Monday, April 12, 2010

Europe or Mexico?

Greetings from Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico! This is one of the most architecturally-stimulating cities we've been to thus far. So many awe-inspiring churches, palaces, and museums. We can’t decide if we’re in Mexico or Europe as the architecture here is a hodgepodge of styles – baroque, neoclassical, and Herreresque. It's absolutely stunning at every corner. Even the unadorned alleyways have their unique, Morelian charm.

Before I get into our time spent in Morelia, I will recap (as always) the past couple of weeks.

My last post, The Vandurian Green Smoothiemarked the fateful day my camera finally succumbed to a lethal dose of beach sand lodged deep into the innards of its lens. This, in turn, prevented it from properly opening/closing and, ultimately, from capturing anything better than a blurry Monet of failed photography. So in the interim of my camera's demise, we got by with some help from Evan's iPhone. Let me preface this by noting that the photos from our next stop (Guadalajara, Jalisco) were few and far between due to the inconsistent manner of said iPhone being both conveniently inside Evan's pocket and properly charged. A rare case, indeed.

---Sayulita, Jalisco---

Bringing Sayulita to a close, I've included a few photos from two of the many fruit stands I frequented while stationed at this picturesque surfer's paradise.
There were a handful of stores and roadside stands that stocked their bins with fresh (and sometimes not so fresh?) fruits and vegetables. I would generally go around picking and choosing from several different vendors per day because one place might have really nice looking tomatoes while another might have moldy tomatoes, but perfectly ripe piñas...
The market pictured below is called Celia's. Celia is a seemingly disgruntled shop owner who tends to get right down to business with no small talk, no probing questions, no relentless hounding to buy this item or that item...she's perfect. She's perfect unless you have no idea what type of exotic fruit you're buying or if you need help finding preservative-free salsa. She was so intimidating that I refrained from asking preguntas altogether. Bear in mind, these are iPhone photos.
Celia's is one of the few places I've seen in Mexico (aside from stands at large street markets) with a well-stocked spice section. She even carries cacao beans! I thought about buying some, but chickened out at the last second because she was rushing me through the checkout as quickly as possible.
At one point, I ordered a green smoothie from the Espresso Company wifi cafe and then took it up a notch by adding my own spinach and papaya. An employee finally came over and told me I couldn't use their outlet for my "machine". 
Luckily, I had already finished blending.
On our drive out of Sayulita to Guadalajara we passed numerous fruit stands before stopping at this one pictured below. I've seen these giant pumpkin squash-looking fruits all over this country. I'm not sure what it's used for in Mexican cooking. If they weren't so gargantuan I might even try my hand at some raw pumpkin soup, but seeing as how produce doesn't last more than 24 hours in the van, that idea has potential to be extremely wasteful.
Bananas, jackfruit, mangos, oranges....
We also passed agave fields along the way.
During this leg of the trip, I made a green smoothie in the back of the van while Evan steered us "delicately" down the curvy, countryside road as we snaked our way through rain forest flora & fauna to Mexico's toll road, The Cuota. Only minimal green smoothie spillage occurred. Also, driving "delicately" in the Vandurian is next to impossible considering the fact that going over even the smallest blip in the pavement sends you airborne a good 4 inches. It's a roller-coaster ride, this van.

---Tequila, Jalisco---

Before arriving in Guadalajara, we stopped over in the little town of Tequila for none other than some of their fine, fermented, homegrown syrup (the alcohol, not the sweetener)
While I am no longer known for throwing down shot after shot of hard liquor (those days are gone), I told Evan I would do some tequila tasting with him while we were here. 
We entered Tequila's central square and walked around the plaza. They were having some sort of festival parade for Semana Santa. Mexicans basically take two weeks off to celebrate this important holiday (also known as Easter), which is one of the reasons we decided to leave Sayulita - it went from population 80 to population 800 in a matter of 48 hours.
We headed over to the Jose Cuervo factory delighted to discover we were just in time for free tequila samples. 
Jose Cuervo staff came out in white t-shirts and black slacks with a tray of double-shot glasses filled with tequila and some kind of fizzy soda (maybe Squirt?). 
The staff slammed the shot glass down on a wooden block, which caused its contents to start bubbling over the top and then poured it down bystander's throats (including both of ours) all while the song "Tequila" played in the background.
Here is what the agave heart looks like once it's trimmed: 
They throw the agave hearts into a big oven, bake it, and then I'm not sure how they do the rest. Probably press it, distill it, and ferment the juice in barrels. We opted not to pay for a tour of the Jose Cuervo facilities leaving the step-by-step process of making tequila a giant question mark. We saved up to do some tequila tasting at a cantina instead:
And, unfortunately, we got ripped off in the process. We ordered the most expensive, primo flight of tequila. But what we got was a far, far cry from finely aged liquor. Every glass was filled with bottom shelf liquor. No bueno. While Evan stuck around to finish it off and snack on peanuts, I went to the van to make a salad.

Story of my life.

And while I was gone, Evan made a new friend. The only other patron in the cantina was sitting at the far end of the bar drinking a beer. At one point he got up and walked by Evan's table and they engaged in conversation. It was confirmed that the tequila flight was bunk. Evan's new amigo, Juan, took it upon himself to make it up to us. He knew some people who actually brew their own tequila (bootleg, I suppose - and brew, is that correct? Do people brew liquor like they brew beer?). Anyway, he told us he would take us there to do some free tasting. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of this experience. The iPhone was probably dead or back in the van, but it was a pretty sweet setup. 

They had about 10 barrels of tequila at various stages of aging. Some of them were 6 months old and very clear, some were 3+ years old and very dark. We left with a gallon and a half of 3 year-old tequila in a plastic jug (400 pesos/roughly $32 USD). Well done, Ev.

