This man, who was at least rumored to be a curandero was not at all what I expected, but I like to be surprised, so that’s okay. Yesterday, Lydian and I went out in search of traditional healers in Progreso. She was still getting over a cough and sinus congestion and we decided it might be interesting to try a faith healer instead of going to the doctor. Our search ended the day before at the Crazy Monkey, where we’d met an expat who was fluent in Spanish and English and had enough connections (theoretically) to find us a resident curandero in town. His wife took us to the little stall at a nearby mall advertising Esotericas. She told us the owner was a “brujo”. Today, we returned to find out what witches look like in Mexico.
Enrique’s modest and organized booth was located inside of a mall filled on each side with rows of garage stalls. He had shelves with candles portraying the virgin Mary on both sides of his booth and little religious “trading” cards in the glass case up front.
“Estan taroto?” I asked him about the little cards, hoping perhaps that he’d at least do something remotely occult for us.
“No.” He smiled reaching into the glass case. “Son archangeles y santos…” He pulled a couple of cards out and laid them on top for us to see.
When asked what he could do for Lydian and her tos (cough), he told us to put Vaporub on her feet and drink some manzanilla tea. Nothing too weird about that.
When we lingered for a few moments as he was closing the garage door to his booth, he told us that he used to be a famous musician in Cuba (see the video below) but left due to the communist regime. He told me to look him up on YouTube, (“Enrique Claro” he scrawled on a little notepad, ripped it off, and gave it to me) and I found a documentary (in Spanish, of course) and a few other videos of him singing and playing the guitar along the beach with busty Latina women.
It was like meeting Bono selling sunglasses on the street in some small nowhere town in Africa, I suppose. Or Chris Cornell working in a fruiteria. Fame is relative. The people of Cuba would envy us for our encounter with one of the mortal gods in their universe, but to us, he was just a regular guy selling candles.