Saturday, January 2, 2010

Mexican Food and Language

This year, while trying to write a thesis, I put on almost 10kg. After a few of my closest friends made a few comments ("Jim! You're looking so... portly!") I went on the CSIRO diet with my parents, and lost almost all of it. That was before coming to Mexico.

The Mexicans, I can safely say, are a fat bunch. Among the hundreds of pieces of mother-to-daughter knowledge that are passed down (bi-carb in the fridge keeps the smells away; bless yourself in front of a church or be condemned to hell; cut--don't rip--the plastic bag you put in the tortilla maker, etc.) the link between fat content of food and the fat content of people has not been made.

In contrast to the CSIRO diet---which is easy, tasty, and removes almost all fat and carbs from the diet---the Mexican diet consists of tortillas (carbs), melted cheese (min. 40% fat), and fibre (beans), give or take some cilantro, onion, lime and chili for savor. Every meal is washed down with soda. It is no surprise the former CEO of Coca Cola here, Vicente Fox, became president: it wasn't a great increase in influence for the man.

Needless to say, I'm losing the fight of keeping that weight off.

I am, though, happy to report that my Spanish is improving, slowly. Learning a language is a difficult process, especially when there are small differences between the innocent and offensive. I recall a good friend of mine, from Russia, once asking a female tram driver "Does this tram go to St Kilda Bitch?", and buying a "bottle of cock" from 7/11.

My 7/11 experiences have been no better. For the first two weeks, at every store I visited, I asked the price of the store attendant "¿cuánto cuestas?" where I should have asked for the price of the product "¿cuánto cuesta?"

After spending a while scrubbing myself up (I needed scrubbing) to go to Sue's Uncle's new gay club, I stood in front of her family and proudly announced "Yo como un homosexual", in place of "Yo parezco como un homosexual". The latter translates as "I look like a gay", and the first as "I eat a gay".

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