Mexicali Blues: A Birthday, a Backpack, a Recipe for Love ❤️
“February is our love month” - Pete and Kim Erskine
From islands in Indonesia to bazaars in Bangkok, high in the Himalayas to mountaintops in Maine, tuk tuks in Thailand to a fleet of tie dye vans, Mexicali co-owners Kim and Pete have dedicated their lives to doing what they love and loving what they do. What you may not know is that their love all started at the original Mexicali Blues in Portland, Maine over three decades ago.
“My friend Julie went over to Mexicali Blues to see if she could get a job, and there was Pete with his serape (poncho) and his big hair… One day Julie said to me, “You should go ask Eric (Pete’s business partner) on a date,” so I walked down and Eric wasn’t there but Pete was. He told me that it was his birthday and he had no plans, so I invited him out to this cool spot that had free drinks for your birthday. I told him that I was headed to Europe in a few weeks and he offered to let me borrow his traveling backpack.” - Kim Erskine
What Kim didn’t know was that Pete did in fact have birthday plans. He bailed on his own birthday bash, but we think he made the right move!
Kim and Pete now live on Rutherford Island in South Bristol, Maine, on land that was once the Erskine family summer cabin. “The first time we came to my family’s summer camp in South Bristol was on Valentine’s day. There was no water and we had to start a fire! Well, we ended up moving there and we still live there today,” Pete says while seated in his kitchen that is a far stretch from the uninsulated summer camp that they raised their three kids in.
Their first ever “love month” started with Valentine's Day. Since then, they have spent far more Februarys in far away markets and bazaars in search of “clothing to fit your mind and jewelry to accent your life” than they have in Maine.
“Our first Valentine’s day was at Street and Company on wharf street in Portland. Another Valentine's Day we almost got married in Quebec,” Kim reflects upon the Valentine’s Days of yesteryear. They did end up getting married a week later on February 21st, and February has since become their favorite month. Soon they started to share the month with their children–Chauncey, then Carly, then Caleb. “Most of the rest were in Thailand, or Mexico, and later India or Nepal. We would go in February because the kids could get a month off school and all five of us would pack up into two backpacks and spend a month traveling around.” Kim has many fond February family memories, “Caleb took his first ever steps on a rooftop in Taxco, Mexico. One Valentine’s day in Koh Samui, Thailand, Carly and Chauncey drew a big heart in the sand for us.”
Whether you encounter Kim and Pete in Bangkok or Bangor, New Delhi or Newcastle, at a concert or a cross country trip, on the ocean, in the air, on a mountaintop, or in a Mexicali Blues, you’ll feel the love. They’ll be drawing hearts in the sand, and spreading laughter and smiles everywhere they go. They might even lend you a backpack.
Do what you love and love what you do. If you’re new, welcome to the family. If not, when, where, and how did you first meet Kim and Pete? Feel free to share your stories ❤️