Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Overheard at Booth 1: Downtown Houston Pupusas

So I'm walking to the library downtown today and I see that the Farmer's Market is going on and I've got about six bucks in my pocket so I think ''Why not?  Let's go check out the Farmer's Market."

And I'm walking around and they've got a guitarist and he's not great but hey, I like any street musician, especially in a city where they don't exist, and then I look at the tents and I see one selling pupusas.

And I think "Man I love pupusas I'm gonna get me some!" And so I walk over and they have a sign saying that pupusa plate is $9 - that's 2 pupusas and some salsa.  That's a bit high.   I mean, any pupusaria around the city sells pupusas for a buck, buck fifty - $2 bucks tops for revueltas.  So I ask the girl taking the payment if we can just buy single pupusas ans she says sure - for $8.

I'm like "EIGHT BUCKS! that's $4 each." and I tell her where they can buy pupusas cheaper, and the cook asks, "Where" and I say "any pupuseria in town."   Then I ask where's their store and turns out they don't have one, they're order only.

Then I ask if they have revuelta and the cooks says, "what's revuelta" and I say, "that's everything?" and I'm thinking is this woman EVEN Salvadoran?  I mean she doesn't know what revuelta is, and she tells me she only has frijoles and cheese or pork and cheese.   I mean she's calling it pork and not chicarron, so again I'm thinking is this woman even understanding my Spanish.

So then I decide to see if she's REALLY Salvadoran so I ask if she has one with Loroco.  She responds that Loroco is a specialty item and too expensive to get here.   I don't know if that's bogus or nbot because you can get it at Fiesta and I was about ready to tell her that, but then I just figured she probably means that it would increase the production cost or marginal cost, so I let it go.

So then I asked if they had curtido.  They pointed me to their $9 plate, so I said what the heck just give me the $9 plate.

So I get it and I leave to go back to the library with my hideously overpriced pupusas and then I see all these homeless people hanging out on the edges of the old library building, underneath the shade of the tree, and I'm thinking to myself, "Now how am I going to find a place to sit down and eat these pupusas in front of all these homeless people without being able to share any of it?"

And just as I was thinking that, one guy stretches his hand out to me and says, "Thank you."   That's all he says: "Thank you."  Just like that.  Just like it's already a done deal.  Just like I had bought these overpriced pupusas just for him,

So I said, "Do you like pupusas?"

And he said, "I need food."

That did it for me.  "I need food."  It wasn't even me moving my hand at that point - I was handing him the whole box and I said, "I haven't even touched it, man.  Here you go, enjoy!"

Then I walked on to the library, wondering what the heck just happened.  Then I realized, "Here's what happened - you just chewed out some people who were selling a great food at too high a price and you just gave it to a homeless guy who sits with other homeless people every Wednesday looking across the street at foods they will never be able to afford to eat, soaps they will never be able to afford to buy, and watching people who pretend not to see them at all."

So all in all, I was thinking it was a pretty good day.

Then when I was trying to check some stuff out, the system wouldn't let me, because I had some fines to pay.  That kinda sucked.

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