Los Amigos Del Taconazo

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.



Filed under Norteno, Travel, Xalapa

3 responses to “Los Amigos Del Taconazo

  1. Dan

    Great stuff! You did a fine job with the video. More, please!

  2. Thanks Dan. I was a bit unsteady in the shooting, despite the camera’s automatic wiggle control feature, and I am just learning to edit with only a rudimentary editing program I now have.

    None-the-less, I am satisfied with the results and am encouraged to shoot more.

    I was able to cut out the 30 second shot of the floor and my legs I took while untangling the mic cord, as well as other extraneous matter.

    I compiled a 10 minute movie which I have placed on a CD for the band, but I need to get a good still shot for the CD cover.

    I bought the video camera upon my return from my trip to Cuba in January. During the trip my buddy and I decided we should make a movie of our next trip entitled Gringos Locos on a Diplomatic Mission to Cuba. We are good diplomats and have become know in Playa Baracoa for our antics.

    So I will be shooting lots of video during my July stay in Cuba and will place the rough footage on a couple of portable hard drives I will be taking with me. I will try to post some video when I am there.

    Thanks again for the encouragement.

    Take care.

  3. You're So Right

    Part II – Do These Shackles Make Me Look Fat?

    “OK, Let’s try this again. Muy rrrrrobusto, RRRRRRoberto!”

    “Muy robusto, Roberto. ARGGGGGH!” The sensation was a lot like having one’s small intestines fed into a blender straight through the abdominal wall. As with all the times before, I had to look down and confirm, to my amazement, that there was nothing attached to or boring into my wretched gut.

    “I don’t think you are really trying, you Gringo swine.” He reached once again for his Teletubbies ring.

    “No, no. Please! I can do it.” He eased his hand away from the ring and gazed down at the notes before him on the podium. There was no way I could do it.

    “RRRRRamon! Que pasa, hombrrrre?”

    “Ramon, que…..ARGGGGH!”

    “You imbecile! Where did you learn to speak Spanish, the phone directory?” His eyes were bulging so far out of his head they smudged the back of his glasses. “You’ve got to roll your R’s. RRRRRRRRoll your R’s!” The viscous spittle against my forehead sounded like hail on the roof of a ’57 Chevy.

    “I don’t speak Spanish.”

    “You certainly fucking don’t!” He took off the mortarboard, shuffled back over to the couch and fell into its fetid recesses. With childlike joy, I realized that today’s session was over.

    As he lit up another dark dogend he glared at me in utter exasperation. “How in the name of all that is holy do you expect to be ready at this rate? Your coming out is just a few days away. You are going to ruin everything!”

    “I…I’m sorry. Can we try German?” Big mistake.

    “German? Did you say German, you pea-brained frat boy?” He reached for his pinky.

    When I came around again he seemed to have regained his composure somewhat. “Ausgeseitnicht! Sie sind jetzt hier. Wie gehts?”

    “Good, thanks. Sorry about the German remark. I’m just not myself, I suppose.” I attempted a smile through my cracked and bloody lips. “That’s an interesting trick. How do you do that?”, nodding toward his hand.

    “Oh this little thing?” He held out his mottled ham and smiled coquettishly as he cocked his head to each side and admired the ring like a newly betrothed farm girl.

    “Just something I worked out in my spare time. In case I had surprise guests. A little nanotechnology for the tum-tum. You swallowed it with that hamburger helper at lunch a few days ago. Works great don’t you think?”

    “Absolutely. Feels like I’ve got a roto-rooter in my guts. “

    “Just what I’d hoped. Here, check it out.” He swiveled the laptop around so that I could look over his shoulder as he clicked through the diagrams and spec sheets. As near as I could gather, the thing, which looked a little like a miniature molly-bolt, was designed to lodge itself into the lining of the small intestine where, upon activation from the remote control, it would continue to drill and tear its way through the digestive system. Talk about Montezuma’s revenge.

    “How long ‘til I shit it out?”

    “I’m not exactly sure, weeks…months. You’re the first, you see. Look upon it as your little contribution to science.”

    “This is truly flattering. All to motivate me to learn Spanish. Sort of gives new meaning to the term ‘total immersion’.”

    He had to grab the sides of the stones to support the head-shaping machine as he exploded into paroxysms of laughter. Stomping the floor, he rocked uncontrollably as his howls were gradually replaced with gasping for air. When the coughing had stopped, he regarded me with a sidelong glance and what I thought was a possibly a glimmer of respect…or was it some new recalculation of how much more it would take?

    “That’s very droll. Very good. Did they teach you that at the academy?”

    “Academy? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I would have shit myself if that were possible in my condition.

    “Very well. Have your little games. Ready to get back to work?” He crushed out the roach on the back of my hand. The duct tape might as well have been monel metal.

    “If we must. Mind if I ask you a question?”

    “Not at all, fire away.”

    “Are you planning to kill me?”

    He turned to face me and raised his arms slowly in a gesture of evangelical sincerity. Out of the corner of my eye, I might have seen something scuttle across the room. “Kitty, you cut me to the cuticle.”

    “In seven days, you and I will sitting at a table on El Gastrointerologico Square sipping a cold Bohemian and watching the pigeons mate. This I promise you.”

    “Now try this: Rrrrrrruiz, mi amigo! Dos Tequila, Porrrrrrrrrrrrrrfavor!”

    Next Installment
    Part III – Avian Passion Aside: No Means No

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