Dirty Harriet

I am in Puebla. Anthony Bourdain claims that most of the cooks in New York
come from Puebla, and that the food is very good here. I wouldn’t know. I
accidentally ordered a media kilo taco in a restaurant across the
street from my hotel. That’s a full pound of meat, some limes, and a large
dish of tortillas. I got about a third of the way through, and I will be
eating it for breakfast and lunch tomorrow. Five bucks is five bucks is
five bucks. (Or should that be are?)

Afterwards, at sunset, I carried my beefy bag to the main square, where the
public speakers played a Sergio Leone spaghetti western theme. For a second
I was sure no one else could hear it.

Then I found this Internet cafe, which is remarkably cheap with
long opening hours. I am the only woman here—this is normal—and I had to
wait for a computer. Finally, a young man walked out, head down, and the
nice woman at the desk sent me to his former spot.

Lots and lots of moist pink flesh popped up on screen. Many, many browser
windows. I tried to close them, playing porno Whack-a-Mole, while the
other men laughed and hooted, distracted for a moment from their own perusal.
Finally, I hit the Power button, hoping to feel powerful.

The nice woman at the desk came running, retyped the password, and
apologized. There were still snickers, though the man next to me explained
kindly that normally people logged out of porn sites before leaving.

In the kitchen of the Mexican restaurant where I once worked, the guys
favored donkey porn, which they would dangle at the waitress station. Caitriona
and I never managed the studied cool Bourdain gives the female chefs in
Kitchen Confidential
    ‘My, Miguel, how well your mother is looking.’
Caitriona’s Celtic blushes were likely very satisfactory breaks from slinging
chimichangos, and the boys rarely tired of them. I sometimes managed a string of
Spanish curses, but usually they were long gone, leaving me with the burros.

Ten years later, I’m here in the heartland, where Pedro and Carlos’s mamas
still live. It’s nice to see the future cooks of Gringolandia are keeping up with
technology, though being in an Internet porn caf&eacute makes me feel
a bit Pee-Wee Herman.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to wash my hands.

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