Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Before I tell you about yesterday, I should mention that the night before last, we had a Close Encounter of the celestial kind. The space station and the space shuttle flew overhead, one right behind the other, and we all craned our necks to watch them for the minute and a half or so that they were visible. I heard on the news today that the shuttle had landed, so I guess the space station is on its own. Tonight there's supposed to be a lunar eclipse, so it will be another sore neck night, but worth it. We're going to have a barbecue so that we're all outside to watch.

Yesterday morning, Robin and I cycled to the estuary and then we walked along the path between the dune and the mangroves. Usually we hear a lot of bird sounds, but they're all of the strangling, throttling "Gack! Aargh!" variety - herons, gulls, egrets, and such. This was different. There was a songbird in the mangrove somewhere, and he was yelling "Sweet! Sweet! Sweet!" I never did see him, so I don't know what he was, but I did enjoy listening to him.

As I write, there's a bright red balloon wafting around under the table. I brought it home from Toro's last night, after my birthday party.

We were going to go to Froggy's for 2/1 pizza night, but somehow Toro's seemed like a more festive idea. It was. Chantal and I went over early in the day and made reservations for 5:30. Chantal told Luis the waiter that it was my birthday.

The five of us arrived at the restaurant, only to find that it was almost empty. We were told to sit wherever we liked, so I took the big table (for eight) at the far end of the restaurant, under the television. We asked Laura the waitress to turn the sound down, but instead she turned the tv off and turned the mariachi music on. Cool.

I ordered molcajete de pollo, same as the last time. Robin ordered fish, which came wrapped in foil that was shaped like a swan. Chantal got scampi, and both Roger and Terry asked for chicken fajitas. It was happy hour, so everybody got two of everything (margaritas, beers, wine) except for the birthday girl. I had asked for agua con gaz (soda water), so I only got one. Hmmph.

Soon, Luis appeared with French onion soup for everybody (because it's a special occasion, he said) and then our delicious meals came. At the end, I told Luis that I wanted a container for what was left of my molcajete, because I wanted to save room for flan. He disappeared, and a little old man with a guitar showed up. He had castanets in his right hand, and somehow he played the guitar and clicked the castanets at the same time.

After the little man had (sort of) played Happy Birthday for me, he prepared to launch into another song, but Luis, Laura, and the bartender (whose name I don't know) turned up just then. Laura was wearing a wig that appeared to have been made from bright blue Christmas tree tinsel. The bartender wore a hat that looked like a shower cap with ears. Luis wore a sombrero with a big red gift bow on the brim. He carried and played a guitar that didn't actually have any strings. First they threw the red balloon at me; then they showered me with confetti. Laura handed me my flan, in which was stuck a candle. She told me to make a wish and blow out the candle, but it was of the kind that won't go out. I finally had to dunk it in Robin's beer. They sang me a Mexican birthday song, then Happy Birthday. When I told Luis I was twenty-nine, he pointed to the bow on his hat and told me that he was my present. Cool, indeed!

There was more music and more laughter, and a fine time was had by all - especially me. As we left, I got hugs, handshakes, and "Felicidades!" from both Luis and Laura.

We came back to the park and I managed to call my sister for a little chat before Terry and Roger came to get me. I had agreed to walk up to Bananas to listen to a C&W band appearing there (I still don't know why I did that!), and it was time to go. We walked to Bananas, but there was no C&W band. It was just The Twins again. So we decided to see who was playing at Froggy's. Nobody was. No music at all. So we came home again, and that was the end of my birthday celebration, but I didn't mind. I had had a lovely day.

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