You all know how proud I am to have been born in Colombia. One label that I was not aware of until I moved to the US is that I was also Latin. While I was aware of the word and that Spanish was one of the Romance Languages, languages that were derived from Latin, what I did not know was that I was going to have to wear this label as long as I lived in the U.S.
While for a lot of people it really can be a painful thing to be segregated by the color of their skin, I try to concentrate in the positive side of being Latin and look at all the things positive things that my culture brings into my life. I grew up in Colombia not knowing that Latin countries influence each other quite a bit. Musically for example, “Cumbia” a rhythm very popular in Mexico today actually originates from Colombia. “Rancheras,” a very popular music for some Colombians comes from Mexico. Mariachis are in some sense the international ambassadors from that country to the world. You can actually find Mariachis playing “Rancheras” in Colombia. If I remember correctly there is a bar called Mexicali where you can go listen to “Rancheras” live. A lot of times when someone thinks of Mexico the first image that comes to his or her mind is a big Mariachi sombrero.
I am not one for stereotyping, and in a way saying that Mariachis are the ambassadors of Mexico could be misconstrued as a negative representation of all that Mexico is. I know that there is a lot more to Mexico than just Mariachis. When I make the statement about Mariachis, I mean to make it in the most positive way, and I am proud that as a Latino I can consider them part of my culture. I am also very happy to have had the opportunity to sample a lot of homemade Mexican food. A misconception of a lot of people is that all Latin food is hot spicy. Actually Mexican food is one of the only types of foods where hot spices are a main staple in the cuisine. For example in Colombian food, there is only one sauce that accompanies Colombian “Empanadas” called “Aji” that is actually supposed to be hot spicy. The rest of Colombian dishes are not hot at all.
One of my favorite Mexican foods is “Mole”. A chocolate based sauce with a kick. There are many variations of “Mole” sauce and I like “Mole Rojo” over chicken the best. I have had “Mole” in the brain for like the last week. This Sunday I went to our favorite Mexican restaurant, “Los Cuatro Amigos” and I was very excited when I was the “Mole” on the so I ordered it, keeping in mind that it might not be as good as some of the homemade “Mole” I’ve had in the past but I was wrong. The “Mole” was excellent. One of the other good qualities at this restaurant is that they use very good cuts of the meat, so the whole dish was excellent pieces of chicken. If you ever venture into a Mexican restaurant that has “Mole” I dare you to try it.
I finished watching the Kill Bill saga by watching part 2. The special features which had a concert by Chingon a band created by Director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Desperado and Once Upon in Mexico.) Rodriguez actually scored Kill Bill 2 for free. Chingon (Which means badass) played “Malaguena Salerosa” a Mariachi styled song that wounded excellent and made my heart beat a little faster. It has to be the Latin blood that runs through my veins.
Saturday I got another huge surprise that I was not expecting at all. I attended my Company’s holiday party. I know a little late, but believe me it is a lot better than trying to fit it in during the holidays. The festivities were hosted at the Saginaw Club. An excellent location but it had one flaw, tons of stairs. Anyway, they had four different styles of food being served buffet style, but there were actual cooks keeping all of the dishes fresh. They had Japanese, Caribbean, Italian and Mexican. Along with the great food and free drinks, for entertainment they also had a Mariachi band. While it was not a huge one, I counted 6 members. I requested El Rey, which to me is probably the classic “Ranchera”. They performed it flawlessly and I felt very connected to my Latin roots during that moment. What can I say; I had a very Mexican weekend and enjoyed every second of it.