December 12, 2008

more photos from Chiapas

let sleeping dogs lie...

"RESPECT: don't litter."

Luis and I stopped to play a few games of foosball with the kids. They charged us 4 pesos a game instead of 3 but it was worth it.

Women from Zinacantán selling avocados in San Cristóbal.

This guy is literally selling "snake gel."

People gathered in the graveyard for two funerals in Chamula, Chiapas.

These are graves on the other side of the old church in Chamula.

The dream of little girls worldwide.

December 5, 2008

Meet the Baas, from Chamula, Chiapas

This is Pa Baa...

...and here's Ma Baa (a bit nervouse, ain't she?)

...and Baby Baa, who's hungry.

But Ma is a bit camera shy... Baby goes back to eating yucky dirt-grass.

...until, oddly, he decides to head towards me...

...with a gleam of recognition in his eye, perhaps thinking I'm part of the family...

...and nibbles my finger. What a cutie.

And across town, this fella trusts me about as much as the little one.

Maybe it's Cousin Baa?

December 1, 2008

Sometimes when I was in Mexico I would wake up with an intense craving for papaya. I'd throw on a sweater over my pajamas and slide into Luis's flip-flops with my socks still on and shuffle over to the market, which was across the street and down the hill next to the daycare center. In some ways, the most enticing vendors are at the entrance: the little old raisin-faced ladies from the pueblos sitting on their blankets, working on their embroidery, selling their carefully arranged piles of huitlacoche, chayote, nisperos, fresh shell beans, or bunches of greens like quintoniles or chipilín, but at a high price (for Mexican standards).  If I make it past them without buying anything, I still have to make it through the hallway full of women coercing me to buy their blandas or tlayudas (two types of tortillas, one soft and the other lightly toasted until chewy) in their peculiar nasal voices that I've only heard in markets in Latin America. And if I get past them, I'm into the safe zone, where people are a bit less agressive, maybe just an occasional "Que le damos." There I wander through stall after stall of massive bunches of glistening red radishes, potatoes scrubbed until they shine, frilly wands of swiss chard, mountains of garlic, nopales (cactus leaves) already de-spined and ready to cook, and the most sweet and delicious little pale green summer squash which beat our yellow crooknecks and zucchinis hands-down. I breathe in the aroma of bouquets of fresh basil and rosemary mixed with odor of fresh meat from the butchers around the perimeter-- which is sometimes, but not always, off-putting. And then I make my way to Doña Teresa's fruit stall, where I poke and prod until I find the best papaya, select a a dozen or so guavas (in a gradation of pale green and firm to perfectly ripe and soft, exuding a their musky odor), and maybe one of those tiny, incredibly sweet and fragrant pineapples. And Doña Teresa is always kind to me and drops the price a peso or two. On the way out I stop to buy a liter of fresh raw milk from the two ladies that bring it from their farm every day, unrefrigerated, which they package in plastic bags. And maybe I stop by Doña Gloria's, where she sells all sorts of bulk dry goods, like almonds, raisins, dried beans, flaxseed, corn, panela, and even dogfood. And then I go home and savor every bite of the best meal in Mexico: fresh fruit.

Breakfast in San Cristóbal: avocado, mandarin orange, strawberries, passionfruit, and little bananas that you can only find in Chiapas.

You probably haven't tasted a real banana if you've never been to a tropical country. The bananas here make you actually stop and think about the flavor.

The markets are wonderful, but often all you have to do is look around at the trees and you'll find a snack. I picked oranges, grapefruits, guavas, pomegranates, and mangos (those are pretty tricky, usually you have to throw rocks to get them to fall down because they are so high up).

Our breakfast got a lot of attention, especially from these two girls who came up and didn't say anything but obviously wanted to help us eat it.

a passionfruit