Saturday, August 29, 2009

turning thirty

Monday was my 30th birthday.

I was afraid I would feel lonely, here in San Cristobal, with no close friends and no one I'd spent more than a few hours with. But I told a couple wrestling buddies, they told the rest, and after practice a group of us went out to a bar near where we practice. We practice in the Palenque de Gallos -- the cockfighting stadium though there hasn't been any (legal) cockfighting in San Cristobal for years. The bar, a botanero (which means they give you an appetizer with each round of caguamas -- that is, oversized bottles of beer), was carefully decorated with scores of full color posters featuring (1) busty women in bikinis and/or lingerie, and (2) proud roosters, that is, fighting cocks.

Yes, i know, i could hardly believe it. A psychoanalytical anthropologist's wet dream. Clifford Geertz would have had a heyday -- or perhaps this bar would have obviated his whole brilliant essay on cockfighting. And of course, this bar was also apparently the wet dream of a lot of men here in town. The only women in the bar were "working." Officially this means that they are there to dance with if you're nice and buy them drinks. But everyone knows that their services go well beyond 2-stepping to rancheros.

And no, I didn't partake in the rancheros, didn't dance at all. But I had a wonderful time, and forged a bond with my fellow wrestlers that has gotten stronger every day.

Tomorrow night after the luchas we will go out again, and I'm going to steer us back toward this bar, so I can get some pictures amidst the discriminating d├ęcor.

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