Saturday, March 13, 2010

South of the Border

Yep. We finally made it to Mexico!

My camera found its way into one of the van's black holes right before we crossed the border, so unfortunately, I was unable to take photographs depicting the maze of border patrol checkpoints and federalis dotting our path to San Carlos.

Did you know that you don't even hit border patrol until 20 miles into Mexico? This is the case in Nogales, at least. You can drive in and out virtually unquestioned for 20 miles before you're forced to get a vehicle permit, visa, and passport stamp. Even then, we were barely given a second glance. I was shocked considering how obvious it was that we were trafficking narcotics.

Just kidding.

Anyway, our van fits right in here in mexico (Current location: Álamos, Sonora). Right now she's parked in front of the Alamos Cathedral in Plaza de Armas.
We've been in Mexico four days and three nights. So far, we've encountered no problems or mishaps (fingers crossed). We drove straight down to San Carlos from Patagonia via Nogales (again, sorry my camera was M.I.A. at the time). San Carlos is about 60% gringo. I swear the only Mexicans we saw were the people working in the shops, restaurants, and cafes. The signs were written in both english and spanish so it was almost like we were still in the States. It was nice to see the ocean again and to watch the sunset over the islands off the coast. We checked out a fascinating shanty town at the end of this long dirt road and worked at a couple of restuarant/cafes. I wish I had photos to share. We stayed here one night and left early in the morning for the town of Álamos.
Plaza De Armas (Álamos, Sonora)
On the drive to Álamos, we stopped at a roadside fruit stand to load up for the the next 24 hours. Bargain central: We bought 1 pineapple, 6 apricots, 2 plantains, 8 baby bananas, 6 mandarins, and 2 navel oranges for $5. It was at this moment that my camera got spit back into reality by, not the van this time, but the giant black hole that is my purse. Sadly, the battery was dead so it was still of no use. The fruit, however, was a win. The pineapple was delicious, the navel oranges were the juiciest oranges I'd ever had (I could barely pull apart the orange slices without a flood of orange juice gushing through the tears). The bananas are still ripening up, but so far they are not as good as the state's imported organic counterpart. I can't say much for the mandarins after devouring those navels and the verdict's still out on the apricots. I washed them with vegetable/produce wash and it left a bitter taste on the skin so I'm thinking I should try to peel the apricots before I make a decision.

Once we got to Álamos, we scoped out the super mercado.
I got 1 large papaya, 3 pineapples, 1 bunch of cilantro, and 1 poblano pepper for $5.50. The papaya was giant with gorgeous flesh and I could feel my skin thanking me for the nourishment of all those phytonutrients (carotenoids) and vitamin C as I sucked the nectar out of each juicy spoonful.
That day I ate two pineapples (piñamiels - a sweeter type of pineapple) in one day, and by the final 1/2-pineapple stretch, my mouth was on fire from the acid. I'm surprised I didn't wake up the following morning with popped taste buds on my tongue.

I had stocked up on organic fruits and veggies in Patagonia because I wasn't sure what the situation would be like in Mexico regarding "safe" raw fruits and vegetables. The Patagonia supply lasted me through tonight so I have yet to really delve into the whole rumor mill suggesting the "boycotting of Mexican raw produce because you'll get sick" hysteria. Tonight, I did mix some Mexican-bought cilantro and poblano pepper into my salad with State-side organic zucchini, organic yam, and organic sweet onion. We'll see how I fair tonight and tomorrow. I've decided my Plan B for getting enough chlorophyll into my system (if Mexican greens are out of the question) is to get a massive sprout station going.
Our current measly supply of sprouts
I'd ideally like to eat a minimum of one 1-qt jar of sprouts per day. Evan would like to do the same so that means we'll need two 1-qt jars of sprouts ready for feasting every day. I think we'll get the sprouting schedule figured out by the time we're out of Mexico. The only thing we need now is more seeds. And when we do find seeds, will they be safe to use? Are they gmo or is that only something we need to worry about in the states? Also, how will the sprouts survive through soaring temperatures in the van? Mold? These are some of the questions I am determined to answer on this journey.

Right now I'm sitting at a wifi cafe, called "Cafenetto"
The internet just went down, though, so Evan packed up and went to the bar next door even though he said he was giving up alcohol for the duration of our trip through Mexico. I'm only mildly bitter about it. He asked me if I would play pool with him and I wagered "only if you go on a jog with me tomorrow". He declined the offer. Last night he said he would go on a jog with me this morning, but he bailed out on that one, too. Again, I'm only mildly bitter. ;) Seriously, the whole machismo thing something I'll get used to? I ended up going on a jog without him only to get harassed by several of the locals - whistles, honks, and at one point two men stopped their truck and started following me. But whose to say that wouldn't have happened even if Evan was with me? Clearly, I would've felt a little less vulnerable had he been by my side.

Ok, rant's over.

Meanwhile, back at the cafe - I'm eating this delicious treat: manzana con chili:
It's an apple covered in tamarindo spices, chili powder, cayenne, lemon juice, salt, and sugar. (Yea, bad vegan. I know. Bad RAW vegan). It's salty, sweet, tart, and spicy all in one. It's making my eyes twitch and my lips pucker, my nose run, and my throat burn. Tell me that doesn't sound like heaven.
So to catch up on our last week in Patagonia: Evan's Birthday, Acro Yoga, Nathan's Straw Bale House, San Rafael Valley, Van Roof Picnic, Red Mountain (the actual mountain, not the natural food store), Lentil Sprouts, and Tree of Life!

