One thing leads to another and before we knew it we were invited to dinner at this local seafood restaurant. Eating with locals, sitting on heavy wood chairs painted by someone also local, eating food caught locally, prepared by experienced hands that only knew what they had learned in the kitchens of their own relatives, all of this awaited for us.
Our dive trip to Mexico was coming to an end but before the whole experience dropped down and disappeared like a sea shell in the abyss of the ocean, I had the chance to talk about food with one of our dive masters from the boat. As always, food has this powerful, almost intimate, way of bringing people together and expanding our horizons during conversation. It also sounded magical when he let out the word “lion-fish”! He had me hooked right there, with the taste in my mouth I couldn’t wait to experience again that delicatesse.
Hot and crowded was the restaurant. We were in a group of 30 divers or so, which made it a little more complicate to find tables for us. While waiting at the entrance watching the dance performed before us, of waiters running back and forth, serving dinner, cleaning tables, delivering the bill, we were already feeling lucky just for being there. It wasn’t before long that we had our own table to finally be a part of the show. Ceviche, fried fish, grilled fish, tortillas com salsa, tortillas con queso, all types of seafood and those cold margaritas and cervezas. No lion-fish. Period. No lion-fish. The demand for this fish was higher than expected but our appetite was even bigger and we knew whatever we would order was going to be great.
Next to the bar counter was a table where all dishes were being prepared. The aroma of food involved us as margaritas traveled their way to our heads. We ate, talked and laughed and ate some more. This two or three hour dinner was what brought a deeper meaning to the whole week, it opened us a door into a new world. Confirmed to us that a real traveler is the one who allows himself to get involved with the people, diving into the soul of the culture. Tourists go to places to see things, travelers go to places to feel and live the moment.