Saturday, March 30, 2013


How does one say "all hell broke loose" in Spanish? No se. My day today was wow wow wow Wow WOw WOW! but it was good!

The morning started off pretty normal, we were prepared. There was a fast trip to the market in the morning (5 am) I did not get to go as I am still a rookie, you have to be at least amateur for this kind of intense market shopping...remember anyone that is operating a restaurant this week (which is almost everyone) was at the market this morning getting supplies for the day just like us, and everyone wanted to get there and back as fast as possible before the lineups at the ferry docks get long and the ferry boats get do this you do not take a rookie with you to help, especially not one who answers most questions with "what?" and every order is followed by "like this?" and then the famous "no se nada".

I stayed home and drank coffee and watched the sun come up.
We all had our specific jobs assigned to us and we were set up with our own work space and were working in an assembly line sort of way....and then we lost our smooth rhythm and we all (without saying anything) reverted to a new tactic...a new game plan, and we all did it at the same time. It went something like this.

Waitress - "I need 3 shrirnp ceviches"prep girl #1- " I need more peeled shrimp for ceviche"...she throws a bucket of shrimp into my pila ,"peel these for ceviche"dishwasher girl (me) "ok dokie" I start peeling
Fire stoking girl (dude got laid off weeks ago) " I need more clean platters for fish"Dishwashing girl "ok dokie" I do a circle around the kitchen, find a dirty platter and push my shrimp aside and wash it. I wonder where all these people in the kitchen came from.Prep girl 1 " I need shrimp"Fish cleaning guy  " I got it" and moved into my space and starts peeling shrimpPrep girl 2 " I need shredded carrotsdishwashing girl "I got it" and started shreddingWaitress "I need 3 lemonades"Dishwashing girl " I got it"...and started squeezing limesFire stoking girl "I need 3 corbina" ( a fish)Fish cleaning guy I got it, leaves shrimp and runs to gut some corbinas, I start peeling shrimp againWaitress ,"we need spoons"Dishwasher girl -digs around dirty pile of dishes..."don't have any", goes back to peeling shrimpwaitress #2 comes with a handful of dirty spoons..."what did you do yank them out of the customers hand while they were eating"
Someone yells."I need a knife" if I had a peso for every time someone asked me for a knife today I would have made more pesos that the bathroom attendant.
Bathroom attendant yells' "we are out of toilet paper" ( yes we have a bathroom attendant..we are that classy)fish gutting guys yells I got it....takes off running to the store and has the carrot grater in his hand still Then someone forgot  the beans on the fire and someone spilled the rice, the sink overflowed, the mens urinal got plugged..not sure with what, I almost cut off my sister's toe (you had to be there), someone accidently got some sand on a plate of beans. We discovered that when someone uses the new sink my water in the pila stops running...not annoying at all.

In the end we were playing musical chairs with our work stations, when one person couldn't finish something someone else stepped in and finished the job. At one point there was  a stranger at the sink peeling shrimp...have no idea who he was, he was there and then he was gone. I wish I could have kept track of how many kilos of shrimp I peeled or of how many fish we killed...a lot. My hands got shredded  from the shrimp and the carrot shredder but well sterilized from all the lime squeezing, we went through 25 kilos of limes today....of 25 kilo that were bought this morning there may be 10 limes left. Imagine how many limes Mexico goes through during a Semana Santa.
To someone passing through it may have seemed like crazyness in our kitchen but it really did all work very well, we even had time to have some fun. At one point a very beautiful girl in a bikini came through to use the bathroom....(I am laughing so hard I can hardly type) I heard the fish cleaning dude first..I thought he had cut his finger, next the fire stoking team...."Someone call the fire department"  lol, we all stopped what we were doing to laugh at each other's reactions. Her beauty was appreciated by all of us.

Let me tell you about our bathroom attendant, she is 7 years old, the same little 7 year old that played in the water all say yesterday, (she has a beautiful tan today). That little wild child sat in the bathroom all day (all day), the deal is if you eat in our place you get a free bathroom pass card for your table, if you are not eating here you pay 5 pesos to use the bathroom, the 7 year old will take your money. She also is in charge of making sure it's clean and there is water for flushing. I went to use the bathroom and she tried to charge me 5  pesos, I said I'll pay later, which was fine with her, she as so cute, she said "oh wait, let me first check to make sure it's not a pig sty" She checked and said it's good and there is paper too". So professional she was. She did an awesome job all day and she made 200 pesos and never once came out to complain, she was brought a plate of food, and poked her head out when she needed more toilet paper and didn't even loose her cool when the urinal plugged.

At about noon I came out of the kitchen to walk to the  tide line to take a photo of the beach when I went to get back I couldn't get through the restaurant, tables were scattered everywhere, the place was packed with people. Mexicans don't mind being squished into tight spots, they don't mind if their table is up against the next table, they don't mind if their neighbour spills into their space. They are used to never having their own space, they all just become friends. North Americans would have been horrified in our restaurant today. As far as I know we did not have any problems, I don't even think I heard a baby cry.
We were packed full from noon to about 5:00 pm, at 7 pm when I went home there were a few people that had stayed behind the crowd to spend sunset on the beach.

I sat on my back steps and just stared into the sky at the stars when I got home, just so thankful for the opportunity to be here. The traffic passed by my house and a few times I had to laugh. I saw trucks with the boxes full of people, families with children, lawn chairs and tables, going home after a long day the beach. I even saw a chili truck, a chili truck  here is like a grain truck back home on the farm, the back was full of people laughing and chatting...heading home. What an awesome way to spend a vacation. Most of these people come from inland somewhere and don't get a chance to go to the beach every often or even never. I imagine myself as a kid, growing up on a farm the word "vacation" was a very foreign to us, how excited would we have been had dad loaded us into the back of his grain truck...grandma too, and some cousins, as many people as we could fit and head off to the nearest beach. We would have gladly driven 5-7 hours to get to the beach, lunches packed and coolers of cold drinks....oh yeah.

Tomorrow I don't work because I need to get house packed and cleaned but  I will wander over to the beach, my family wants to cook me my last supper....and now I start to cry. 

Here is  a photo of the traffic on Thursday on can only imagine what it looked like on Friday, no I wasn't there I snagged this from the Noroeste website.

1 comment:

Contessa said...

Great post Maria. Don't be sad. Hasta Novembrie!

The Isla will miss you but knows you will return.