I can’t believe I did that. As I sit in the lobby bar anxiously awaiting the Steelers game, I whipped out my laptop to write my next entry for the “Chronicles of a Mexican Legend” story. At this moment I realized a glaring omission from my last chapter. In fact, it would be impossible to detail the events of the following day without this very important detail. So let us return to my day of Discovery…

Day Two, Discovery – Errata.

El Presidente features two restaurants: Las Frutas y Floras, and Alfredo di Roma. Up until this point I had avoided Alfredo as it was the more expensive of the two, but today was a day for celebration! Now I’m not a gambling man, in fact I might just be the worst person to ever attempt to gamble as I ignore the basic facets of success in the game. I think my biggest problem is that I don’t know how to walk away when I’m up. Like Frederick Jung told his son George, “Sometimes you’re flush and sometimes you’re bust, and when you’re up, it’s never as good as it seems, and when you’re down, you never think you’ll be up again, but life goes on”. Powerful, I know.

So I took a gamble and headed into Alfredo’s, hoping that I would hit jackpot twice in one day. The first thing that I noticed when I sat down was the three-picture frame hanging next to me (I’m not sure if it was hung using Scotch tape or not, but it was on marble…). This piece featured three Presidents of the United States, each sitting at a table with a stereotypical Italian chef next to them: mustachioed, portly, and smiling ear to ear while holding a gigantic portion of Fettuccine Alfredo aloft in the air on a pasta spoon. Apparently, the three Italian gentlemen were successive generations of the Alfredo family, the presidents were John F. Kennedy, a young Jimmy Carter, and the venerable George H.W. Bush. Apparently from what I could make out of the signage around me, this particular Alfredo family was the original inventor of the famous dish (Fettuccine Alfredo).

So as I sat admiring the try something as exotic as the Shrimp and Scallop Risotto. As I sat awaiting my food I was delighted by the spread of different breads that was displayed before me by my waiter. First there very long, skinny crunchy sticks that tasted like an herb-infused crouton. I was delighted by the hint of saltiness that these sticks featured, as it complemented my Margarita perfectly. Next I investigated the contents of a covered basket to see what treasures I would find within. My first pick was a cinnamon-sweet bread, with a fat slice of Italian Sausage nestled in the middle. This was by far, the most impressive piece of bread I had ever tasted. Upon my first bite, my tongue was tingling with the taste of cinnamon and sugar, which took me back to my days as a child, when my Mother would make me Cinnamon-Sugar toast on the days that I stayed home from school with a tummy ache. Almost immediately the sweetness was overtaken by the spices and oils of the sausage, which was a splendid sensation that could only be properly enjoyed with eyes closed. The most fantastic part of this journey into bread land was after each bite was swallowed, the taste of sugary sweetness remained, if not only to inspire the next bite. The remaining selection of bread was pitifully bland compared to the explosion of flavor that I discovered on my first pick, so I will spare the details of boredom.

My Risotto finally emerged from the chef’s den and was placed in front of me. Now being as that I have never tried Risotto before I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I laid my eyes upon was a soupy bowl of rice and scallops, with a single piece of shrimp sticking out, tail-end up in the middle of the dish. Whether Risotto is meant to be as soupy as it was, I am not sure; however in retrospect I don’t believe that this particular dish should have had such a consistency. Regardless, in my ignorance I proceeded to taste the dish. There was ground basil sprinkled among the rice, and the scallops were plentiful. Every bite tasted of salty shrimp, and the warm creamy taste was comforting like a fireplace on a cold winter’s night. I would be a liar if I said that I did not thoroughly enjoy every bite, yet for some reason I was unenthusiastic about finishing every last bite. The portion was not large, in fact the waiter was surprised when I did not want anything aside from this one item; yet still, I could not bring myself to clean my bowl. As I sat staring at the remainder of my dish my stomach felt full, yet a tinge of hunger remained. Without giving this sensation too much thought I paid my check and headed towards the bar area to witness the celebration of Mexican Independence day.

September 16, 2008. Guadalajara, Mexico. Day Three, Regret.

My eyes shot open. I had to double-check to make sure that the feeling of having a fifty-pound dumbbell on my chest was only in my mind. I glanced around the room. Something was wrong. It was dark, as usual, but something was definitely off. I made the effort to roll across the bed and peer into the haunting red glow of the alarm clock. 3 A.M. My stomach twisted into a knot from the movement. I had the taste of mercury in my mouth. Mercury and shrimp. All I could think about was what the risotto looked like, and what it would look like on the way out. I took deep breaths… yoga breathing, that usually helped. Laying down was painful, and sitting up was even worse. There was no helping it, I was sick. My stomach churned and bubbled. I felt like a meth head was boiling ammonia inside of my torso as my stomach cramped and turned inside out. I immediately regretted my decision to eat a seafood risotto as I paced around the room. I was helpless. After a none-too-pleasurable half hour in the bathroom I attempted to lay down. I might have closed my eyes for ten minutes before being jolted awake by the same feeling. This was the sequel. After the second trilogy was complete I was convinced that I had Montezuma’s Revenge.

I spent the first half of the day wallowing in a cold sweat. What a terrible feeling: to be sick in an unfamiliar place, with nobody to provide comfort, and worst of all in a foreign land. I couldn’t eat, and I could barely sleep. I felt like I had spent the previous day laying in the middle of the highway getting run over by trucks. My breathing was labored, my entire body was full of aches and pains, not to mention how sore my muscles felt. I was exhausted and battered. It is times like this when more than ever I missed the embrace of my love. While every moment apart from her is like an eternity, this was much worse. My only consolation was that today was still a holiday, so I wasn’t missing any work. I was at the very least able to work out of the hotel room in the moments that I wasn’t trying to sleep or being devastatingly sick. But even in those moments, I could not help but think about how sorely I missed my one and only. Her vision comforted my thoughts while I wasn’t reeling in pain, and very well may have been the one thing that gave me the strength to pull through and endure the pain that I was experiencing.

Eventually my stomach settled and I was able to stay away from the bathroom for more than an hour, which was a big bonus. It was approximately 3:00 in the afternoon, at which point I ventured downstairs to eat a salad since I wanted something very light. I was able to stomach this so I knew that I was on the path to recovery. The remainder of the day was spent relaxing on the bed and watching some half-decent movies on Golden. My final act was to mentally prepare for the following day, which would be my first adventure into the unknown realms of IBM Guadalajara.