Sunday, January 13, 2008

A walk around the city

We have had a wonderful 10 days in the alta plana, a completely different atmosphere than the coast. For one thing it is very, very dry ~ nose-bleed, skin-scale dry. I, for one, will be glad to get back to the humidity of the beach. And of course you don’t see people in shorts and sandals. It’s sweaters, rebosas, boots, hats and serapes. I’ll be glad to shed a few layers of "warmies" and get back into the "coolies".

This morning we went out in search of the pottery street market we went to a few years ago. Nowhere to be seen. Instead, we stumbled into one of the best tiangues I’ve ever seen. Blocks and blocks of gorgeous fruits and vegetables in such eye-popping color, abundance and variety. I would guess it covered about five square blocks around the permanent open market. If I lived here I know where I would spend my Sunday mornings!

These are the smallest papaya I have ever seen, about the size of a grapefruit instead of a football. I have had some every morning for breakfast with a squirt of lime to bring out their delicate flavor.

These are cascabel peppers, the absolute hottest you can find. Use sparingly … if at all.

This pile of beautiful green peppers looked almost fake, but they are not. These are the type used for chiles rellenos and that I use instead of bells to make traditional stuffed peppers. Best if charred and skinned. Otherwise a bit tough. They have a lovely flavor.

This charming gentleman, sitting on the right in his stall, had beautiful hats and other woven decorations. I asked him if I could take his picture and he smiled broadly, showing a beautiful gold tooth. Then he took his seat and gazed off to the side so as to seem, I guess, entirely casual about the whole thing.

A pile of dogs – five in all but I only got four of them – were sleeping in their owner’s odds and ends stall. He was selling pens, pencils, lottery tickets, and something covered in a cloth in a bucket, probably tamales.

And finally, mo trip to a market would be complete without a photograph of the flower vendors. I only saw three in the market, but there were little ladies walking through selling bunches of flowering herbs, like manzanilla and bunches of cilantro. The yellow flowers in the bucket in front are little fuzzy blossoms from acacia trees.

After making our way through the market we walked back to the hotel through the sunny streets. Here are some pictures that show the almost-universal paint colors of the city. All building signs are all painted in black with the first letter of each word in red, and all are in the same font. There must be some signage ~ and paint ~ tsar lurking here.

Tomorrow morning we leave this lovely place and head home. The Patient, who is driving and therefore gets to choose the route, has decided that we will drive due south to Lazero Cardenas and Playa Azul and then head north to Tecoman and on to Cuyutlán. There is a new cuota (toll) road from here to the coast, but from there north it is a twisty 2-lane job that we have driven once before and is, for me, a terrible drive. I get car sick easily. AND this road is notorious forbanditos who set up "road blocks" and liberate all your goods and, frequently, your car. But as I said, the Patient gets to choose the route. I'll check in when we get home and let you know how we fared. Or I won't.


At 7:29 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

Wow, I love the red/white buildings, the sleeping dogs and all the veggies. If you get stopped by Banditos, pls.tell The Patient he will have to answer to me. Men can be so stubborn, have you ever noticed?


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