20 May 2008


We have a new word in our family's lexicon since returning from our recent sojourn. It tickles me and takes me back to our vacation in a second, like a new mnemonic for Mexico.

During the brief wait for our airport bus to leave Playa del Carmen, ending ten days of beach and sun and sightseeing in just the right mix, we madly shopped for street food (2 tacos, uno de relleno y uno de puerco; torta de cochinita, todos con una salsa de cebollas -- mmmm) and the requisite bottles of coumarin-free Mexican vainilla in the Bazaar de Dreck across the street. I bought a few packages of junk food from the snack-stand clerk in the bus station: corn chips in a Mexican brand (tasty) and a purple package containing a pair of those leaf-pastry-and-sugar cookies (rancid -- bad) (I know them in more bakeries as palmiers, or pig's ears). Last I asked for the "iSponch!" cookies, four to a package, each heaped with marshmallow and a dot of pink flavor. They looked like perfect snackage and entertainment for our kid on her trip home.

The clerk gave a little laugh as she handed me the package, a eyebrow-lifted haven't-heard-that-one-before smile, given with a nod. Only the next day when we looked at the package did my family and friends clue me in about the gringa loca I had really been, having read the initial character as an i instead of as the intended Hispanic inverted bang.

Now we say iSponch! (with the i making an ee sound, not the eye sound as in iPod) or iAnything-you-want-to-end-with-an-exclamation-point! We giggle, thinking of white sand and blue water and all the rest that went with it. (And I can't help being amused that there is a tie to another of my favorite words from our travels: malvavisco, which I always internally hear shouted in the booming voice of an arena announcer for some inexplicable reason -- maybe I need to invent a baseball player or some macho guy in one of my stories and name him Malvavisco].)

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