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mexican1

I've been on many journeys, but I can't say I've ever gone on an acid trip, or done LSD. In my early 20's, I was a rocker chick, ran with a crowd of musicians, and spent most free nights in clubs and concert halls listening to live music. I was always surrounded by drugs, but absolutely none of them intrigued me, with the exception of pot and ecstasy. The former I smoked for many years, and the latter I tried a few times. So, I can't say I know what it's like to have a mind-altering trip on LSD, but I imagine the visual distortions and altered states of consciousness closely resemble the decor of a Mexican restaurant I visited in San Antonio, Texas. Here, you can have deep conversations with statues of Jesus or the Virgin Mary, fly on the wings of doves, or simply become transfixed by all the twinkling Christmas lights, swirling garland, and butterflies with multi-colored wings...in general, it's very easy to mentally and visually transform into another realm. And absolutely no drugs are needed. :)

1. The place is called "Mi Tierra," which is Spanish for "my homeland." There's no reason for any American to go to Mexico to experience the culture. We can get the full, authentic experience in many parts of the USA, and San Antonio is probably at the top of the list. The restaurant was established in 1941, and is one of the longest running eateries in a town overrun with Mexican food and competitors. As soon as you enter Mi Tierra, you're greeted with a shrine to loved ones and all kinds of colorful religious imagery. Mexicans - they really, really love Jesus. :)

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2. Wild pinatas with tassels hang from the ceilings, and only the brave enter the Mariachi Bar! This area is full of boisterous people drinking margaritas and tequila, while simultaneously being serenaded by round, smiley Mexican men strumming guitars and rolling their "r's" as the words from popular Mexican ballads float from their mouths. Personally, I don't know why some Americans are trying to kick out all the Mexicans. :) They are lively, colorful, and soulful people. Btw, it's really impossible for me to roll "r's" while speaking Spanish. :(

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3. The restaurant is massive in size, with many different corridors and dining rooms that can hold over 500 people. I was there on a Friday afternoon, but I understand that on weekends, there's usually a 1- 2 hour wait to be seated. I don't know many of the Mexicans depicted on this mural, and recognize only the man in the bottom left with the dog. His name is Cesar Millan, better known as "The Dog Whisperer." He's a Mexican-American celebrity and dog psychologist. Yes, we have such an absurd profession here in the U.S. :)) He specializes in reforming aggressive dogs and creating more balanced vibes between canines and humans. I wonder if he's known in Russia?

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4. All of the waitresses, waiters and other workers are Mexican, and the restaurant has always been owned by the same family - passed down from generation to generation. It's open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and I can only imagine the awesome crowds here on Cinco de Mayo, or in the wee hours of a drunken Saturday night. I think I could've met some very eccentric characters, maybe even more memorable than the old Russian men I met when I was the only woman at a vodka bar in Peter late one night. :)) But, alas, this adventure will have to wait until next time because I departed San Antonio on Saturday morning, and couldn't experience the weekend fiesta.

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5.  I think this business trip can be summed up in two words - tortillas and margaritas. Because my work was paying for everything, I certainly didn't hesitate to please myself with tasty Mexican meals the entire trip. It's really a requirement to eat such food if you're in San Antonio, as it's a main part of the city's culture.

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6. Mi Tierra also has a separate bakery where you can purchase classic Mexican sweets, muffins and breads. Coconut is used in almost all of the recipes, and I ate the pink cake/bread type thing pictured here. It has a smooth texture and is covered in coconut soaked with sweetened condensed milk. Incredibly luscious and sugary...well, sweets are definitely my weakness, but I don't deprive myself during trips or road journeys. Suffer at all other times. :))


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7. These garlands, ribbons and spirited butterflies hang everywhere. In fact, the decorations and ornaments are a bit of a nuisance at times, as they are right in your face while you try to eat your meal. This was the view at the window by my table.

