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Taco Wally's

I changed the name of the taco place because "Wally" to this day denies it all!
Tacos were, on Okinawa, as they are in all corners of the globe, a very important part of the culture. Call it a touch with our homeland (Mexico? Nahh!) - call it a familiar consort - something with which we were all accustomed and an item which brought us a momentary escape from the unfamiliar scents and flavors of a strange and distant land... .. awwww... to heck with it!! We loved tacos!! Plain and simple!

And we loved competition! Competition between squadrons! The medics vs the Cop Shop. Civil Engineers vs the aircraft maintenance guys. The personnel folks vs the cooks. We all thrived on competition! Softball teams. Bowling leagues. You name it. There was competition between everyone over just about everything... who had the loudest stereo? who had the coolest car? who had the best lookin' girl?

Tacos were fun! They didn't taste at all like tacos as we know them. There was shredded lettuce and cheese, sure. There was a salsa- looking stuff to put on 'em, but it wasn't at all like the salsa we all knew and loved. There was a mysteriously Asian flavor - couldn't put a finger on it, couldn't describe it... but a guy could just taste it and it was wonderfully delicious!
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Well.... there evolved yet another form of competition. Taco eating contests. We'd all go to work (most people worked the day shift - many of us worked nights) and do our jobs and on Tuesdays, the job seemed just a little easier. A little more fun. A little more something to look forward to at the end of the day. Tuesday was the medics' turn to go down to Taco Wally's and scarf down as many tacos as we could in a given time limit. There was always a time-keeper and judge from a different squadron to oversee the performance of their competitors.

It's worth mentioning here that there was one guy in particular who really enjoyed our taco-eating contests! Who, you ask? Well, Wally, of course!! Hell!! He didn't give those things away!! He'd make up a batch of tacos and we'd eat 'em as fast as he could make 'em. On occasion there'd be a squabble between the eaters and the judges. If Wally couldn't keep up then we were slowed down... Not fair!!! Foul!!!

Puking wasn't allowed!! Nope! Ya couldn't, like, stuff yourself with a dozen tacos, run out back, puke in the alley and come back in for another dozen! *grin* It was tried. Not by the medics though, you understand! It was tried and it was ruled an illegal play. Something like a personal foul!

Taco Wally's was famous - as was the Shakey's Pizza on Moromi. Good lord! Have you ever heard of a squid and corn pizza?
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Now, I think that if we'd been having pizza eating contests, puking would have been allowed if there was only squid and corn. Oh, there were pepperoni and sausage and other more conventional toppings too! But you had to really watch closely - especially during the all-you-can-eat buffet times! *shudder* Mysterious things could show up under that strange tasting cheese!!

Oh! Wally's... yeah! Anyway... we loved those tacos.

Wally had a little trouble one time and we weren't able to go for the contests. We were sad. No slammin' down tacos and making those little marks on the wall. Yes!! We actually did write on the wall with those little hash-marks... you know.... four parallel lines then the fifth across them. Oh, we'd write all over those walls and Wally'd clean 'em! Why not? For the kind of money he was raking in, what's a little scrubbing?

In those earlier days on island, as you will recall from my earlier tales, the American military was still pretty influential and had some clout off base. Part of that clout was in the form of the Army public health inspectors. Seems that all off-base eating establishments were required to pass the Army's inspection. Chances are, the inspectors were never there after work, marking on the walls. Well, I think we found out at least one of the reasons that Wally's tacos were so different. Well, I don't want to point fingers at anyone, but.... any of you who were on Okinawa in the early 70's - any of you ever mysteriously lose your dog?


7-3-98


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