The 90 Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada
Volume 2 , Number 8
A true traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arrival®
Currently we are seeing the introduction of new green and white
coaches to the ABC line which is the main bus line serving
Around town in
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This trip included many adventures, which integrated the 24-hour
The 7 am hour is an ominous one as the hospital personnel, ambulances and doctors are all assembled in their strategic places along the course the bulls will take though the town. The fierce and entirely pissed off bulls are released from a little paddock at one end of town at the top of a very narrow corridor comprised of a street bordered by tall building. There is absolutely nowhere to escape the bulls at this location and only the bravest and well known participants of the local area are at his extremely dangerous part of the bull’s trip through the streets of town. Tourists are not allowed here and only videos and photos of the area are any record of what happens, as there is no room for spectators. The entire length through town is covered by photographers, which later that day collect in various parts of town to sell you a photo set of your run with the bulls. In these photos, you will be a fraction of a group of local men and women dressed in the traditional garb of all white with red bandanas and red berets. The scuffs on these white articles of dress caused by the bulls passing or falling on the street are the badges to be discussed over drinks later that day and during the week. No one dare wash their outfit or change clothing all week as these stories are recounted and celebrated repeatedly during the 7-day event.
After the running of the
bulls each morning, the entire town takes a nap, as the last 18 hours or
so were spent generally drinking and reveling in each other’s drinking.
As the sun rises and the day becomes hot, the party begins anew just after
the lunch hour as the sound of ticket hawkers for the afternoon bullfight
begin to fill the town square and city streets. The bulls that were
encountered in the run that morning will be the snorting stars of the
event that afternoon at the coliseum. As the afternoon bullfight draws
near, the city is filled with the sound of many bands playing in all
corners of town now stimulating your reawakening sobering senses. It is at
this time of the day that my friends and I purchased our tickets for our
first bullfight. Lucky for us, we got tickets on the sedate side of the
arena, as there is a marked contrast to where you sit at a
That day we did two things that are very rare in the tradition of bullfights through the years. The first bull came out and was the epitome of your neighbor’s pet poodle. No matter how he was prodded or encouraged by the picadors and other pre-fight personnel, the bull would not perform. As the many seat cushions rented for the event streamed out on the arena floor thrown at the bull in a show of disgust for his behavior, the bull proceeded to prance daintily around the now littered dirt pitch sniffing at the cushions as if looking for the special scent of a past acquaintance. The crowd erupted with a sea of twirling white bandanas and a chorus of ah-yah-yah-yah to summarily dismiss this reject to an instant conversion to that evenings steak dinner.
The offending wimpy bull was whisked away to his fate and the cushions were collected and the crowd, even the sedate side, were entirely now out of control with the occurrence of this recent past event. As I intimated, this saving of the bull does not happen often in bullfighting lore. As the Spanish sun beat down in its mid-summer late afternoon intensity, the next bull came into the ring as if a golden characture of what a truly noble beast of any description should in folklore ideally be. Slim wasted, tan colored, broad shouldered, and multi-ripped muscles made all in attendance draw a deep gasp at the sight of this seemingly 10 foot tall beast. No bullfighter emerged as the bull paraded around the arena and faced all in the crowd as if to say, “you want some of this?” Without more than a breath of hesitation the crowd looked at each other in awe and again erupted with a sea of twirling white bandanas and a chorus of ah-yah-yah-yah, this time in gleeful respect rather than distain. After the events the bands poured into the street in a parade with their respective followers dancing and singing into another entire night of wild drinking and partying, and we all shared in the amazement of what had happened that day at my first and probably last bullfight.
Bullfights can be attended
at the Bullring-by-the-Sea as you leave
I never met an author who is sorry that he or she wrote a book. They are only sorry that they didn’t write it sooner.
WHAT IS A TAMALE?
Tamales are about as basically Mexican food as you can get. They are sold as street food. They are welcomed as fiesta and holiday food. They are everyday family food. Tamales are to Mexican culture what Chicken and Matzo Ball Soup is to Jewish culture. Mama made tamales, therefore, Mama loves me. Tamales have always been loved by the Hispanic people and in the 1900s they have become known and loved by all cultures as much as sushi and dim-sum, which were in the past also holiday and celebration foods. The packets are steamed and eaten traditionally served with Atole (masa drink). Contrary to what is found in most American-Mexican restaurants, most tamales are not served with a sauce, but rather simple and plain. Making them isn’t rocket science, however it is a learning process and it will take some practice. You may put just about any good tasting filling in your tamales that you want. It’s the filling, wrapping and steaming that demands the time necessary to perfect the finished product.
