population in the concert was half gay and half over 50’s. When I said the word “gay”, the Mexican family felt uncomfortable. The more gay issues were discussed, the more they turned their faces to us…real Latinos.
More and more people were coming. Time for whacking the piñata, my friend’s son invited me to hit it first, I did it twice and he smashed breaking up the piñata…publicity, candies and chocolates were on the snowy floor. I came back inside, where it was already difficult to find a place and after almost 2 hours, I was able to pay. Before living Jeff asked me for my Facebook and I gave it to him. I left very happy that place, full belly, happy heart as we said in Peru.
At night I had a party at my German’s friend, who by the way, she’s harassing to give her my blog…I won’t give it to her…to personal, not that personal for the world wide web. She plays guitar so I bought her a Jazz method book, she was happy, really happy, her husband, a guy crazy about soccer like me cooked Goulash, there were lots of bottles of wine. I met several people who work at the same place as I, that was funny. Then, she and 2 of her friends started to play guitar and singing…a kind of improvised karaoke started…and me who hates singing….anyways, the torture was for only 1 hour. Later, somebody put a house music on the cd player…and old chicks over 50 and 60, me included, we were dancing, don’t ask for choreography at that age but it was fun. I met a retire lawyer and another public servant, I met a volunteer coordinator of Sheppards of Good Hope and some other people that I don’t remember…what a social Saturday, free good food and nice ambiance.
For the intrepids who wants to try something different, go to Mitla, if you ask to go it would be better because there is no a restaurant, no big enough for that. http://www.mitla.ca or https://www.facebook.com/mitlaottawa