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“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
Ibn Battuta [a Moroccan Explorer known for his wide travels, covering 75,000 miles between 1325 -1352]
It feels good to be home after a whirlwind trip to Mexico City for my friend Max's bachelor party this past weekend. I took a lot away from the trip, so I feel compelled to share some of the highlights. Scroll down if you're here for the agency stuff.
We had dinner at Pujol, a restaurant that's gained international recognition, where I learned that it's possible to cook mole, a staple of Mexican cuisine, for 2000+ days.
We took a traditional Mexican cooking class where I learned that I add too much garlic and onion to my guacamole. Joking aside, I could write an essay on everything we experienced in this 4-hour course. I also learned that moldy corn is a Mexican delicacy. It's delicious. Based on my research, it dates back to the Aztecs, who discovered its capability when dealing with a bad crop. Due to its seasonality, some call it Mexican truffle. Among Mexican culture, it is a prized ingredient for many dishes.
We went to see a Lucha Libre match where I learned that it is the most popular sport after soccer in Mexico. Everyone from children to adults to grandparents filled the stadium seats.
I also learned there's a Lucha Libre event every year called Homenaje a Dos Leyendas (or "Homage to Two Legends") that ends with a Lucha de Apuestas (or "bet match") where wrestlers wager their mask or hair. Yes, hair. The wrestler who loses is unmasked forever and has to share their real identity, or their head gets shaved (if they have no mask). Atlantis, a 59-year-old wrestler who debuted in 1983, fought on the night we went. He's competed in 15 of 20 homage events and still has his mask. I had fun seeing the crowd go wild when Atlantis stepped into the ring.
We took a mezcal cocktail class where I learned how to experience a glass of mezcal using all five senses. Mescal is oven-cooked from agave, so if you get a good bottle (they say 45 proof minimum is good), the mescal will be full of essential oils. When you rub a drip on your hand, the alcohol will slowly dissipate while the fragrance of the essential oils will emerge. Pretty cool.
Stephane, a local guide (through Airbnb experiences), took us to a couple of his favorite spots before Lucha Libre. One was an incredible hole-in-the wall joint run by an ex-Pujol chef. On our walk to Stephane's next pick, I learned that Mexico City has an earthquake nearly every day. According to him, there was a ~5.2 earthquake the night before. No worries, though — there are sirens in the street that give you 40 seconds notice if there's a 6+ one coming!
I'm grateful to have been able to take the long weekend in Mexico City and all the activities we did together there. Of the nine other guys, I met two of them through Barrel. Three if you include Max. I've become close with these guys over the years and am grateful for our friendship. It's cool to think of the impact Barrel has had on my life in more ways than one and that without it, I wouldn't have made these lifelong friends.
Speaking of Barrel, here are some other topics on my mind:
Where might a "request for information" help improve my team's performance?