Drinking Mexico

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drinking at a bar in mexico
This is a true story. Some years back I was photographing at the market in Merida, in the Yucatan, Mexico.I had sat down to eat a few tacos and made the acquaintance of three gentlemen: The taco stand owner, a lottery ticket seller, and another man that had only a small platter of chocolates from which to earn a living. These were not rich men, but they were the best of friends and wealthy with attitude and laughter. We talked for a while and then they asked me if I would like to go have drink with them. I was honored and even though it was still before noon I said yes. The taco stand owner had a car of sorts that he called “Skylab”, a rusted out hulk that had neither paint, upholstery or any glass except for a cracked windshield. We piled in and made our way to a part of the city that I had never seen to a bar called “Bar Brindis“. It had swinging doors just like a western movie. When I walked in side I thought I had entered into the set of “Once upon a time in the west”. The bartender brought out plates of “Antojito’s“, small plates of food that are complimentary, and we commenced to drink…. and drink…and drink some more. Drinking in Mexico is a challenge. You cannot have one beer and say “nice to meet you”, you drink until someone one falls down. And if you stop, it is an insult that may lead to your new found friends becoming violent. We drank for five hours, it was only when their defenses were watered down that they allowed me to pay for a round. We talked about life, about Mexico and America and about the rich and the poor. Then they asked me the question that had to be asked. They said” you are an American, you have an expensive camera and nice shoes, “What do you really think of us?”A few glasses clinked in the background. The cowboys behind us swung their boots off the bar turning toward me, the waiter backed away from our table, the entire room became silent. I stood up, raised my glass and said;” I think that you are all sons of shit eating whore pigs!!” Applause erupted, “He is one of us”, the Gringo is OK”. It was the only answer that would not have had me being tossed through a window. Internally I was thanking a friend of mines little sister I had visited in Mexico City who had taught me how to swear in Spanish. Three hours, five beers and ten shots of tequila later, I realized that my new friends had all passed out, I was talking to myself. As I left the bar, the bartender ran over, held up my arm and declared me the winner. I had a sense of victory that I had drunk three Mexicans under the table. I stumbled outside through the swinging doors into the night, my liver and my head throbbing, lost and wobbly I thought, ” maybe its time to go on juice fast”.