We must have passed it a hundred times in the last month and a half. It wasn't until my aunt and uncle came for a visit this past Friday that I learned of its existence. I knew something like that had to exist in a town famous for its fishing. But with everything else we've been doing, finding the fish market, among other things, was something we hadn't quite gotten to. Thankfully, my aunt and uncle saved us from going another day without that knowledge.
The day after my family's visit, I take my husband to introduce him to what will surely become his new favorite place. Right as you drive into the port area of Ensenada, there's a sign for tourist information. before that sign is a small driveway that is at such a slight angle that if you weren't looking for it, you'd pass right by, completely unaware of it, as we had all those times we drove by. From our place further south, there's a left turn lane that looks like it might lead you straight into a wall. Upon entering the small alley way, we come upon several taco stands and some municipal offices. About half way down, there's an older gentleman with a large straw cowboy hat, whistle in mouth, signaling for cars to come in or back up in a tricky ballet that could end poorly were it not for his guidance. It seems like it would be impossible to park our Land Cruiser in the tiny parking stalls, but in it goes.
As soon as we open the car door, we're hit with it: The smell of freshly caught fish. It's not like nasty fishy smell. It's much sweeter than that. Like the scent of dinner and ocean spray mixed together. Watching our step on the wet tile, we enter into an edifice that houses rows of stalls, each occupied by a different fishing group. For the most part, the pricing of the various fish and crustacea is the same everywhere, but each vendor is a little different in their offering. There's also the way they offer that varies. Although I walk in with my husband, the men address me, the woman of the house. At once flattered and overwhelmed, I try my best not to say anything offensive while also trying to remember how to respond to the barrage of sales pitches. I make my best "gringa" impression and sheepishly smile as I say something to the effect of, "Just looking."
And there's a lot to look at.
My husband does the peso to dollar math and announces that we are the luckiest people in the world. Wee settle on some "jurel", or as we know it in the States, Yellow Tail. It's about $6 a kilo. "I usually pay $18 a pound," my husband tells me in a whisper, as though we're somehow getting away with something. Later that night, he rubs the fish with some lemon pepper seasoning and grills it to perfection. We all sing "mmmmmmm" in unison as we take our first bites.
Yep. Pretty darn lucky.