My chair rocks and swings as the Sunday morning coolness contrasts with the hot cup of coffee I hold.
Yesterday, I got a sense of what it will be like to live here in Bisbee, AZ. After a week of unpacking, organizing, and painting, I dedicated yesterday to exploration and the enjoyment of my new environs.
There are two outdoor Saturday markets here in Bisbee, (local politics) one of which is very near my new home. I started there. At first dismayed, not seeing any vendors advertising organic produce, I became much more encouraged as I began talking to a few of them. Turns out that the apple grower is growing organically, and has been for over 20 years, but since scaling down production from a large family orchard, finds it too expensive to maintain the “official” organic certification. The lady of the household offers fresh-baked pies with organic fruit and non-GMO flour. I had to obtain a small peach pie!
The pepper lady had an amazing variety of peppers for sale from mild to ghost, and again, grew organically but didn’t feel comfortable advertising the fact because as a very small producer, did not have the certification. The Thai (birdseye) chilies I got from her will become a savory Prik Nam Pla later today.
Moving on to the Warren venue (Warren is a bedroom community to Bisbee, still having a Bisbee address but a distinct community) I found a similar situation and enjoyed a large portion of the pound of Lion’s Mane mushrooms I purchased there, sauteed in butter, for dinner last night…
After the outdoor markets, my friend Ben suggested that I pick him up and we’d segue to his former neighbor’s new coffee venue, just off of the main drag in Old Bisbee. Friendly banter resulted in new friends in the owners of Kafka Coffee House. I wanted to see the local airport, so Ben accompanied me on the 8.2-mile trek where I met the airplane I hope to be flying soon. No one was on site, so I had to be satisfied with walking around the plane for the time being. I had previously spoken to the owner of the flight school there so was pretty sure I had the right aircraft. Departing the airport, we took the “other” way around, a 7.5-mile ride to my house to get my passport. Ben and I had decided to walk across the border at Naco, only about 4 miles from my house. I was interested in a coffee house I had read about on-line, and I also wanted to scout the area for one of the best-kept secrets of the Sonoran Desert…Bacanora! I’ll leave you to research what it is exactly, but some describe it as the missing link between Tequila and Mezcal.
The border crossing at Naco is about as casual as it could possibly be. You don’t have to talk to anyone upon entering Mexico, they just wave you on if you try. The coffee shop, Cafiuta, very much lived up to the expectations I had after reading a review of the place in the Herald/Review, a Cochise county periodical. Ben knows everybody in Bisbee and sure enough a group of people he knew was already at the coffee shop! With homes in Bisbee and Chiang Mai, Thailand, the couple provided very interesting conversation. Coffee and delightful, locally made, Pineapple Upside Down cake consumed, we moseyed as a group back to the border.
One of the group suggested that the small tienda ahead had liquor so I popped in for a look-see. Perusing the alcohol selection on the shelves was unproductive in my quest for Bacanora so I asked a fellow behind a computer about it. I followed him back to the liquor shelves where he had the same outcome as I had. Tossing me aside, he blurted that I might ask the guy checking at the counter. I waited for the new guy to check out his customer and mentioned that I was interested in buying a bottle of Bacanora if he knew where I could find it. “Un litre?”, he asked?
“Sí!” I replied.
So, the guy trundles up a rickety stairs and moments later returns, producing an unmarked bottle of clear liquid…
I knew this was the stuff, I could feel it in my bones. I gladly started to pay the US$32 he was asking but had only $31 in small bills. When I offered up another $20 bill, they guy waved me off saying that the $31 was fine. As I said my thanks and turned to leave…”Espera!” (Wait!) My curious expression turned into a broad grin as the fellow sacked a large container of his home-made salsa for me to take…free. I am particularly (but humbly) proud to say that this entire transaction took place in Spanish, free from any “what did you say?” moments. I like to think that’s why I got the salsa! :)
Returning to the US was nearly as easy as entering Mexico at this crossing. The single agent, a friendly lady who had grown up nearby, took our pictures, looked at our passports and then waved us through with an “Enjoy your Bacanora!” verbalization and grin.
By then it is a little after 3pm and Ben’s friends at Kafka had said that there was a good band playing at the Grand starting about that time. Naturally, we went to investigate. Juniper Djinn’s music is described by Carolyn Marsh, former editor at Esquire and New York Magazine as…”The intimate bluesy sounds of the great 20s and 30s jazz era come to new life…combining the moods of such classic artists as Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, Bessie Johnson and Bo Carter spiced with melodious waltzes and folk songs from the Middle East.” Well now, that was a fun, no cover charge, coupla beers worth of afternoon well-spent!
Since the dogs are more comfortable in my airconditioned house, they had been left alone, off and on, for most of the day so during a break between sets, I came back to my place to my dinner of mushrooms, asparagus, organic chips, and good Mexican salsa. Oh yeah, I did have one shot of that lovely Bacanora. Peach pie for desert and a good night’s sleep leading to coffee in my hanging chair. Full circle story, full life!