The first thing you’ll notice about Tecate is the thick wheat smell in the air, which is pungent at first but becomes almost agreeable over time. The huge Tecate brewery is located right in the center of town, and if the winds are blowing, the smell of beer being made is blowing, too.
The second thing you’ll notice about Tecate is the park. Located smack dab in the middle of the town center, what’s amazing and mystifying about this park, at least to us gringos, is the fact that it’s actually used by the townsfolk. The idea of a plaza is native to Latin America and the public life and interaction that goes on in this place in unparalleled to anything I’ve ever seen in small towns in the U.S.
During the day, young and old sit on the park benches reading, playing chess, listening to mariachi, drinking beer and letting their kids play tag and chase the pigeons. At night, karaoke takes over as couples dance around the gazebo to the sounds of their neighbors voices.
My BF and I went to Tecate this Saturday with a somewhat absurd task in mind — we were going to find Daniel Reveles, the writer who lives in Tecate and gets most of the inspiration for his short stories from his neighbors and friends. We started by asking some of the old men in the park, and it didn’t take long before we were pointed in the direction of Bar Diana, one of Reveles favorite haunts.
We headed inside, ordered two Bohemias and, after just a few sips, my BF recognized one of his old literature professors from Grossmont College in San Diego. The professor and his two fellow coworkers were at Diana’s trying to find Reveles, too. They had the new Murakami book and they wanted to give it to Reveles.
The bartender at Diana’s was nice enough to call the old writer at his home in Tecate Ranch, about a three or four minute drive from the bar. I talked to Reveles and he told us he’d meet us in a few hours.
About four beers and one shot of tequila later, the man was there telling us stories about how he gets his stories, sipping fine tequila (his “life potion” as he called it) and greeting nearly everyone who walked into the bar. The man is a living legend, and although I’ve yet to read any of his books, I already know I’ll likely love ’em.
Here are some photos of our beautiful day in Tecate: