The Egyptian RestaurantFriday, March 09, 2007
Around 1955 my grandmother worked in the Filipino Embassy in Mexico City. When the new consul, Johnny Hormillosa arrived my grandmother took him out to see the sites of the city. In one of the restaurants they visited, she had been most embarrased when in his Filipino Spanish, Hormillosa had asked for a clean glass with water. A few weeks later Jhonny (he insisted in spelling his name that way, but then his son was called Robin after Nigaraguan poet Rubén Darío) asked my grandmother to take him to that wonderful "Egyptian restaurant" (he pronounced that Egyptzian restaowrunt). My grandmother was all confused until Jhonny described the Egyptian costumes of the waitresses. It was only then that my grandmother realized that the waitresses of the ubiquitous Sanborns restaurant/drugstores wear a uniform based on those of the Tehuanas, the Mexican Indian women of the Tehuantepec Istmus. They could be seen as Egyptian if the viewer were the Filipino consul.
Last year when I photographed Pam in Nora's living room I asked Nora to decorate it Egyptian style and to make up Pam as an Egyptian/Coptic Madonna. I couldn't explain to either Pam or Nora that Jhonny would have approved.