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8. Optic orgasm! So many colors, lights, paintings, portraits...this place creates sensory overdrive at times, but I like to be stimulated. In many different ways. :))

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9. Here's a shrine to the legendary Mexican singer Selena. She's a huge icon in the culture, probably only Jesus is more popular. :) There are photos of her everywhere, as she's a local Texas girl who went on to become the Queen of Tejano music. She died very tragically when she was shot to death at only 24 years old. I'm not sure if she's known overseas, but I suspect so because Jennifer Lopez portrayed her in a very popular American film called "Selena," which details her somewhat sad life and quick rise to fame.

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10. My favorite part of the restaurant is this amazing mural, where some of the most well-known Mexican-Americans are gathered on a street together. I knew all of them, except the guy with the video camera and the man in the sombrero. And how many do you recognize? Certainly you must know a few of them, as they're famous singers and movie stars.

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11. Mi Tierra is located in Market Square. This is a huge area filled with Mexican markets, eateries and crafts. On weekends, the market comes alive with bands, musicians, street performers and dancers. Worth a visit, and there should be no problem with language barriers, as most of the Mexicans here speak English just fine. This is usually the case when people are trying to take your dollars. :)

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12. You can buy all kinds of useless junk, the same as all similar markets around the globe. I'm not sure if this guy is even Mexican, he looks Arab to me.

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13. I remember when I drove through Poland a few years ago, I was stunned by all of the religious imagery everywhere. I had never seen such a thing, where the Virgin Mary would greet you at the entrance to almost any town. It's the same with Mexican culture - there are spiritual icons in all corners, every store, most restaurants and a lot of homes. Usually, I hate being bombarded with all of this stuff, but somehow with the Mexicans I'm more forgiving. I guess it's because I've always viewed them as friendly, family-oriented, festive and hard-working people. None of them have ever tried to shove religion down my throat - only tacos or tortillas. :) And I know a lot of Mexicans.

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14. Many posters, t-shirts and other souvenirs emblazoned with the face of the famous Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. I love this artist, and her turbulent, passionate love affair with Diego Rivera. A movie was also made about her life, with Mexican-American actress Selma Hayek portraying her.

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15. If you want a cowboy hat, there are thousands of them in the market. Take your pick.

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16. These are fiesta wreaths which are used at all Mexican celebrations, and sometimes as home decorations or head pieces for women.

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17. This is the most symbolic and colorful mural I saw in San Antonio, again an homage to Mexican culture. The painting is called "El barrio on my mind", and shows a classic scene from a poor Mexican village. A child walking with women from his family, a weekend barbecue, an old man pushing an ice-cream cart, all of them being watched over by some holy figure. I don't know who it is, sorry I'm a heathen. Btw, on the little boys shirt, it says "Go Spurs Go." This is a reference to the local NBA team, who is very good and currently in the playoffs. These same carts are pushed by Mexicans in my parent's neighborhood on hot, summer days, so I'm familiar with them personally, and run to them like a child when I'm dying from the oppressive heat and humidity in August.

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I'll tell you more about how this culture became so deeply rooted in San Antonio when I show you other parts of the city in a separate post. In the meantime, what do you think about Mexicans and the decor of this restaurant? Too chaotic, or delightful? :)

Comments

( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
andrey_kaminsky
Apr. 18th, 2016 09:18 am (UTC)
Страна должна знать своих героев
Local provincial celebrities can not be recognized:(
If the mural was dedicated to musical videos of the Aerosmith which are featuring Alicia Silverstone, then i could say who is depicted on the wall. Maybe Joan Collins, who manages to be a sex symbol 50 consecutive years, deserves to be painted on the wall.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 18th, 2016 10:04 am (UTC)
Re: Страна должна знать своих героев
Neither Joan Collins or Alicia Silverstone are Mexicans. :)) The people on the left side of the mural in photo 10 are not local provincials, but established musicians and actresses. You don't know Eva Longoria, Carlos Santana or Cheech Marin (from the Cheech and Chong movies)? They star in the classic American film "Up in Smoke", and are two of the most famous potheads of all time. Maybe you were too conservative in youth to be part of the hippie culture? :))

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procurator0
Apr. 18th, 2016 09:19 am (UTC)
so you were a groupie. My world would never be the same again.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 18th, 2016 10:09 am (UTC)
No. :) Groupies mostly follow one band from town to town, but I just went and saw whoever was in town. Most of my boyfriends worked in the record industry at that time and got free tickets to all concerts. We always went backstage after. I certainly got invited to go back on the tour bus by a few bands (mostly metal guys), but of course I said no. Even in youth, I wasn't so naive to believe these guys simply want to "talk", learn anything about me, or discuss the wonders of the world. As I've written numerous times before, I don't have sex with people I barely know, and fame/money - they have never been aphrodisiacs for me.

