Force of July

Yesterday marked my one-month anniversary living on the island.

I wasn’t particularly nostalgic for back home, it being the 4th of July and all, however I’ve had a chronic hankering for a decent, all-beef cheeseburger while in Mexico, and the holiday only exacerbated that need. A decent burger is so hard to come by, especially here. Most burger patties I’ve gotten here have been the anomalous pre-made sort, the kind that makes me shudder.

I know, I know. Hamburgers in Mexico? But I eat tacos and tortas and enchiladas all day, and all night. I deserve that hamburger.

However, the need is still unfulfilled. I am searching for THE ONE. (If you know where Mr. Rightburger lives, clue a gringa in.)

I’ve been writing up a storm lately, and yesterday I managed to start five — FIVE! — new poems. I think my ‘Mexico period’, to quote my workshop friends back home, will be especially prolific.

But finally I had to abandon a few drafts — it was time to meet with Tatiana for drinks in Cozumel’s main square. I strapped on my sandals and walked downtown. The best part about walking through the island streets are the smells of the food — especially the little open-air shops that grill whole chickens on a flat bed of charcoal. I am going to investigate this soon and report back.

We ordered tequila shots, beers, and a botana and after some much-needed girl talk, we settled in for a salsa band at Wet Wendy’s. After two shots, I was an American girl attempting to salsa dance! I don’t think I did too bad.

Soon we walked over to Woody’s, where a Gregg Allman lookalike was belting out some originals and of course some covers, too. After “Brown Eyed Girl,” I drunkenly whooped and hollered for “Sweet Home Alabama,” which hit the spot.

The singer (a native of Nevada now living in Playa del Carmen) followed it with “Sweet Caroline,” and the crowd joined in. It was like being back home … in Mexico.

But I think next year I’ll request this song:

Of course the night wouldn’t be complete without 2 a.m. tacos and a little political debate. It was a 4th of July to remember.