Friday, June 27, 2008

Politeness of the Mexicans


An Engineer's Experience With It After a Session With Tequila.

"For manifesting a grave and imperturbable courtesy in every circumstance of life give me the Mexican people," said a civil engineer who lived in the southwest. "Here is a case in point. A dozen years ago I was visiting Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora, and falling in with an old engineering comrade one afternoon we drank not a little tequila. Tequila, or mescal, perhaps you know, is a clear white liquor distilled from the century plant and possessing much of the taste and potency of Irish whisky. There was a circus in town, and in the evening Johnson and I went up the street to see it. The performance did not greatly interest us, and we left the show before it was half through and started down the street on our way to the hotel. The tequila we had drunk was still animating us and inspiring a spirit of adventure. As we came opposite the great house of Dr. Monteverde, one of the grandees of Sonora, we saw perched on a stone post at the entrance of the courtyard a white turkey, and here we stopped and fell to guessing at the weight of the bird.

"At last, to settle our difference of opinion, we started in to catch the turkey. It ran into the courtyard, and we followed. Upon the veranda at one side of the courtyard the household were sitting enjoying the evening coolness. At our unceremonious advent they raised not a word of protest, but only laughed as the turkey ran wildly around, with Johnson and me in pursuit. After a long chase we caught the bird, and approaching the group on the veranda tried to inform them that we should like a pair of scales to weigh it with. Neither Johnson nor I had an idea what the Spanish word for scales was, and so we indicated the best we could by signs what we wanted. They showed much interest in the endeavor to catch our meaning, and at last we made ourselves understood.

"Si, senor," said the head of the house, with perfect bonhomie, and calling a servant gave him some directions in Spanish. The servant departed, and presently came back with a pair of scales, which were placed at our disposal. We weighed the turkey, set the bird at liberty, returned the scales with thanks, and declining the courteous invitation of the hospitable hidalgo that we should sit down and have a glass of wine we lifted our hats and went on our way.

"Fancy two strangers invading private premises and going through such a madcap performance anywhere else you have over heard of, and then tell me the Mexicans are not the politest people in the world." — New York Sun.

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