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Sunday, June 22, 2008

La Aguila Perdido - Cancholas Bar

Hoy quero decir un cuento de mi visita a el bar Cancholas Bar que paso la ultima Viernes. Otra ves en mi viaje en el calle de Mission no podia hablar con la gente que beber en este establecimiento. El bar tenia mucho ruido porque un gabinete que contiene tocadiscos automáticos juga los discos con el volumen altavoz. No puedo entender la gente por el ruido y el idioma que hablan. Lo de mas to cuento en Ingles porque apenas puedo hacer le en Espanol.

I’ve opened in Spanish because that’s the language I’ve had to use to communicate on my Mission so far. Plus I need the practice before next week’s trip. Communicating was a true exercise in patience this last time because the juke box was playing very loud Spanish music and my neighbors weren’t in the talkative mood. There were about 12-15 people in the place a couple of them playing pool and the rest sitting at the bar, watching TV and drinking away. It was hot on Friday so the general idea was not to move around too much and drink as many cold ones as you could. The heat didn’t help in that it gave you that smelly sensation that you get when you walk into a dive bar that isn’t all that sterile. It wasn’t bad just a little heavier layer of funkiness than you really want to have on a Friday afternoon. The door remained open so the place could get some fresh air.

A few guys were already pretty drunk and seemed like they’d been here for a while. One dude down the bar would sing along and kept yelling AYA-AYA-AYA. He later tries to fight his friend but more on that later.

I grab the last seat available at the bar which happens to be by the door next to the potted plants that sit in the window. The plants strike me as weird for some reason; I can’t quite put my finger on it. The picture shows the open door and the plants on the sill next to the closed door. Anyway, I wave towards the bartender, who, once again, is one of two women in the bar (I’m starting to see a theme here) and it is her friend, who’s hanging out with the singer, that comes over to take my order. I can’t tell if she works here or not but order a Corona anyway. The drink of choice is Miller Light or Corona and you can order them in buckets of 5, gotta love that.

The bar is dark, aside from the light coming in from the open door, with a pool table, bad mural art along one wall, featuring my beloved San Francisco 49ers, and a couple TVs (one on Euro Soccer 2008 the other on the College World Series before the SF Giants game).

The first hour and a half here are pretty slow as I trying striking up conversations with my neighbors who are more interested in staring at their beers, the bartender and nothing at all rather than talking to me. The guys playing pool look pretty good and after 3 bars I’m thinking I have to start practicing my game so I can add that to my repertoire as I visit locations with tables. That’s going to be a great way to meet and interact with more people.

Shift change for bartenders seems to happen right around 7pm as Rosanna comes in for the duration of the night. The other bartender leaves with her friend who has been crying at the bar which seems to be a result of her conversation with a couple of guys who she was speaking with at one of the tables. I’m not sure what’s up but it almost feels like a breakup. Anyway, this girl and her friend the bartender leave with another guy, who I later find out is her brother as earlier in the afternoon was sharpening the bar's knife. I didn’t quite feel safe about that whole situation when he was knife sharpening. A guy drinking at the bar is asked to sharpen the knife that is used to cut the limes. Hmm, drinking, knives, sitting next to the angry singing drunk guy never a good idea. There wasn't much action after an hour and a half but people watching has been great up to this point.

At 7:30pm I’m starting to think that this bar is going to be a bust and my blogging career may be coming to a quick end if I can’t come up with something interesting to talk about and that’s when it happens. The guy, who would bust out with the AYA-AYA-AYAs earlier, clearly drunk, starts to yell loudly in my direction. I can’t tell if he’s directing his anger at me or someone else in my vicinity because it’s loud and I can’t make out what he’s saying. That being said, I wasn’t ready to approach him and ask so I figured this would be a good time to order myself a shot of Casadores Tequila. That’s when one of the singer/yeller's buddies walks over, pats me on the back and apologizes for his friend being drunk. I’m still not sure if he’s calling me out or what the deal is but figure it isn't worth the trouble. As the guy walks back to his friend his friend stands and starts pushing him. Who knows what’s going on I’m just glad I’m not in the middle of this squabble. They’re soon broken up and go back to being friends and drinking.

As this is all happening there’s an older man behind me tossing a coin with a woman (at least I think it was a woman) who just walked in. I think they were seeing who would be next on the pool table and playing heads or tails for it. He won a couple times in a row and is telling her how good he is at heads or tails. I’m fascinated by this, maybe it’s the shot I took but this whole interaction is super interesting. He’s holding his arm out to his side, looking in the opposite direction and doing a “no look coin toss”. WHAT? Seriously a no look toss? I love it. I’m a pretty competitive person and like to bet on anything from who’s going to win the NBA Championships to which strongman on ESPN will win the keg toss (Darrin and I have had many fun nights at the Old Pro betting on this one). I will bet on pretty much anything just give me a reason, some odds and the wager (typically a dollar a bet or a beer). This guy walks up to me and asks me to call it. I refuse saying that I just saw him win 3 tosses in a row and it’s a losing bet, at which point he says “you call it and I’ll toss it” I inspect the coin as does the bartender, Rosanna. The confusing part for me is what do I call? What’s the name for tails? I know heads is cabeza but tails? And with quarters these days, tails can be anything from pictures of trees, buffalo, and drummer man to the original eagle. With help from the bartender, we settle on calling tails, eagle or aguila and bet a beer on the toss. As he flips the coin I yell, “AGUILA!” Cabeza came up winner (thus the title of this entry, "La Aguila Perdido" the Eagle Lost? . I buy him his beer and he trots away rubbing it in my face. This isn’t over my friend. I’ll be back. I will be back…

I haven’t had enough fun yet at Cancholas Bar so in walks the girl who not half an hour ago left crying. The bar had cleared out around 7pm so there were only about 7 of us hanging out at 7:50. I’m wrapping up my last beer as she sits down next to me and strikes up conversation in between tears. Alicia (name has been changed to protect her identity) originally from Honduras has been living in the US the past 5 years, 4 in Virginia and the last in SF. I don’t ask the obvious question just focus on keeping the conversation light, as light as possible considering my vocabulary is quite small at this time of night, after this many beers and in Spanish, Honduran Spanish at that. The bartender keeps hanging around and giving me these looks of “why is she crying” and “it sucks that she’s talking to you right now”. Anyway, after a few minutes I’m ready to leave but feel extremely weird cause this girl is half crying and half asking me questions. I stand up and ready to leave and she buys me a beer. I say no but the bartender was quick to bring it. I can’t be rude so I take it graciously. I don’t waste any time drinking it, saying thanks and getting out of there finishing what was a truly awkward situation.

The last half hour was interesting which shows my why I need to stick to my 6-8pm rule in order to get the full experience. Also, I need to start playing pool at these bars and from here on out, I’m having at least one shot of tequila at every one too.

And for those of you who are interesting, food guy never showed…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Next time you order a shot of tequila, you need to raise your glass and yell "Tonight Tequila, tomorrow we ride" as loud as you can. That's how you make friends and get the action started.