Thursday, February 3, 2011

Washington DC - Pupusas and soap operas

As promised, today I pranced on over to a pupuseria around the corner.
The Latin American soap opera playing on a TV in the corner of the restaurant helped pass the time. During the ten minutes I waited for my lunch, I witnessed Gloria vow never to love her man again because he had slept with her sister, and the man explain that his amnesia prevented him from differentiating between the two women. Oh, how I love a good, solid, melodrama of the Univision variety.

I eagerly awaited my pupusas - I love that word - pupusas, pupusas. Let's say it again - pupusas. Anyway, I eagerly awaited my pupusas watching the soap and feeling watched by the multiple "gold"-gilded Virgin Marys and plastic ivy plants decorating the walls. A nice man seated in the corner of the shop smiled and greeted me in English. "How chu? Chu happy girrrr?" I responded in Spanish, and he insisted on speaking in English. My white skin and blue eyes seem to confuse many of the Central Americans that I meet in DC. It often happens that I'll walk by a construction site and receive comments of the catcall persuasion from Central American construction workers who assume that I can't understand a word they say. When I respond something in Spanish along the lines of "Be careful - you never know who can understand what you are saying", I receive flowered apologies and looks of shame. It's ok, I think to myself, it feels good to hear compliments  - some parts of the world are so cold and rigid...

Back to my pupusas. The waitress brings my two little patties - one filled with cheese and black beans, the other with just cheese. She gives me a kind of cole slaw to serve over the pupusas made of cabbage, carrots, and some kind of tangy/spicy red sauce. Overall, I would rate them a 6 out of 10. Not the best I've had. The most delicious pupusas I've tasted were in San Salvador in a strip of pupuserias near the airport that specialize in these little patties. So yummy.

I think the best part of my pupusa experience today was the soap opera and the man greeting me in broken English. Is it terrible that I immediately thought about his residential status in the US? All I know is that he's probably working like a dog to support a family of 30 in El Salvador. He probably pays his taxes on time, contributes to small businesses in DC, and obviously loves the US and speaking English.

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