one of the wonderful things about mexico is the sheer variety and multitude of street vendors. if you are sitting on a patio, you're guaranteed to have a delightful choice of sweaters, rugs, limes, batteries, novelty sunglasses and lighters and a number of weird services offered to you. most people might find this annoying, but some of the things people offer is pure gold.
first of all, a mariachi band, now that's a great service. i unfortunately found out the hard way that you can't just give them what you want, but you actually ask what a song costs, then negotiate, then let them play. i happened to invite a $35/song mariachi band to our table and they nearly spat in my face when i offered 10 pesos. what? que? we barely even listened to the song and we probably would have to get our money's worth. and the last thing you want is an angry mariachi.
we've seen the lighters in the form of louis vuitton purses, a watch with el demon azul on it that to this day i regret turning away and an 8 year old selling those eyeglasses with eyes painted on the lenses, so you can pretend to not be sleeping in a meeting. i found my pair far more valuable to have to put on when anyone starts telling a boring story. vincente is telling us about his hacienda. glasses on, yawn.
then there was the bearded lady who comes up to us, clicking two metal sticks together, holding a home-made box full of D batteries connected to these two metal sticks by a long wire...the mexicans couldn't believe i've never willingly paid for an electric shock before. "it's awesome!" to which i respond, no wonder why your GDP is so low, eh? i don't want to perpetuate stereotypes, but in this case i'm quite happy to.
so we try it together. 10 pesos paid, i hold one anode, rafa the other, and we hold hands. before she even turns the dial to 1 i imagine myself going into cardiac arrest and start jumping around uncomfortably. a 1.5 i feel a static, this is not enjoyable. a 2, 3, a twitch is running up my forearms and i can't take it anymore, i let it go. the he-woman is all "this level is for children! "you do this to kids?? rafa takes it to 8, and walks away, content. what a macho.