For Evan's birthday we made another glorious (mostly) raw meal. This time with Chip and Laura:
Quick excerpt from previous post on how we met Chip and Laura:
---Patagonia, Arizona---
Now we're in Patagonia, an insanely small town probably 20 miles from the Mexican border. We've already made friends with some of the locals. Evan saw a flyer outside the coffeeshop for free yoga at this house around the corner from the main strip. The couple that live there have a massage business and yoga studio. They offered to let us use their shower and said we could park outside their house. They pretty much opened their home to us. Very sweet couple - Chip and Laura. Thank you Chip and Laura! I will get a photo of them before we leave.

Patagonia is home to the 
Tree of Life retreat center. Evan and I are going to hit up the cafe as soon as some payments come through. Lunch at the Tree of Life(a 100% raw food cafe and rejuvenation center) is $30 a person and Dinner is $20 a person. It will be a spendy outing, but well worth it I'm sure. Stay posted for photos of Patagonia and the Tree of Life.

Evan's Birthday was similar to Raw Patagonia Pasta night.
We had raw zucchini pasta, raw marinara, raw zucchini hummus, a giant salad (romaine lettuce, butterleaf lettuce, sunflower sprouts, shredded beets, shredded carrots, and chunks of navel orange), a cooked golden beat salad, raw sunflower seed cheese, and steamed cruciferous vegetables.
Later that night, after everyone was good and toasty we got freaky with some Acro Yoga (A combination of acrobatics and yoga):
Acro Yoga is something Evan and I had never heard of but immediately wanted to master. According to Chip&Lo, Acro Yoga is big in some parts of Mexico. We will definitely look into it further and try to take some classes while we're here. I just googled "Acro Yoga" and this is the first video that comes up. It's an artform, really...

Learn more about Acro Yoga here

The next day we went up to see Nathan's straw bale house.
Nathan works at Gathering Grounds, the wifi cafe in Patagonia where we spent a good chunk of our time. He built this house out of straw bales and stucko. It is a beautiful home. I couldn't decide which photos to omit, so I just included all of them:
Nathan took us for a walk around his property. He had carved a trail that stretched through and around his _?_ acreage. He pointed out a parched looking cat's claw bush to us. I use this anti-inflammatory herb sometimes for headaches and and other aches and pains.
Although, now that I look at other images of cat's claw, I'm thinking this might be mesquite? Not sure.
On the way back to the house, he mentioned this plant (or seed?) that dries and splits
He collects these from around his property and uses them as curtain holders.

We took an interest in Nathan's house because we'd like to build a home from recycled materials at some point - maybe even straw bales.

That afternoon we snuck away to the San Rafael Valley about 8 miles outside of Patagonia in the Coronado National Forest.
It's hard to tell from the photo, but the valley is covered in this sea-foam green color. It was quiet and peaceful out here. Nobody around but the two of us. We climb on top of the van and hung out here for awhile soaking up the warm southern arizona sun. From here, we drove down to check out the ghost town of Harshaw.
This is all that remains:
Website counter

To be


  1. Dear Jazz and Evan, Yesterday was a Red Letter Day for me: I bought a 5200 Vita Mix and I logged on this a.m. to tell you about it and what a lovely post to read! I love the photos, esp the house and the curtain holders: amazing. BUT oh my, the Manzano con chili WOW!! We have got to figure that out!!! Ciel has done Acro Yoga here in Portland a lot, and she loves it, so you too can look forward to it when you get back!! (Please come back!) One more thing, we made Victoria Boutenko's Flat Bread in the dehydrator and it is absolutely fabulous. Such old world bread mouth appeal). I always have extra carrot/Kelp/apple/beet/ginger pulp left from the Champion, so I altered the recipe to accommodate some. Have you tried her recipe?? Oh how I miss you. Love, Jane

  2. Oh, I forgot to discuss the Vita Mix: Found the green drink to be a little foamy and a bit warm. Very smooth, though. I hope I made a good decision. There is so much info out there about Blendtecs high Horsepower and amps, but so many of the tradidional rawfoodists have the Vita Mix, and it is so much cheaper... I could not find any good comparisons, so I am trying the 5200 and if I do not like it, I can always return it having bought it at Costco.

  3. Janey! I thought I posted a comment back a long time ago, but I don't think it worked because it is nowhere to be found.

    Congrats on the vitamix. I can't wait to get settled somewhere so I can also save up to purchase one. I see them at all the smoothie joints we hit in Mexico.

    Muir and Jenny said they saw the vita advertised at costco for $250? I don't believe it.

    I haven't tried Boutenko's flat bread, yet, but I'm glad you've discovered it and are enjoying it as much as you say in a way that is utilizing your food scraps so resourcefully.

    I'm excited and I guess not really surprised to hear Acro yoga has established itself in Portland. I can't wait to master it myself.

    Maybe try adding ice cubes to your green smoothies if you haven't already. The vita can handle it and it will cool it off a bit. Also, the vita is great for making warm raw soups it sounds like...

    :) be well, janey.

    Love, jaz