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A Stroll Through Mercado de Mariscos

by Johann Jennings

After three nights of debauchery, I had firmly decided to stay put in my hotel room for atleast one day and one night doing nothing but drinking water, sleeping and maybe eating whatever they have available for room service. The events of Thursday nights were already pushing themselves to the recesses of my mind, those of Friday’s were nothing but a handful of blurry recollections, and that of last night I had absolutely no memory of.

Finally, it has dawned upon me that I’ve had enough of Baja’s famous nightlife and a little break from the nightclubs, cantinas, dancing and bikini-clad women (although this especially made me have second thoughts) was necessary if I wanted to have enough energy left to enjoy what was left of my vacation. I wanted to sleep away the morning and my hangover inside my cool conditioned hotel room and then to wake up at around 1 or 2pm and raid the buffet table downstairs. But for some sick and unexplainable reason, I woke up at 4am to go to the bathroom and couldn’t get back to sleep when I climb back into bed. My head was pulsing and throbbing like crazy, so I took two pain relievers and a jug of water with me and stationed myself in front of the TV where i planned to nurse my headache while waiting for sleep to come.

Mark, my former college buddy and present tour guide of sorts in Baja, I thought was probably still sleeping off his hangover in his apartment so I was surprised to find him calling me just a few minutes after I sat on the couch. Breakfast was the reason for his call, he said. A big, delicious, fresh, energy-giving, hang-over cure of a breakfast which he thought we desperately needed. I really thought what I needed was a long deep sleep or a surgery to remove my throbbing brain but seeing as I can’t have both, I said yes and told him to meet me at the hotel lobby in 20 minutes.

After a quick shower which barely refreshed me since I could still smell alcohol seeping through my pores when I stepped out of my bath, I threw on whatever clothes I could lay my hands on that weren’t too crumpled and headed downstairs. He was already there although only 15 minutes have passed since we hanged up the phone which made me wonder if he called me from the lobby and was waiting for me the whole time. Mark suggested we walk to the Mercado de Mariscos or the Ensenada Fish Market and get breakfast there. I have heard of the Ensenada Seafood Market but it was clearly not part of my vacation plans since it didn’t seem like a place to get booze and meet girls. But since I had nowhere better to suggest but the empty hotel restaurant, I went along with him although I was definitely not in the mood for a morning walk.

Surprisingly, the walk was refreshing. I was expecting a humid morning, a sort of prelude to the scorching afternoon that would inevitably follow but I was wrong. The air seemed pure and fresh, and a whiff of salty air drifting from the harbor had this inexplicable power to clear the mind and perk up the senses. We passed by stall upon stall selling fishes of all sizes and shapes, crabs, lobsters, squids, jumbo shrimps and seaweeds. Although it was still quite early, there were already a lot of people bustling about and haggling for stuff to bring home and cook. Although it was an energetic and vibrant scene, the noise was not doing wonders for my hangover so we sat down on a food stall a little away from most of the noise.

And he was right. A big, delicious breakfast was all that I need to regain a little of my energy, good sense (although this I really did not have much of to begin with), and humorous disposition. We ate tortillas, some sort of thick, chunky salsa, tacos de pascado (which is fish tacos), fish and crab omelette, camarones and garlic rice. I also finished two cups of strong coffee and downed lots of water since I asked for too much tamales on my fish tacos. By late morning, I was really really full and it felt like my stomach was stretched to proportions it never reached before. We took a second, more relaxed stroll along the market after breakfast and I even bought a couple of food stuff which I planned to devour later in the day. I then went back to my hotel and instantly fell asleep the moment my head touched the pillows.

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