Dangerous Compassions

tamale fest

Hey, guess what?  We went to a tamale fest.  We did great!  Brilliantly, we went right when it opened.  There was no overwhelming crowd yet.  Thank you to Ming for that intention and follow through, helping us show up right there at the start.

tamale fest

There was food, mariachis, and stuff to buy.  I bought this cool handwoven bag with red birds, made in the style of a certain village.  It was fun to talk to an intense Mexican guy about weaving, family traditions, and his mom.

“Did you make these?” I asked him.

“No,” he said.  “My mom.”

“Wow!  What is the material?”

“Uhh…” he said.

“Is it synthetic?”

“No, it’s a plant.  They call is cristil.  I can’t think of the word.  It’s… algodon.”

“Oh!  Cotton!”  I was surprised.  The weave is very tight.  “Did she use a loom?” I asked.

“She uses wood!” he said.  I was intrigued.  He told me his sisters wouldn’t weave–they said it was worthless.  But he wants to learn.

tamale fest


The tamales we ate were amazing.  This place called Me Gusta tamales, no lard in the masa.  Unfortunately, I was just googling them, and it looks like they’re in LA.  Oops.  My dream of eating more of those amazing cheese and green chile tamales is dashed.  They were extra large, which was nice.

tamale fest

Ming liked the cheese and green chile best, but he also tried corn and pineapple.  I tried a bite of the corn–it was like an amazing decadent extra wet cornbread, so steamy, moist, and magically good.  The pineapple was orange and smelled strongly.  I didn’t try it.

tamales fest


I grew up with tamales at Christmastime as a family thing–we made them together, with lots of prep work from my aunt.  She froze them for two weeks, and then we ate them on Christmas together.  We made multiple kinds, in huge tamale pots.  My aunt made vegetarian ones for me, so kind.

Ming didn’t have tamales as a family thing, so the nostalgia is not there.  But he loves them with an amazing joy anyway.  His enthusiasm makes up for the lack of history!

walk beforehand

We went for a walk beforehand.  We parked in lawyer land and walked past the federal building to the fest so we wouldn’t have to pay for parking.  Needed a walk anyway–we saw some cool stuff including a restaurant long closed with lots of trash and gorgeous tatteredness.


Isn’t this beautiful?

I asked Ming, “Does it feel like post-apocalyptic dystopia, for you?”

He said yes.

“Apocalyptic, or post-apocalyptic?” I asked.

“Post-apocalyptic,” he said.


I adore this x wall–x is my favorite letter.

x wall

Here’s a street art I saw, stuck to a utility box–nice!  Colorful.  With googly eyes.

street art

There’s a mural, and we wonder what the words say.  Ming used his google translate but couldn’t get a good translation.  We guessed about what language.  “It’s not Hebrew,” he said.

street art


Amazing we could do this tamale fest, normal person stuff, and live to tell the tale.  Almost every day, I’m a home person.  It’s a disabled thing.  I want to do fun out stuff, but I don’t want to get overwhelmed and pay too big a price, days of recovery.

But we did great.  We left after only an hour or so, and I was tired afterward but ok.

I also bought Ming a special Oaxacan chocolate cookie.  And Ming got two more delicious tamales to go.  We spent more money than I expected, but it’s ok, a tamale fest rarity.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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