The last night that I was in Mexico, I decided to bow out of the "festivities", which could possibly have included eating paletas, which to the best of my knowledge is some form of goat meat wrapped in a tortilla. Instead I went back to the hotel to get ready for my early departure from Monterrey Mexico. I packed my suitcase, took a shower and started reading my book. A boring night indeed. At around 7:00 pm, I started getting hungry so I decided to go to Alita's which is an American style food joint about 100 yards from the front steps of my hotel. Incidentally, due to the stench of some environmentally heated feces, 100 yards was about all I was willing to walk outside of the hotel.
So, I got into Alita's and took a look at the menu and decided that my best option was the combo platter of buffalo wings and ribs. I ordered them (along with a Tecate beer) from the bartender, and he started asking questions in Spanish that I didn’t understand. I gathered from his waving and pointing that it was in reference to the food as opposed to the beer I had ordered. That's when a nice gentleman sitting next to me who was obviously American asked me what temperature wing sauce I wanted. I said mild and he spouted off some sentence to the bartender in Spanish about what flavor Picante that I wanted. I thanked the man, and we started to converse.
Man: So where are you from?
Craig: I am in for the week from Cleveland. How about you?
Man: I live here. I was an expatriate but after five years, I am localized now.
For those of you who don’t know, an Expatriate is a special status for Americans working outside the US. It allows them to pay into social security and maintain a 401k, which normally wouldn’t be possible in a foreign country.
The conversation went like this for a while. He was a big burly man with hands that look like he had done plenty of work in his lifetime. The skin on his face was weathered, probably from years rotating between the dirt of a manufacturing floor and the sun. He told me about the bar he was going to open around the corner. He told me about the company he works for which is a major commercial and residential air-conditioner manufacturer. He told me all about his career all the way through to how he arrived in Mexico. Then he started telling me about Mexican culture.