Saturday, October 27, 2007

Toque-me: A decidedly sketchy way to get your kicks

A friend of a friend recently came to town for a visit - Ronny, the guy on the left above - and we headed over to Plaza Garibaldi to pack as much chilango fun as we could into his few days here. Plaza Garibaldi is basically mariachi central - they´re all over the place in their fancy pants serenading people - a small Plaza packed with nightclubs that attracts a crowd ranging from children to old people and whose entertainment includes passionate singing, cock fights and elaborate skirt- and lasso-twirling, in short, a very strange and rather Mexican scene.
While waiting for Ronny downstairs in the bar in his hostel near the Zocalo, I struck up a conversation with the Mexican kids sitting next to me who were from north of the city and we ended up dragging them along to what they assured us was a place we were sure to get robbed. The taxi driver agreed with them but said we´d be fine as long as we didn´t pass the yellow building.
Two pitchers of pulque later (guava and strawberry flavored), our new friends decided it was time for a toque. Which sounds sketchy if you translate it as a "touch," but in this case it translates to a "hit" - of electricity. Two people grab the two metal pieces and everyone holds hands, then the guy with the wooden suitcase gleefully cranks up the electricity, which feels like extremely intense vibration and immediately gave me flashbacks of Mr.Knight´s 9th grade science class ("I´m going to need a volunteer with LONG BLOND HAIR for this next experiment." Anyone remember this?) Anyway, the verdict? Toques sketch me out and I probably wouldn´t personally do it again, but I think I will make all friends who visit me take a hit.

The Mexican B-day song does not go "Feliz cumpleaños a tí"

There have been a lot of birthdays this month and after having sung it perhaps 15 times, I think I´ll master the Mexican birthday song by the time my birthday rolls around. I swear I´m not pathetic - it´s ridiculously hard - for a second-language learner anyway. Here goes:

Estas son las mañanitas
Que cantaba el rey David
A las muchachas bonitas
Y te las cantamos aquí

Despierta mi bien despierta
Mira que ya amaneció
Ya los pajarillos cantan
La luna ya se metió

This is the morning song
That King David sang
To the beautiful girls
And we sing here today

Wake up, my dear, wake up,
Look it is already dawn
The birds are already singing
And the moon has set.

Since I´m sure you´ll want to sing this song at home - I´ve selected my favorite Youtube clip with the tune. This clip beat the other several thousand because:
- It is the cheesiest.
- It has mariachis.
- It has pictures of dawn, people kissing, flowers and both the U.S. and Mexican flags, in other words, everything you´d ever want in your birthday Youtube clip.

Here´s another handy song to know - the Piñata song!

Dale, dale, dale.
No pierdas el tino.
Porque si lo pierdes.
Pierdes el camino.

Ya le diste una.
Ya le diste dos.
Ya le diste tres.
Y tu tiempo se acabó.

(Hit it, hit it, hit it. Don’t loose your aim. Because if you lose it, you lose the way.You hit it once. You hit it twice. You hit it three times. And your time is up.)

This video basically sucks, but I couldn´t find one better either because the kid had whacked the piñata down within the first few "Dales" or everyone seemed drunk.