Notes From Nestipac

By Phyllis Rauch

One Enchanted Evening in Mexico


enchiladas-colorMost of us living at Lake Chapala, whether ex-pats, snowbirds or tourists, are aware of how lucky we are to spend weeks, months or years in this uniquely blessed part of the world. As anywhere else, we may run into occasional snags and frustrations. And, if you’ve lived here as long as I have, we sometimes have to be reminded of our good fortune.

Last Saturday night was one of those times to reflect, remember and enjoy. With delightful Canadian friends I shared an early dinner at Tia Lupita’s in San Juan Cosala. Four of us ordered the specialty of the house, chiles en nogada.

When this dish arrived at our table it was a feast for the eyes: jewel-like pomegranate seeds topping a creamy nut sauce over a tender chile poblana filled with meat. The oohs and aahs began as we cut into the chiles, and the subtle combination of flavors tickled our palates. This isn’t food to be wolfed down, or to be ignored while conversing and drinking.

A dear Mexican friend stopped by the table and greeted me with hugs and kisses. I’ve known her since she was 16, and now she has a grown family of her own. She, as well as Agustin, the owner of the restaurant, shares that special quality of warmth and charisma that is so typically Mexican.

We next went to see the sunset from Monte Coxala. I had never been there before and was as impressed as my visiting friends with the pre-Columbian theme, handsome buildings and landscaping. While we were at the restaurant, lounging on comfy wicker chairs, drinking wine and watching the sun descend, we had a surprise.

Below us in the grass we had noticed a single table, elegantly appointed, obviously reserved for someone who hadn’t yet arrived. From time to time one or two of us would lean over the banister to check out the table. Catherine and I got up just in time to see a young man in a dark suit on bent knee in front of a beautiful girl in a long dress. She had obviously said yes, for soon they were embracing and the lone saxophonist began to stroll and play at a proper distance.

By now a few other couples had joined us at the railing, and though it was tempting to applaud, we watched silently, remembering our own romances and hoping that what had begun so perfectly would last forever.

Often during the evening I found myself thinking, “Only in Mexico.” But maybe I’m prejudiced. Later that night, I received a Skype call from my friend Maria who moved to Thailand a short time ago. After living 20 years in Mexico, she is now excited and thrilled with her new life in the Orient, with interesting international friends, activities and especially with the low cost of living.

Maria had reminded me that there are people all over the world, rejoicing in where they live, having unique experiences. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t trade places with them. As the old song goes, “I’ll take romance”…chiles en nogada and Mexico.

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