Joy and our friend Madelene both commented on the disappearance of the once-ubiquitous fresh juice bars since their earliest trips to Mexico, and we fear juice’s place in the diet is being filled by refrescos, soda. I was depressed by the little dock restaurants in a tiny town we went to in Michoacan, all of which had virtually identical, factory-made signs declaring that you could buy Pepsi there (no Coke.  Pepsi owned that region) plus a few, typical foods; the one where we had lunch had no bebidas except refrescos and bottled water.  In San Miguel, there doesn’t seem to be a single restaurant that doesn’t serve fresh-squeezed limonada, and it seemed like cultural impoverishment to replace that with mass-produced sugar water.

I hope the stands make a comeback.  While there are only a couple in San Miguel, the produce tienda around the corner from our house sells fresh-squeezed orange, grapefruit, and carrot juice every morning.  (They’ve generally sold out by 1.)  One of the family works away at an electric juicer all morning, filling a cardboard box with citrus and carrot peels and three enormous pitchers with juice.  They pour it out into a smaller, marked pitcher to measure a liter or half-liter (12 pesos at the moment–$1 US), and pour it into a cup or, for a peso or two less, a bag for you.  Joy says in the ’80s when she visited Nicaragua, where things like disposable straws were an unaffordable luxury, people bought juice en bolsa and just snipped a hole in a bottom corner to drink it.  Here in middle-class San Miguel, they put a straw in before tying the top of the bag, and I walk down the street feeling, if not looking, like a local.

(#10 of 20 things I’ll miss about San Miguel)

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