Vibes & Vices: 1000 Caguamas

There’s something distinctly alluring about the concept of happenstance.

What leads us to turn this corner instead of that one, to waste an extra few minutes before work or not, to accept an invitation and all it entails or find reason to decline? Why were we born in the places we were to the people that birthed us, and how many factors go into the millions of mundane choices we make in our lives?

Say you’re wearing your favorite shirt on a given day and someone takes notice of it, stops to give you a compliment…how did that change your day?

Sure, you’re in a better mood, but did the encounter take up just enough time for some other human to snag the last bottle of green juice from the store you were heading to or were your steps slowed just enough find a 200 peso bill meandering across your path a block later?

I’m fairly agnostic about the specific machinations that put me on one specific spot instead of another one on the other side of the planet–maybe it’s kismet, maybe it’s Maybelline–but the serendipity that seems to define my life manifested itself again last week.

The Vibes: There I was, walking down the street looking for an after-work drink as I often am…one place was too crowded, another too empty. After seeing another familiar haunt had gone fishin’ for the day, I mindlessly weaved through a few blocks before deciding to just hop on the bus and head back to base for a drink in the hammock…not exactly novel, but still enjoyable.

At least, that’s what would have happened if my good friend Gustavo hadn’t seemingly appeared at the bus stop through a hole in space and time. Gustavo, a proud first-time father, has been acquainting himself with his new wife’s family in Guadalajara for the past few months, and so to say I hadn’t expected to see him that day is an understatement.

Gustavo had ridden the winding road of random chance to arrive at this intersection as well, making the long drive for a business meeting that would keep him in town for a few more hours…just enough time, as he so keenly noted, to have a few beers at this establishment hidden conspicuously across from Ley on the second floor of a retail space.

For me, walking up onto the spacious deck at 1000 Caguamas was what I imagine finding one’s spectacles on one’s forehead after 45 minutes of searching is like.

Overlooking the lively sidewalks and busy streets of 5 de Deciembre a single block inland from the beach and focusing on a streamlined menu of beer and aguachile, it was exactly what I was looking for…I just didn’t know it at the time.

The Vices: 1000 Caguamas is not, as I suggested on Instagram (that’s @cosmiccoffee9 *bigsmile, thumbs up), a turtle preserve…at least, not directly.

Yes, “caguama” is a Spanish word for “turtle,” but in this context the alcohobbyists among us will know that the term refers to a large bottle of beer, typically filled with brews of The People in a manner similar to the American 40. Doesn’t take a social scientist to understand the appeal of this delivery system, and at 50 pesos, the effect is even more pronounced.

However, my Internet joke is closer to the truth than it might have seemed, that’s kind of my whole thing. For every bottle drained by a thirsty customer, 5 pesos are donated to local rescue efforts for these endangered creatures, and it’s always encouraging to know you can make the world a slightly better place by doing almost nothing at all.

As tostada after tostada was loaded down with habanero aguachile–piquant and zesty with a pronounced citrus flavor–and this face of the Earth lazily rolled away from our star at 1,000 miles an hour for another spectacular sunset, it came to mind just how unlikely this all was. Here I was sitting exactly where I needed to be for the best possible outcome due to factors fully beyond my control…not the way I planned to spend the evening, and wasn’t I lucky.

The Verdict: Even if you don’t lead a mystical existence, it’s easy to appreciate what 1000 Caguamas brings to the table from a practical perspective. With all the cooler beer you can drink at a great price and a few seafood selections to keep you anchored, there might not be a better place to find yourself at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. You can even do a bit of good for the home planet by finishing your beer like an adult. Maybe I’ll catch you there.

Info: Uruguay 162, 5 de Diciembre

AJ Freeman on Email
AJ Freeman
AJ Freeman is an adventurous spirit, serial friendmaker, and general enthusiast. He lives his everyday life hoping to demonstrate the nearly infinite potential for discovery and wonder on this small wet rock orbiting a dim yellow star in the backwoods of the Milky Way.