Thursday, March 26, 2015

Inca Empire Cruise - Day 7 Huatulco, Oaxaxa, Mexico

Today marks the end of the first week of our cruise; time certainly does go by fast.  This is our second day in Huatulco and we have booked a ship excursion called Rural Communities and Traditions.  We were out on the dock just after 9:00 AM and were soon loaded into vans to start our excursion.  The day was hot and humid, but luckily the vans had air conditioning (kind of).

We drove off into the countryside on a dirt road.  Eventually we arrived at a small village where we were given a demonstration on making fresh tortillas and then got to sample them with tamales.  The tortillas were made in a very old adobe kitchen on a wood stove with a stone cooking surface. I have to say that eating them fresh was a real treat, much better than eating them in a package from the grocery store.  The woman making them was very skilled and it looked like she had made many, many tortillas in her life.

Next it was on to another village where we visited a place where they grew various types of cactus for medicinal and cooking uses.  I really had no idea that cactus was used in so many ways.  After listening to the talk we were able to sample some various food made from the different types of cactus.  There were scrambled eggs and a salad incorporating different types of cactus, and some roasted cactus leaves (which smelled like cooked artichokes and had a similar texture as okra).  Once again there were fresh tortillas that we could make tacos with using whatever combination of the above foods caught our fancy.  They also had freshly made salsa, one “gringo style” (not hot) and the other one was muy caliente.

Our guide Fernando explains the uses of the various types of cactus.
A plate of cooked cactus leaves and the bowl of "gringo" salsa.
Taking the sharp thorns off the cactus leaves.

Our next stop was to show and sell some local handicrafts woven with dried palm fronds.  The work was quite good and the prices were very low, it hardly seemed fair as there were some mats that took up to three days to make and the lady who made them only asked $15.

The Oaxaxan version of a lemonade stand.
Our last stop was an iguana habitat where iguanas were being raised to be released into a nearby national park.  Evidently the iguana population is diminishing and they want to restore them.  Reptiles are not my favorite animals at all, but it was very interesting and I learned quite a bit and Jorge, the fellow running the place, seemed very dedicated to what they were doing.  After his talk on iguanas, Jorge gave us fresh lemonade his wife had made from lemon trees we were sitting under, delicious and refreshing!

That was the end of our tour and we were driven back to the ship and its welcoming air conditioning.  All and all, it was a very interesting day.  We learned a few things and got to sample some more of the local foods.

It was mid-afternoon by the time we were back on board and spent most of the afternoon resting and looking at the numerous pictures we took today.  There was a sail-away party on the sea view deck at 4:30 so we went out there for a while and watched as we sailed away from Huatulco.  We returned to the room where I caught up on my daily log that I used for the blog and then it was time for dinner.

Tomorrow morning we will be arriving in our next port, which is Puerto Chiapas in the state of Chiapas, Mexico.

Adios Huatulco.

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