I have found that local bars are good places to practice Spanish, as the patrons and proprietors are generally friendly and ready to strike up conversation.
You may remember my periodic reports from Jose’s cantina in Merida, which I would visit a couple of times each week. Jose’s is what I would call a very funky place, others would probably think it seedy, and still others disgusting; and I couldn’t honestly argue with either point of view. After all, it rained almost as hard in the bathroom as it did outdoors and Jose was often exceedingly drunk. One night, in fact, he was so drunk that he walked around his place apparently unaware that he had pissed his pants. Shortly thereafter he took one of his periodic rides on the wagon.
I have been visiting the bars in my neighborhood here in Xalapa and have found a few that I enjoy. The other day, however, I hit the jackpot just a couple blocks from my apartment, when I stumbled upon Cantina La Negrita. Stumbled upon, because, like many of the bars in town, from the outside La Negrita carries no indication that there’s a bar inside. The other day as I walked pass I heard accordion music emanating from the doorway so walked in.
Here is what I found. You can certainly tell that I’m a videography neophyte.
Los Amigos Del Taconazo play Norteno music, which features a diatonic (meaning a different note results from a pull on the bellows than from a push) button accordion (in this case a Hohner Corona) and usually a guitar and bass. The bass in the video is 90 years old, and really, really looks it. Los Amigos, who have been playing together for twelve years and play every afternoon at La Negrita, told me they dream of going to the USA to play.
Another serendipitous occurrence in Mexico.