The tamale is recorded in history as early as 5000 BC in
Pre-Columbian history. Initially, women were taken along in battle as army
cooks to make the masa for the tortillas and the meats, stews, drinks,
etc. As the warring tribes of the Aztec, Mayan, and Incan cultures grew,
the demand of readying the nixtamal (corn) itself became so overwhelming a
process, a need arose to have a more portable sustaining foodstuff. No
history of the tamale would be complete without discussing the process of
"nixtamalization". This interesting term refers to
the processing of field corn with wood ashes (in the Pre-Colombian era)
or now with "cal, slaked lime".
This processing softens the corn for easier grinding and also aids in
digestibility and increases the nutrients absorbed by the human body.
Nixtamalization dates back to the southern coast of
Spanish priest and chronicler Bernardino de Sahagun observed that
the first thing Aztec women did when preparing a festival was to make lots
of tamales: tamale
with amaranth leaves for the fire god
Xiuhtecuhtli, tamales with beans and chiles for the jaguar god
Tezcatlipoca, shrimp and chile sauce tamales for the ancient deity
Huehueteotl. Besides tamales stuffed with turkey meat, beans and
chiles, the Aztecs used what they harvested from the shores of
The Maya also produced artistic, elaborate tamales,
rolled out and filled jelly-roll fashion, cut to show the spiral designs
thus produced, which can be seen in the banquet scenes depicted on Classic
Maya vases. The spinach-like herb called chaya, still very much
used in the Mayan regions of
The great variety of tamales has carried over to this day;
ethnographers have counted forty two different kinds, including the famous
zacahuil prepared by the Huastecan people. This tamale is 3
feet long, weighs about 150 pounds, and requires most of the leaves of a
banana tree to wrap it. The zacahuil and the muchipollo of
The tamale caught on very fast and eventually grew in variety and diversity unknown in today’s culture. There were plain tamales, tamales with red, green, yellow and black chile, tamales with chocolate, fish tamales, frog, tadpole, mushroom, rabbit, gopher, turkey, bee, egg, squash blossom, honey, ox, seed and nut tamales. There were white and red fruit tamales, white tamales, yellow tamales, dried meat tamales, roasted meat, stewed meat, bean and rice tamales. There were sweet sugar, pineapple, raisin, cinnamon, berry, banana and pumpkin tamales. There were hard and soft cheese tamales, roasted quail tamales, ant, potato, goat, wild boar, lamb and tomato tamales.
The sizes, colors and shapes varied almost as much as the fillings. They were steamed, oven-roasted, fire-roasted, toasted, grilled, barbecued, fried and boiled. The wrappings were cornhusks, banana leaves, fabric, avocado leaves, soft tree bark, and other edible, non-toxic leaves. The most commonly used were corn husks, banana and avocado leaves.
Over the millennia, the varieties were minimized to the most common now being red and green chile, chicken, pork, beef, sweet, cheese, and of late, vegetables. Also changed was the every day occurrence of making the tamales. With the preparation being so labor and time intensive, tamales became holiday fare, made for special occasions. This tradition remained for thousands of years, with the women of the family working together to make the sauces and meats, preparing the masa, and finally assembling and wrapping the tamales before steaming them in large pots on the stove. The process takes all day, the preparation often starting one or two days in advance. It is virtually unheard of to make a few tamales. In most cases, when they are made, hundreds are made at a time. Everyone, young, old, family and friends, are invited to tamale feasts where they are enjoyed, savored and loved by all.
One may wonder why, since they are commonly eaten on an everyday
basis, tamales are an essential feast day food, and the answer lies
in the sense of ritual that has been part of Mexican life since
pre-Hispanic times. Each important celebration, whether a rite of passage
through life or a feast honoring one of the gods, had its own distinct
type of tamale filling and form, including those decorated with
designs of seeds and beans. Tamales of various shapes and flavors
were prepared by nearly all the groups of original inhabitants of
The Basques of northern
The game is difficult to understand, and it is suggested that you
confer with the red capped ushers about the rules. The establishment
contains restaurants and dance facilities and a music bar. Jai-alai is
played Thursday through Sunday nights thought the entire annual calendar.
A FALL EVENT YOU MAY ENJOY
The Tamale Lady and her family visit the Coral Marina every weekend with delicious tamales and burritos for the weekend visitors and local marina workers.
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