Saturday, May 13, 2017

Stumbling into the Festival of the Crosses

Sometimes when you are traveling you have to roll with the punches and get a wonderful surprise in return. While staying in Cusco Peru I had booked a tour to visit the Inca Site of Moray and the Salt Pools of Salinas de Maras but after going to the meeting point for the tour I never got connected with my tour group. I went to the office where I bought the ticket and made arrangements to go the following day.
Rather than do nothing on the day which I love to do I decided to visit the Inca ruins at the town of Chinchero. I figured out where to catch the public transport and made the short trip to the town and walked up to the ruins. The ruins are a number of terraces with a Spanish Church built on top using stones from the Inca site.


After wondering around the terraces for a bit I went up to visit the Church. There was some type of service taking place and the church was jam packed. I waited around until the service was over so I could both enjoy seeing all the people in the traditional clothing as well as get a chance to see the inside of the Church.
Shortly after the service was over and the Church started clearing out they seemed to start a parade. The parade marched or danced out of the church down into a court yard around it and back up to the church. They stopped at the door to the check and the priest came along and slashed what I assumed was holy water on the people in the parade and the crowd. I have put some of the videos I took below.

I found out the following day that this was the Fiesta de las Cruces ("Festival of the Crosses") that takes place each year on May 3. A day that started with disappointment of missing a tour turned into a day where if I would have got my tour I would have missed seeing the festival.
The following day the tour was also really enjoyable and made it to Moray and Salinas with no problems.

Me at Moray.

Salt Pools of Salinas de Maras

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Trying Chayote for the First Time

I believe it was in San Cristobal De Las Casas that I first noticed this strange looking vegetable that appeared to me to be a demented Avocado.



I saw them a few other times but never stopped and bought one. Then on one of my many lazy days in Mexico City I was walking through the market area and saw a vendor selling corn but she also had this strange vegetable cooking in the same pot. I asked how much and since it was only 15 pesos about .75 US Dollars it was time to give a hairy avocado shaped thing a try.



She asked me a question and I just said yes without having a clue what she just said and she cut it in half, peeled it and put it in a bag for me.



Before I left I did ask her the name and she told me but after stopping in another shop and having to figure out how to ask for a bag in Spanish it was gone. No wonder I can't learn Spanish. I can't remember a word for 15 minutes even after repeating it to myself 10 times.



Once at a keyboard I did a few searches before I hit on the name of Chayote and knew that is the one I wanted.

It is a member of the gourd family and there appears to be different ones because not all of them seem to have the hairy looking peel. It has a very mild taste that somewhat reminded me of a turnip but no where near as strong a flavor. I saw somewhere that compared it to the taste of a cucumber but since mine was cooked I did not think of that. I also read that the core or seed was bitter but for me it was the part I liked the best.



I would like to try one that is not cooked. I will have to keep my eyes open in the market for one and if I try a cooked one again I would like to have a little salt or some other seasoning.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 The Year That Was

2016 is over and now it is the time to look back at year that has just finished.

It was another year with me having no real home and living on the road but it may have been my slowest year on the travel front only being in 6 countries. I spent most of the year in Mexico even thought this is not a new country for me it thoroughly impressed me. I have really enjoyed Mexico and am writing this blog from Mexico City.

I had a couple of first for me on my travels and it is just a surprise that it took this long to happen. I was pick pocketed in Mexico city and I forgot a camera on a bus. Both of these were painless but still hope to not repeat either.

I also took my longest bus trip so far on my travels going from Killeen, Texas, USA to Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. It was about 32 hours in total with 5 transfers. This is not something I think I will do often.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from 2016.

Mexico Pictures.

Agua Azul Waterfall


Canon del Sumidero


Santuario de Guadalupe in Morelia


Palenque


Meal in Patzcuaro


San Luis Potosi


Tenotihuacan


Tula


Uxmal


Uxmal


Guatemala Pictures

Sunset in Flores


Panajachel


Quirigua


Santa Lusia Cotzumal


Semuc Champey


Tikal


El Salvador Pictures

El Tunco at Sunset


Lago Coatepeque


Suchitoto


Suchitoto


Honduras Pictures

Copan


Copan


Pulhapanzak Waterfall


Red Macaw


Belize Pictures

Lamanai


Me at the top of one of Lamanai pyramids


Spider Monkey


Woodpecker


Xunantunich


Well that is all I have for last year. I hope everyone has a wonderful 2017.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Guatemala Fruit Jocotes



I bought some of these when traveling in Guatemala. They seemed to be for sale in a lot of the markets that I went through in Guatemala but never noticed them in the other countries in this part of the world. It may just be my timing and they were in season when I was in Guatemala.

I had someone write the name of the fruit down for me and then did an internet search prior to eating any. It said you could eat the peel but some people prefer to remove it. I tried it both ways but peeling it was too much work for me so ate most of them with the peel. There is a big seed in the middle so not a lot of meat. The peel is a bit bitter and the meat of the fruit has both a sour and sweet taste. The peel changes color I believe as it ripens and also seems to become sweeter. The green where the most sour and the yellow and red ones were sweeter.

The fruit is in the same family as the cashew.