It was another Super Menudo Sunday morning at Gaby’s. I set aside this specific weekend morning’s breakfast to sip that soup and eat those unctuous stomach bits floating in a red chili broth garnished with fresh chopped white onion, oregano, and squeezes of fresh lime.

Ramón was setting up his own food stall when I arrived at the Mercado. He was melting down a big hunk of lard in the huge stainless steel vessel built into a table from which he chops up and fries pig guts and onions like he has been doing for the last 50 years. So as an old guy his work has been made more difficult these past 2 weeks with his wrist in a cast and his entire right arm in a sling. But he still managed a big smile and to greet me warmly with his diminutive for me where he calls me ‘Philippine’. I call him Ramón but roll the r extra hard just like you’d pronounce a double r which cracks me up because whenever I say Ramón using that exaggerated Spanish pronunciation my mind conjures up an imagine of  a glue sniffing Joey Ramone dressed in skinny knee torn blue jeans.

I ask him how the wrist is and he tells me much better and that the cast comes off in two weeks. He holds up 2 fingers on his left hand to emphasize the point and then stops, looks at his fingers to realize as if for the first time in years that his middle finger is only a nub. And after a pause also realized that he was only holding up a week and a half of fingers. He unsuccessfully tried several combinations to put together a contiguous set of two intact fingers before finally settling on his little finger and ring finger. We both laughed like it was the funniest thing in the world.

A couple of weeks ago Roberto, the carpenter down the street finally got around to getting his skinny little mutt, Candy deloused, bathed and trimmed for the first time in maybe forever. A sweet little dog but was always so nasty looking that petting her was a chore. I once saw her crossing the plaza running in this crazy bucking motion as every other step she’d turn around to snap at some flea on her ass. So anyway the dog finally gets cleaned up and it turns out she was cute little Schnauzer under all that ratty, stringy fur. But philosophically speaking the make-over worked (or didn’t) depending on where you happened to be sitting at the time. I don’t know if it was the new pink ribbon on her head or what but two days later she got dognapped and hasn’t been seen since.

Oh, and a last little story of color. I was riding the combi-bus back in from the valley the other day and the driver stopped with his full bus load of passengers to get gas. He got precisely 30 pesos worth; that’s two and a half liters, less than a single gallon’s worth of gas. One of the other passengers looked at the meter on the pump and then looked at me and rolled her eyes. If he is like the other Ruta-Gris (Gray Route) guys then he works 12 hours a day and a single loop is 2 hours and 10 minutes meaning he makes 5 loops per day. I haven’t done the math but I reckon he must stop for gas a lot if that’s his modus.