slowly surely + xyz : a journey of (re)discovery

I AM. Tested

By InspiredJourney


A few days in, I’m being ‘read’ the familiar story of travelers gut.

Yes, I’ve taken precautions, avoiding ingesting water that is not bottled or eat foods beyond fruit I cut with knives I’ve thoroughly cleaned.

At this point I’ve avoided restaurants and anything that is not familiar or prepackaged, and yet, I’m experiencing some rumbles in my tummy. Actually, this was more an uneasy feeling somewhere in my GI tract than bubble gut. I did well and avoided all potential explosive episodes. I was still quite careful with what I’d eat and felt I needed something more substantial than fruit.

While walking what had become a normal route, a sign painted on the wall of a building caught my attention: Smoked Fish.

Curious to see a place that felt like it had California written all over it, I walked over to have a look at the menu. Of all the years I’ve lived in San Francisco, I’ve never had a fish taco. The restaurant is cute, and noticeably clean.

Though nervous to introduce my sensitive body to flesh, new and potentially upsetting spices , I elected to order and see if it’d help sooth me in some way.

The menu primarily consists of tacos. The choices are smoked fish, fried shrimp or fish, and ceviche.

Wanting to keep it simple by not introducing oil, I started with one smoked and some lemonade.

The the waitress delivered my beverage, along with three bowls of toppings. One with marinated carrots, onions and peppers, the second one with chopped and marinated herb I assumed was cilantro, and the final one a tomato salsa. While waiting for my meal, I sampled a carrot.

It was delish.

This was a good sign my belly might actually enjoy this experience.

I meet the owner, Jorge, as I wash my hands. I had to use the sick just next to him because el sanitario was being cleaned.

A gentle guy, he appeared to take great care in preparing the food. I appreciate seeing that in someone.

Minutes later, the moment of truth: my lonely but appealing taco arrives, dressed with a bit of lettuce, radish and a light cream sauce.

First bite, good. Not bad, not bad.

I polish the small mean in four bites.

I had mentioned to the waitress that I may order more, if I my body responded positively. It did. I order a single fried fish one this time.

Again, not only did the meal not disappoint, the fried fish exceeded my expectations. I was a fan.

I could have order more, but didn’t want to risk an upset.


Travel has always been of interest to me. And thus, I’ve read many words, via blogs or posts on social media to live through others or learn a few things.

A common theme to share the dangers of travel.

People will write how one must be careful of the people and cartels in places like Mexico. However, no one has ever spoken to or attempted to prepare me for my next random experience.

I hadn’t inadvertently walked in to crossfire, or someone attempting to rob or kidnap me. But, I had walked and become the unwitting central figure in a turf war.

I hear a yelp.

It’s not terribly close, so I think noting of it.

I walk, making mental notes of my location.

I hear a choir. It’s a bit louder, and signifying a closer proximity to me.

I’m approached, unbothered but alert.

I look to see if where I can ask for help if needed.


Suddenly, my forward motion is slowed. I walk slowly, while maintaining some eye contact. That seemed to be more an irritant and exacerbate the situation.

I’m halted.

There is a face-off; me against them.

My ears are telling a story I’m not wanting to hear. The pitch is boisterous and intimidating!

I’m thinking this is bound to go bad, quick!

I look and am nearly surrounded.

I’m ‘brave’, but ball of nerves.

I ease forward firmly and loudly exclaiming “NO!”

It has only the slightest and more encouraging effect, but I continue with forward motion.

Somehow I get through the hot zone frazzled.

Hindsight clarity teaches at genius level.  For I later think it is imperative to be prepared by stashing a taco or any form of edible goodness toss and distract the local free-roaming dog gang that has laid claim to a specific block. They will dare you to cross the line. Have food them..

That is your travel tip courtesy of Chico an ’em.

You’re welcome.

Having survived the terror dome, I’m once again inspired. I discovered another juice bar, and scored  32 ounces of fresh juice for about $1.50.


5 responses to “I AM. Tested”

  1. […] There wasn’t much to this place. But I was enjoying being in a foreign place, seeing new things, steering clear of messy vibes and discovering Jorge’s delicious smoked fish tacos. […]

  2. […] survived Chico’s call to stand their ground, continue exploring my residence of the next couple […]

  3. Megha sethi says:

    It is very touching article!

  4. […] not on a sidewalk. The (ir)rational thought behind this street-walker strategy is that I’m hoping Chico and ‘em or some other gang doesn’t suddenly appear for an impromptu ceremonial send […]

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