Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sabor y Cultura en Durham, NC

Just got back from Durham, NC and surrounding towns, where I took my daughter (and her two brothers) on college visits to Duke, UNC, Wake Forest and Elon.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity I saw in Durham. It was my first time in North Carolina, and I couldn't believe how much Spanish I heard being spoken. There was also a nice selection of libros en español at the Barnes & Noble I went to, and I was even able to get a copy of Laura Esquivel's new book, Malinche, which I had been wanting to get.

I also had the pleasure of meeting my blog friend, Nayeli, a doctoral student in film and literature at Duke, who is from Mexico City and writes a blog called Native Stranger that I serendipitously found one day and loved. We ate at Super Taquería, the most authentic Mexican restaurant I've ever eaten at in the United States, complete with huge glass barrels of aguas frescas, including tamarindo, jamaica, horchata ... ¡riquísimas!

Picture of aguas frescas (not at Super Taquería, but this is exactly what they looked like!)

Nayeli noted that the Mexican population in Durham has grown 500% in the last five years. It was like seeing Hector Tobar's "Translation Nation" in action. Even the tiniest little towns that we drove through (like Elon) have at least two Mexican restaurants on their main strip, and they look real (not Taco Bell-type).

After our dinner, we went to Duke to watch the 2005 Oscar-nominated shorts. And that's where we saw Nacho Vigalondo's 7:35 de la mañana. I can't explain why I loved this so much, but it is just incredible. To see what I'm talking about, go here. And watch it twice (it's quite a different viewing the second time around!).

Scene from 7:35 de la mañana

Who knew a visit to Durham, NC would be full of Spanish language, literature and film? Definitely a pleasant surprise for me, and another sign of how our country is being enriched more and more by Latino cultures all around.

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