We are hungry after watching the Festival of Light, and in need of a drink, but we don’t want to give the Mayaland Hotel any more of our money, and we doubt that their food would be much better than their rooms. We decide to drive into the small town a couple of miles away and find somewhere for dinner.
There are several local Mexican restaurants on the main street. They all look the same, devoid of any charm or atmosphere with their plastic chairs and tables covered with red and white check plastic table cloths. On top of the tables sit small glass salt cellars containing equal amounts of rice and salt, and capped with a tiny chrome lid that is rusting at the edges. Next to the salt pot there is a flimsy transparent plastic napkin holder containing tiny cheap paper napkins that are totally incapable of absorbing even the smallest spill. On one wall is a faded poster of the beach at Cozumel and on another the ever present television tuned to a football game or a raucous game show.
It is a dismal choice of dining establishments and there is nothing to choose between any of them, particularly as they are all empty. Finally we notice one, set back a little from the street which is packed with locals.
We venture in and manage to grab a table by the window. I use the term window loosely, because there is no glass in the large hole where a window should be, but that really cuts down on cleaning expenses, and affords a nice breeze. It is a cavernous room, with a fairly rough looking bunch of townsfolk crowded round the tables eating and drinking. But they are friendly and several raise their beer bottles in mock salute at the adventurous gringos. It has to be good, we think, and it is. We have an excellent meal with beers for $7 each.
The food may be good in the little restaurant we find in the village outside of Chitchen Itza, but the highlight of the evening is the entertainment in the street.
It starts with a lot of shouting and yelling and it soon becomes apparent that a fight is brewing somewhere out of sight. As the sounds become more threatening, everyone in our restaurant, except us, goes outside and lines the street. Fortunately we have the window table and a good view of the proceedings. Eventually the antagonists appear. There is a group of 6 youths threatening one very large man with nothing on but a pair of jeans. The large man is backing down the street while several of the youths are urging on their biggest member to fight. They stand behind him and push him into the large man who does nothing, but none the less looks very threatening. All the time the youths are yelling “Puto” at the large man, slang for “queer” in Mexico.
Eventually the “Puto” disappears and the youths return to wherever it was they came from. But 5 minutes later the “Puto” returns perched on the back of a scooter wobbling down the road. The scooter is being driven by what is now known in polite circles as a transgender person. She is wearing very tight pedal pushers in a brightly colored Pucci type print, and a low cut T shirt showing off a perfectly shaped and very ample bosom, proving that she has had at least the first part of the transgender process completed.
On her feet are a pair of bright red 6 inch heel slides that would make driving a scooter impossible for most mortals. Her face is badly pockmarked which even the amount of make up she has applied fails to cover. Her lips are huge and heavily painted in red that has apparently been carefully chosen to match her shoes. Her hair is teased to within an inch of its life and dyed blond with occasional black tips. She is mesmerizing, but seems totally out of place in this Mexican backwater of a town. She brings the scooter to a halt outside our restaurant and they both dismount.
The “Puto” is a big man but his woman towers over him. Together they set off looking for the youths that started the trouble. The “Puto” strides down the middle of the street, with his “girlfriend” next to him who walks with amazing femininity in her high heels. But we are in no doubt that the girlfriend will be a match for any of the youths. It is beginning to feel like a scene from “High Noon”. There is considerable shouting in the distance and the atmosphere is taught with tension
At this point we decide it might be time to make a quiet exit and we leave for the calmer environments of the Mayaland Hotel.