Edited at 2016-04-18 10:10 am (UTC)
maksipes
Apr. 18th, 2016 09:32 am (UTC)
the only mexican we know here in russia is Veronica Castro. O man.. I just remembered, there's another one - Victoria Ruffo. what beautiful women! have you ever heard about them?
peacetraveler22
Apr. 18th, 2016 10:14 am (UTC)
Don't know them. But I think many Mexican women, and Latinas in general, are very sexy. I like their dark hair, skin tones, and spicy, curvy body type. :)) They have very fiery personalities.
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Apr. 18th, 2016 11:51 am (UTC) - Expand
notabler
Apr. 18th, 2016 10:06 am (UTC)
I didn't recognize anyone of this mural, I am so bad with movies and faces. But this place is fantastic and definitely's worth to visit. I like this very much. I never tried any drug in my entire life, and I still regret. I'd like to satisfy my curiosity just once)))
peacetraveler22
Apr. 18th, 2016 10:15 am (UTC)
For me, it was curiosity, not some sense of depression or way to escape gloomy periods. Now I'm very pure. Absolutely no drugs, and very rarely any alcohol. The days of youth have sadly passed...:))
mybathroom
Apr. 18th, 2016 10:44 am (UTC)
Nice place!
peacetraveler22
Apr. 18th, 2016 10:46 am (UTC)
I liked it! I'm not a fan of boring, fancy or upscale restaurants that are really expensive. Here, you can get food, lots of entertainment, and be surrounded by friendly people for a cheap price. :) I saw your post yesterday, Denis. I hope you're in a better mood today. Don't lose hope. :))
(no subject) - mybathroom - Apr. 19th, 2016 10:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 19th, 2016 10:41 am (UTC) - Expand
moskitow
Apr. 18th, 2016 11:08 am (UTC)
I saw all of them in the movies but don't remember the names (bad memory on names but I assume it's something like Lopes, Gonzales or something like that).
What a cool restaurant! My favorite Mexican place in Buffalo is Don Tequilla. Very good food! But if I eat like this every day I won't fit in the door frame :)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 18th, 2016 11:11 am (UTC)
I think the most well-known Mexican in the mural is the actress Eva Longoria, or maybe the guitarist Carols Santana. Yes, Mexican food is very rich and indulgent with all the cheeses, sauces and sour cream. I try not to eat it often, but on short vacations, I never deprive myself of tasty foods. You only live once, and I can suffer with diet and boring foods at all other times. :))
siberian_cat
Apr. 18th, 2016 02:44 pm (UTC)
The guy with a camera is Robert Rodriguez, of course.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 18th, 2016 02:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I've never heard of him, but just did a quick Internet search. You're right. :))
llmaxxxll
Apr. 19th, 2016 06:14 am (UTC)
I know Cesar Millan and watched about 4-5 seasons. It serial called "Переводчик с собачьего" in Russia it was shown by Animal Planet channel.
In Russia many people have many icon and other religious things too. It's special noticeably away from large city in small towns and villages.

Edited at 2016-04-19 06:15 am (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I didn't know his show aired on Russian TV. :)
anna_sollanna
Apr. 20th, 2016 12:20 pm (UTC)
> what do you think about Mexicans and the decor of this restaurant? Too chaotic, or delightful? :)
too bright and garish IMHO. With so many bright colors for me they all merge into a pattern which my brain doesn't discern. Had I been in such a restaurant I am afraid I would remember it as something motley, without any particular details... But had there be only murals, without tinsel, garlands etc, I might have noticed them...
peacetraveler22
Apr. 20th, 2016 12:30 pm (UTC)
It's definitely not a polished or refined restaurant. It's just meant to be a fun, festive environment. Not prim and proper, but definitely sensory overload. :))
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

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