I enjoy listening to them, especially at the beginning, when sentences are still carefully built and every sip widen. “It just takes repetition; the same words over and over again”. They all nod, slightly perplexed at finding those foreign sounds bubbling in my Mexican mouth. I don’t explain any further, though it’s easier to deal with English here at the palenque than anywhere else.
Sometimes is just better to play monolingual, allowing for the charisma of a translator and the mishaps of extravagant interpretations. How long for agave to grow? Tobala or madrecuishe? Clay or copper? Chicken or guajolote breast? Young or glass aged? Finally, context full, they stop looking outside and stare at each other. I, now unnoticed, fill their glasses and wait: “velvety, cooked mash, dirty martini, rubber, prune, tobacco, flan, calamasi, heavily peated, acetone, oolong, nutmeg.” How can we, standing on these parallel landscapes, be so distant? How has our tongues´ touch been so preciselly dislocated?
What they relish, I think, is to finally make sense out of difference. Like if suddenly their innate dancing could happily engage with our music; imported bodies finally at ease. With some, who keep on coming back year after year, I’m open to trueques. “One of my bottles for one of yours, but a good one”. Perhaps we'll find landscapes to share.