Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Things that outsiders should know

Laredo is both a vast swampland of nothing as well as a treasure chest of everything you will ever need. Gone are the days, for good or for bad, of the Laredo as a dusty one-horse town, a convenient rest stop for people on their way to grand places like Houston and San Antonio. Now, Laredo is its the destination with events, attractions and endless charms that place it smack dab in the middle of a true international market.

Still, Laredo isn't for everyone. Outsiders have to comprehend that there exits invisible yet powerful traditions that will not disappear, cannot be replaced and are pretty much indestructible. These traditions are not meant to bog one down, but instead they are for one's nourishment, aid, and the fulfillment of our border destiny.

Family is key in Laredo. Without our familia, and by that we mean our extended family, Laredo collapses on itself like a borrachito staggering outside of La Frontera Bar. Outsiders must understand that our family is at the very core, the nucleus of everything Laredo represents. We follow traditions because we love our family, we respect our past, we desire to continue that which for centuries and generations has helped our forefathers thrive in this dry and desolate land of nothing, this desert-like utopia where the sun is eternally smiling.

Outsiders should know there is a reason why we speak so much Spanish and why we intermingle and dabble in Spanglish. As a clash of two cultures, two worlds coming together in a linguistic explosion, it is only natural that we would represent the best of those contradictory cultures. Outsiders should understand that Spanish has been spoken in this part of the country for decades before English was introduced. It is not unpatriotic, un-American, undignified or uneducated to speak Spanish (or Spanglish) in everyday conversations, rather its a matter of fact what Laredenses have been doing for centuries. Outsiders should expect to be greeted in Spanish at stores around town. If they talk to a store clerk in English, 80% of the time that clerk will respond in Spanish. It's just the way things are in Laredo and outsiders shouldn't try to change it. Accept it and move on.

Outsiders should know that they need to embrace the sun. There is no winter in this part of the world. We have summer and two months of Spring. Laredo is a scaldingly-hot city. There is no use in complaining about it. Get used to it.

We are never on time for anything in this city. In fact, being on time is just rude. Outsiders need to pick up rather quick on that one. If the party starts at 7pm, show up at 8pm. If you show up at seven, people will be upset at you for being 'early'.

One last thing that outsiders should know is about food. Laredo takes its food very seriously. We don't eat donuts and coffee for breakfast. If anything its going to be pan dulce but more likely be mariachis. And when we say mariachis dont expect a guy in a charro suit blowing on a trumpet. Hungry outsiders will learn that faster than they can say, “Los Mariachis de mi Abuela ”. We take our breakfast tacos very seriously in Laredo. Taco Palenque, TacoTote, and Stripes aren't restaurants and stores but rather places of worship that should be revered. Outsiders shouldn't come down here talking about high cholestoral and counting calories. If they can't eat two mariachis de papa con huevo at one sitting, then they need to get out of town immediately. They need to go back to Austin and take their stinking green tea with them!

(Feel free to leave your comments and disagree with me. Shout out to Double Shots for the idea about the post. Also, forgive me for the misspelled words. Ouch!)


BT Blues said...

I can't disagree.

Well written camarada.

Edie said...

Excellent, I couldn't agree more! The sad thing is, I think the people that complain most are those that are native Laredoans and don't want to be here. The best part about it? They always come back because there is absolutely no place like our beloved Laredo.

Anonymous said...

We'll make them go back to their sweet leaf tea and taco cabana!

Laredo, TX Video Stores (VHS Rentals)

Not too long ago, before Netflixing and chill became common place, you had to run down to the ol' video store to get your movie night fi...