Today I was out on the street with my head under the deck lid. This is actually great place to meet people. Aside from the kids that wanted to chat, the first guy that came along wanted to tell me about his bus. He’s actually got two of them (natuurlijk,) but is trying to make one complete camper.
He knew about the blue VW bus up on the hill where we had been camping. Apparently he’s even tried to buy it with no luck. It’s a chocolato… or illegally imported/hot… so the owner is wringing his hands trying to figure out what to do with it. Ocatavio said this is very common – workers that cross the border into the US, buy a car, and then drive home without bothering with any paper work. The result is a car nobody can do anything with.. and when they do sell, they go for cheap.
Next, was a guy who told me about the local béisbol game. After I finished digging for vacuum leaks, I went back to the apartment and grabbed Bode. He said he didn’t really want to watch baseball, but would go for the snacks.
We paid 10 pesos total (0.80$ USD) and took our place among the smattering of fans on the cement bleachers. I rooted for the Cardinales (local team) while Bode took the visitors. Some were wearing mis-matched jerseys, so it clearly didn’t really matter.
It was an unintentionally impressive stadium – a mostly dirt lot with the rock base of the mountains serving as the jagged outfield wall. A wooden scoreboard 20 meters up the rocks above center field contained someone barely visible who was keeping track of the action. An occasional foul ball would clang on the tin roof and Bode quickly realized that there was someone up there running around collecting them and immediately dropping them back into play.
We didn’t have to watch for long to understand why we only paid 10 pesos for our boletos. I was reminded of the first baseball team I ever played on when I was a kid. The guy in right field for the Cardinales was an obvious sorry target for the opposing team and they took full advantage. The visitors also realized that aggressive base-running will beat sloppy fielding on any day. I was hoping the Cardinales would make some similar coaching decisions, but they didn’t.
There was some solid baseball too. We saw a few snappy double plays and some defeated base-stealing. A few collisions at home plate livened things up and reminded us how badly each team wanted to win despite the low stakes. A stray pitch bouncing off someone’s noggin’ got our attention too. It doesn’t matter what league it is – it hurts.
The whole thing made me wonder what it must have been like in the US back at the turn of the (last) century when barnstorming baseball teams of dubious talent played on sandlots across the country for almost nothing. You have to love the game.
Oh, and the baseball game snacks? Gigantic fried pork skins – chicharones. Eat them whole or break them up and put them between bread with some lime and chili powder.
Later we took and evening stroll through town. The shoe-shine guys all over town are another anomaly in Mexico that hearkens back to an earlier era. There’s an endless supply of customers, te.
To cap the evening off was a grand wedding at the bug church in the middle of Centro. There are an endless supply of these too, with brides and guests lining up for their slot at the big chapel on a Saturday night.