Monthly Archives: March 2009

Diario de Yucatan Headline – Church Encourages Criticism

The Diario de Yucatan published as it’s front page story (March 23, 2009) an article detailing the church’s exhortation that criticism is necessary and its’ warning of the dangers of not accepting dissenting opinions.

Is the almighty church talking about itself? Of course not, silly reader! No, they are talking about politics. Apparently what’s never been good for the goose is alright for the gander, to paraphrase and dissect a popular expression.

The church (catholic of course) never accepts criticism or dissenting opinions of any kind, yet in Mexican archdioceses’ weekly publication “Desde La Fe” an editorial blathers on and on about how politicians should be open to dissent, criticism and so forth. It goes on to say that ‘opening oneself up with intelligence to criticism won’t harm anyone’ but that closing oneself off to differing opinions or questions will and thus ‘authentic politicians should know how engage in dialogue; they should have the ability to debate, convince, respect – not impose or gag alternative voices’.

It’s all very well for the catholic powers-that-be to indulge in this sort of moralizing and preaching, considering the fact that they would never; have never, tolerated dissent, criticism, debate, or anything that might suggest a dialogue and have done exactly what they propose politicians do not do: impose and gag. Apparently their doctrine is so fragile that ‘criticism won’t harm anyone’ does not apply in their particular case.

Will anyone call them on their hypocrisy?

A La Vibora de la Mar – Seafood

It was about bloody time the Critic tried something new, so when the opportunity came along to sample this new seafood restaurant, the Critic jumped at the chance. Almost literally, since actual jumping would involve exercise and that is anathema to the Critic’s existence.

The Vibora restaurant is located in that little, out of the way shopping plaza where the Carls Jr. burger restaurant was relocated after Burger King (same owners) requisitioned their Montejo location. To get to this place, you might have to ask a local for directions. If you are asking, mention Planet Bol (as in Bowling Planet) and you will be in the right area; the mini-plaza is just a few steps from that treeless monstrosity of a building.

The food at Vibora is surprisingly different, in a good way. There are tacos, tostadas, ceviches, cocktails, pastas, empanadas and all kinds of main dishes featuring octopus, calamar aka squid, fish, shrimp and even oysters. What makes this place different is the way all these fishy items are prepared. There is, for example a tostada covered in marlin/chipotle fishy concoction that is quite tasty, as is the order of shrimp a la diabla; fresh shrimp cooked in a lightly spiced sauce and served in tacos.

The Critic tried several dishes, and the prices are reasonable. Service is friendly. After you are seated, the waiter brings each member of the party a small sherry glass filled with something hot. This is on the house and turns out to be very good shrimp/seafood broth. A hot appetizer in a glass! Nice touch.

There are a couple of things the Critic noticed that, corrected, would elevate the restaurant to top-notch status. The tortillas are machine made or store bought or whatever and their lackluster quality and brittle consistency severely detract from the delicious creations tucked inside. The salsa, to this Critic, is not as good as it could be. It is a pickled tomato salsa, and the pickling gave the Critic the impression of being stale and on a second visit, slightly ‘off’. A fresh salsa would be better ITCHO (In The Critic’s Humble Opinion). If you order a Bloody Mary, or a tomato or clamato juice preparado (all the makings of the Bloody Mary without the liquor) you will notice that the celery stick has been past it’s prime for weeks and is a wrinkled, brown-edged and completely unappetizing intrusion in the drink.

This place is worth a visit just because it is new and they are trying hard to create a good impression.

El Principe Tutul Xiu – Mani, Yucatan

The other day the Critic had lunch at the Principe Tutul Xiu restaurant in Mani, previously reviewed favorably on several occasions and one of the Critics’ favorites.

While the food on this occasion was very good, especially the Poc Chuc, there were a few details that hinted at a bit of complacency on the part of the Xius.

For example, when you arrive, no one greets you and should you ask, the girl behind the counter at the cash area will simply say ‘sit wherever you want’. Not particularly welcoming. The tortillas, object of endless raves by this reviewer, are brought to your table in a basket uncovered and by the time you get to the last one, they are cold. If they want to keep their reputation, what with all the competition out there in the restaurant world, they are going to have to stay on their toes.

Other than that, the food is quite good. Service is just average. Prices? Cheap. There were four people in the Critic’s party, four dishes were ordered and a pitcher of fresh squeezed OJ. The bill was $370 (pesos) before tip. At todays exchange rate, that’s just over 20 USD for 4 people. Quite reasonable, no?

After stuffing yourself, you can then stroll over to the monastery and check out the renovations going on that will leave the building quite spectacular.

A Fresh Take on the Drug War

I had a crazy, out-of-the-box idea today while having lunch with my better half. We were discussing the perception potential tourists have of Mexico given the increase in violence along the border.

Since the drug business is based on the premise of overwhelming and incessant demand by a large percentage of the citizenry of the Somewhat United States of America, who WANT to get high and continue to delude themselves that they live in a democracy, why fight the drug business at all? Isn’t the idea behind the term democracy – so often touted as motivation behind screwing with other people’s freely elected governments and invading nations – being ‘rule by the people, for the people’? Well wake up, leaders of the world’s most hypocritical democracy – THE PEOPLE WANT THEIR DRUGS!!

Why does this country have to play the part of the US’s Mexican housekeeper or nanny? This is a third world country that has to do the dirty work for it’s neighbor in exchange for what?

As Tony Garza Jr., former U.S. ambassador to Mexico put it:

Mexico would not be the center of cartel activity or experience this level of violence were the United States not the largest consumer of illicit drugs and the main supplier of weapons to the cartels. We have a responsibility to fight this war together, or we fail together. (link)

Is it really necessary for Mexicans to be shooting each other because the bloated drug addict up north can’t get his act together? I mean really, what is the incentive? Keep fighting the drug cartels with all the spillover violence just so Mexico can get a condescending pat on the head from the US?

The admittedly crazy idea, is to sit down with the leaders of the drug cartels and offer them the de-criminalization of the whole drug business in exchange for them stopping the violence in Mexico, stopping distribution of drugs in the country and paying off any outstanding debt to the U.S.

If the U.S.A. want to wage a war on drugs, let them wage it on their turf. With their soldiers and their collateral damage. Or, and here’s a novel idea, take a look at the real problem: the depressed, deluded society they have created that cannot stand to look itself in the mirror and demands the drugs in the first place.

OK. I told you it was kind of out-of-the box idea.