The heat is on

While dining locally, one never knows who they’ll meet. In this case, Nilo, an ex-Olympian sailor.

Stacy and I trekked last night to Las Tortugas, and within minutes Nilo was at our table, proposing marriage and telling us his life story. He participated in two Olympic games for sailing, and has traveled around the world. He even lived on Long Island, and likes to poke fun at people from New Jersey. Don’t we all?

It turns out, Nilo lives across the street from me. He has a boat, naturally, and maybe we’ll sail with him. Maybe.

Stacy and I ordered red snapper. Many Mexicans believe that Americans can’t handle their chiles, so when I ask for hot sauce, they chuckle, then watch me add it to my food and take a bite. “Too spicy? Too spicy?” the waiter asked me.

Just right, I told him. “I can handle my chile,” I boasted.

He disappeared briefly, and returned carrying a habanero pepper on a small plate. It was a challenge.

The waitstaff gathered around, laughing, waiting to see the American girl choke. But I didn’t. I ate the pepper, raw.

Once I was crowned Queen of Las Tortugas, Nilo regaled us with stories of seeing the Rolling Stones live in Winnipeg in 1984. We sang a drunken “Ruby Tuesday” and it couldn’t have been more perfect.

“I can’t believe you ate the chile,” Nilo told me afterward. “You know what chile is another word for here?”