Not sure where he came from. Not sure how he got here. The only thing I’m sure of is that he holds court every morning…for breakfast.
They say he was a university professor. Bill Gates was one of his students. Came to Puerto Escondido, Mexico, over thirty years ago.
Find your way to the Santa Fe Hotel in Puerto. Walk the narrow alleyway behind it and watch out for the rocks. Soon you’ll come to Tabachin.
Be there early, before nine AM, to have breakfast with the Emperor…and maybe even a celebrity, Mexican or otherwise or his elegant poodle, who will will often join you.
Enter through a flowered archway, and there he will be, awaiting you, sitting “emperor-like” at the head of his table seating twelve or more. He’ll great you as if he saw you just yesterday, even if he never saw you before.
One of his silent but efficient staff will glide up behind you and present you a breakfast menu that is, if you could visualize it, a Mexican mosaic of delicious fruits, huevos, juices, coffees and breads.
The Emperor will talk to you about history. He’ll talk you about art, politics, music, or Mexico; everything but the banal.
Etruscan architecture? He’ll repair to his lair and in minutes, produce a volume from his library and proceed to give you, and the rest of his guests, an “in-depth.” Politics in Chile? Same.
At breakfast this morning, the subject of art galleries in Mexico City came up, and, as you would think, he produced a volume and gave a compelling historical monologue on the Franz Mayer Museum of Decorative Art.
We talked of the cinema, and he disappeared to, yet again, produce a volume on the famous Mexican cinematographer, Gabriel Figueroa, who has filmed for many of the greatest directors of the latter half of the twentieth century.
Perhaps by now, you have come to understand that breakfast with the Emperor is a tasty and an artistic experience.
Paul Cleaver has been holding court for some thirty-plus years. If you should ever return for another breakfast, sooner or later, he’ll be sure to remember you by name, and if not, by the subject discussed.
However, there’s more to the Emperor than breakfast. Tabachin is his artistic and eclectic hotel. If there ever was the first boutique hotel, this is it. Many a reservation is booked a year in advance in order to confirm one of the exotic rooms, like #2, “The Princess of Morocco” suite.
Ask to see his hotel and he will take great pains to detail the murals on each landing, the ornate tile-art surrounding the ceiling fans, the Buddha art, or the delicate pearl inlays of the hand-made Mexican tiled walls.
As it happened, I commented on one of the many wonderful “historical” Mexican murals.
As it happened, the Emperor ushered me over to a caballero also enjoying his breakfast…the artist.
So if you’re ever in the secret little town of Puerto Escondido, be sure to have breakfast with the Emperor.
Sadly, Paul, The Emperor, has passed away, however you can still have breakfast at his hotel Tabachin.