Tuesday, January 29, 2008

55 and Suddenly Alone, What should I do for FUN!

Not long ago I became a senior citizen, and suddenly realized that I took back my life at 50. It took me 50 years to do it, but at least I did it, which is much more than I can say for most people.

Here I was all alone for the first time in my life, separated from a 30+ year marriage, and broke, but if I was going to just sit down and wait until the aftermath, the healing and the adjustment to changes before I started to have fun again, I might forget what it’s like to have fun and not remember how to get it again.

We just have to keep on enjoying the ride no matter how steep it gets, there’ll be coasting just ahead.

I know it works different for everyone, but this is how it works for me.

At first I started to travel all over Europe. I couldn’t get enough of it, I wanted to spend there months and months, perhaps even move there as soon as my kids went off to college, but since like I said I was broke, I had to do the best I could with what I had. Everything outside of the money to support my travel took a second place. Except of course for my kids, they knew they could always come to me for whatever they needed and I would make that happen as well.

I could write books about my adventures traveling in the past 5 years of my life, Europe, Israel, many small towns and cities in Mexico, the United States, Canada, at times I don’t believe some of the things I did, but I continue to LOVE every minute of it, even the things that went wrong for me on my trips, actually I love those more because they are the ones that give the spice to my experiences, and as a Latino woman, I LOVE SPICE :o)

I was sitting at home this morning thinking of something to do. My son was lazy, my daughter is on a trip, and I couldn’t think of anything. All I knew was that I was hungry.


So that brings me to “Los Panchos” in Pacific Beach.

I would describe Pacific Beach as a young surfer’s area. There are many beautiful young people walking around the streets. Tons of restaurants, and cute little boutiques with inexpensive clothes, fast food, supermarkets, hair salons, tattoo parlors, bars with hookah pipes, piano and dance lessons, gyms, there is even a rubber life-size dummy on the street outside a store that says “Punch me with a smile”, and of course I did :o).
There are furniture stores, and smoke shops that sell paraphernalia. And if you walk inside those shops to look around and start asking questions like I do, “Which Pipe works better? Why the different shapes and materials?” The attendant inevitably will look at this 55 year old woman who looks like a Jewish/Mexican mom asking about bongs and pipes, and they will reply, “well you get your tobacco and put it in here” and they are pretty much all the same, “it’s all in taste.” Although I know for a fact that’s not the case, because I happen to have a teenage son!!! OY VEI!

So the last time I was in PB (that’s how its referred to around here), I stumbled into Los Panchos, went in to eat and had this feeling of being back home in Mexico.

There is nothing really special about this place that would necessarily draw people in, just a normal size semi-fast-food type place; there is usually a homeless man outside by the tables picking up the leaves that fall off the trees to keep the place clean, I’m not sure who pays him but you see him with the top of a filing-type cardboard box picking up the leaves and whatever garbage he finds, places it on the boxtop, walks to the closest trash can and empties it, just to go back and look for more trash.

The place looks like any ordinary small restaurant in Mexico City where I grew up and would go to eat tacos every chance I got. It has booths all around and a sign that says “Please come in and have a seat”, kind of like saying “Mi casa es tu casa”. It’s decorated with tacky posters or paintings and banners advertising beer that go all around the place. There's a metal shelf by the side door next to the cashier that holds bundles of tortillas; I forgot I wanted to buy some!

But what will keep me going back to Los Panchos as long as I live in San Diego, is the food and the way I feel when I am in there.

The food is abundant and well priced. First they bring you fresh crunchy chips with spicy tomato salsa and a plate with spicy carrots, chiles and onions. I was so hungry and wanted to order a large plate, but decided to start with three small tacos and see if I still felt hungry after that. I thought for $3.99 for all three tacos, how big can they be? And to drink I ordered “Agua de Jamaica” (hibiscus water) delicious, refreshing, and very healthy for you, and they keep on filling your glass if you want more.

So for example take the three tacos I ate. Each one of them comes with two tortillas. They are small and easy to eat, with the right consistency and most of all fresh made. You don’t feel too guilty because they look small, but they have A LOT of meat, seasoned just right, and chopped even better. Then they sprinkle the right amount or fresh chopped onions and cilantro, a couple of slices of lime or lemon for you to squeeze it on the tacos, and you add some of that delicious salsa. The meat was a little greasy, (reminds me of the ones I used to eat as a child) but I figure if that is all I eat all day except for something light at night, then it’s not so bad, and besides, remember you are in PB, you can just keep on walking straight west when you finish your meal, do some window shopping, maybe get an extra piercing on your ears so you can wear two little studs in each, and go all the way down to the beach and jog or walk off the calories and feel invigorated and ready to do something else, like go to Old Town, it’s a very cute area for walking around and people watching, or just go to a movie, they change every week ;o)

I hope you enjoyed what you did with your day.

What should I do for fun tomorrow?!...

Anyone care to join me? :o)

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