I looked in our fridge the other day and saw an unmarked bottle of hot sauce. This reminded me of a funny story that I had to tell you.
It was in January, the day before we crossed the border back into Arizona from Mexico. It was a long driving day in the motorhome and we wanted to pull over for lunch. Around 1:00pm I spotted a bit of a parking area just near the entrance to a town, and we pulled in for a break.
As we're sitting there, a guy pulls up on an ATV. He's got a young boy with him, and on the back of the ATV there's a big white bag. He pulls up beside the motorhome. And just sits there.
Hmm. Ruth and I are looking at each other thinking this is kind of strange. Finally, curiosity gets the better of me and I go outside. I say hello to the guy and we start a bit of small talk. Of course this is all done in my broken Spanish.
All of a sudden, the guy gets all excited and asks if I want to buy some peppers. I didn't quite understand what he was asking at first, so he opens the big white bag. It was full of tiny peppers, smaller than the size of a cherry. I politely decline, but he's insistent that I should buy this huge bag of peppers.
It took a lot of repetition, but eventually I understand what he's telling me. He says that they're worth a lot of money because they're so potent. But I explain that we don't need a huge bag of peppers!
Then, he says his wife makes hot pepper sauce. He simply called it salsa. Well, there are many different kinds of salsa in Mexico. Did I want to buy some salsa? Okay, I said that I would be interested in a bottle of salsa.
He takes off on his ATV and comes back about five minutes later. He brought me six big jars! And this stuff isn't normal salsa made with chunks of tomato. It's hot sauce...like tabasco sauce.
He tells me to taste it, but warns that it's "muy picante"...very spicy!
I ask Ruth for a spoon, and he pours a few drops on it.
Yikes! This stuff is like rocket fuel! Tabasco sauce is nothing compared to this stuff.
What would I do with six big jars of this stuff?? He tells me that I could sell it and make a profit! Then, he asks for 500 pesos ($40 or so) for all six jars.
I ask him how much for just one jar, and eventually we agree on 120 pesos ($9.60). I probably overpaid, but this jar will likely last us 10 years or more.
Big jar of spice.
It only takes a few drops of this stuff to change the flavor of a dish.
We make the deal and shake hands and say goodbye. I close the motorhome door...and the guy and his son just sit there.
We couldn't figure it out.
Eventually, a bus pulls up! He talks to the driver, and the driver opens the cargo hatch and the two of them stuff this huge white bag of peppers into the hold. We couldn't figure out why the guy was hanging around, but apparently he has the bus take his bags of peppers on to the next town where they are likely sold at a market.
Just another day in Mexico.
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