food is an event, a ritual involving hunt, preparation, consumption, recovery. cherie tied up my hair in ceremonial fashion, two buns like omni-directional ears or anime style street ninja hair. we were set for the prowl, the slow search for yerba mate, a south american tea said to cure everything from a headache to relationship troubles. for us it is a drink of goodness. chock full of caffiene and two other stimulants that chuck says are even crazier, but quite legal. he found it in paraguay, where old men sit around in a circle drinking from communal cup with bombilla and hours just go by in latin style. it is hard to find, so we went to the mission district of san francisco to pillage some central-american markets.
the streets were warm and urban tumbleweed newspaper skipped down the sidewalk past stores of luggage and children's party dresses. latin culture came in from the souls of our feet, mixing with the young blood of the hunters like sweetened condensed milk and we found a slow pace between stores.
at the corner produce market an old man of asian background stood surveying his flats of mangos. i love mangos. the first time i had one was on the beach in miami, diced and folded inside-out on the skin, hunched over with the juice dripping from my elbows. how exquisite. cherie and i squeezed and smelled and purchased a box brimming with 'gos. nothing more satisfying than carrying a box of fruit on your shoulder.
when we eventually came upon the yerba mate we cleaned out the store of the most unassuming brand, three kilos of a mix of stalks and leaves that, when brewed in a standard mr. coffee make a tea of honey color and which smells slightly of dust and all things natural. simple and wonderful, inspiring tranquilidad and mental acquity, sunny days and good dreams.
i also acquired a three-foot wooden spoon whose purpose shall be determined by circumstance. i was thinkin' prize for a chili cook-off or maybe gift to my culinary grandfather.
the san mateo gang invited us for a bbq of epic proportions, to which we brought smoked brie and a flair for flinging mad amounts of food. wayne was grill-master, overseer of the great food orgie. the fastest to go was the asparagus grilled and roasted in olive oil and salt and parseley flakes. when it comes to food you can not go half-way. portabela mushrooms to start and corona dashed on the burgers for fun, linguiso suasage from spicy lands, and watermelon as antidote. what a feast! things on a basic level, food and people and contained fire.
dave showed his cloak he'd gotten from bedoines in tunisia. it's made of soft camel hair and he said he might be able to get me one. it's possible i'll go there someday in my travels.
on the drive back we got to talking about places to go. always carry a map with you, one of the places you've been and want to go to in your dreams. "does 5 go all the way to alaska?" "nope, it turns into something else right before the border, north of seattle." "always take a guy to t.j., no matter how skinny he is." "you can sleep on the beaches in baja." "what's the name of the city at the end of the penninsula?" "is there fog down there?" "no man, it's tropical." is there land beyond the headlights?