Juan insisted on taking us out that night so we went to a dance club and drank several glasses of tequila combined with water and lime. It was surprisingly smooth, but any alcohol I ever drink nowadays gives me instant cottonmouth and acid reflux. I get this burning sensation in my solar plexus area and stomach cramps. Really strange and kind of sad, but I guess I've developed some kind of allergy to it.

The next day I woke up feeling less than ideal (duh) and decided my days of alcohol consumption are numbered. I have to get used to enjoying the bar atmosphere and belligerent drunks without being one myself. It was a fun night, though. I will say that much.

Oh, and after our night of drinking and dancing, Juan took us to Tequila's famous hamburger stand. "The best hamburguesas in town" as one local put it. Evan ordered two hamburgers and as we struggled to get across the point to Juan that I don't eat carne (meat), I only eat frutas y verduras (fruits and vegetables), I was still handed a toasted hamburger bun with melted cheese, grilled pineapple, mushrooms, and onions. No meat! Evan told me I had to eat it. I refused. Juan looked at us quizzically.

We drove Juan home and he invited us into his house to sleep for the night. We assured him we were comfortable in the van but thanked him profusely. We did park in front of his house, however (no other cars in site/kind of sketchy/no street lights/dirt road). After a restless night, we left early the next morning for Guadalajara passing more agave fields on our way out of town.

---Guadalajara, Jalisco---

We arrived in Guadalajara and immediately retreated to the back of the van to take a nap. We woke up at 11:30 AM and moseyed around in search of a wifi spot. I had to stop and take a picture of this ostentatious apartment with a collage of artifacts adhered to the outside. I wonder what the inside of it looks like...
 And look at this tree trunk!
We walked towards the square along a path lined with craftsmen/women and their artwork. Plenty of galleries were open that welcomed us in and lead us down hallways towards the center courtyard underneath open-air skylights. Yet another city with art abounding. Guadalajara puts Puerto Vallarta to shame in terms of the quantity and quality of art flooding the streets.

Once we got to the main square, we found a trail of sweet and savory empanada stands. Evan tested out a few with mucho enjoyment.
We finally found a wifi cafe, although, the name of it escapes me.
 I ordered an iced jasmine tea.
Stands, stands, and more stands of dulces (sweets).
They love their sweet-salty-spicy-tart in everything - sugar/agave, salt, tamarindo, chili powder, and lime. And while I chose not to indulge in anything from this table, I did want to provide a colorful picture for the blog. At some point I will try to make raw reincarnations of these tasty looking treats - WHOA...that might make a good name for my raw food company. Raw Reincarnations. Raw-incarnationsRAWincarnations. Ok, I'm done.

**Update: I have since bought the domain name for - stay tuned for the website - Jasmine Cohen: Health Educator, Personal Raw Food Chef & Instructor! 

We discovered a new beverage here in Guadalajara called "Tejuino". There were tejuino drink carts all over the square selling this cloudy greenish-grey refreshment. Evan ordered one and didn't care for it too much. I absolutely loved it and gladly finished it for him. Originally, I thought it was a mix of lime juice, salt, agave husk, and agave syrup, but after googling "Tejuino" just now, I have learned otherwise. The flavor is reminiscent of sweet corn tamales (in liquid form) with a twist of lime. This makes absolute sense to me now that I've learned what ingredients comprise this delicious Mexican bebida (drink). It's a mix of corn masa (dough). The masa is then mixed with water and piloncillo (a type of Mexican molasses) and then boiled (AAhh!) until the mixture becomes thick, at which point it is slightly fermented. This concoction is then mixed with water, lime juice, salt, and sometimes a scoop of lemon sorbet. I loved it. Really, really good. I'd like to make a raw version one day.
That afternoon, we went to a food market we read about in Lonely Planet. It's a three-story parking garage turned produce market.
I picked out items for that night's dinner salad as well as fruit for the next day. Evan ordered some orange juice for us.
We stopped in the park to dig into a ripe maméy fruit.
 I think one of my favorite fruits ever.
Just take out the pit...
and enjoy.
Raw food made easy.
More compost bins and recycling!
Breakfast the next morning in the park - grapefruit, alfonso mangos, and starfruit.
And then Evan's iPhone went M.I.A. (i.e. dead battery for the next couple days). We checked out a sweet artisan market with all kinds of tchotchke - gifts, gizmos, tools, ties, and toys, shoes, sandals, and canned sardines. Tortilla presses, tablecloths, juicers, blenders, dulces, paintings, pottery, figurines. You name it, you could find it here - even hanging fruit baskets! I am sadly without any photos of this epic street market.

Locals driving horses like they're cars.
Before we left Guadalajara, we paid 5 pesos each to walk around El Parque Agua Azul. It was also the debut of my brand new camera, a Samsung ES65. I can't say I love it nearly as much as my previous camera - a Casio something or other, but I am still getting used to it. This new camera has way too many functions to keep track of - ISO settings, white balance adjustment, face detection, focus area, metering, photo style selector, shutter designations, etc. I have to consult the manual a few more times it seems. Or take a photography class. Or take it back and get a different camera. 

These are my practice pictures from Parque Agua Azul:
There was a Casa de Orchids:
A bird sanctuary
Oh hai, bird.
Man-made ponds.
A mariposario
The water costs more than soda!
Lovely jogging paths
Jacaranda trees with lavender colored blossoms are everywhere in Mexico.
I had purchased a soccer ball earlier that day and brought it to the park with hopes of re-honing my juggling skills. Of course, we got our bags checked at the gate and were told we couldn't bring the ball into the park. Total bummer.

---Chapala, Jalisco---

We left Guadalajara that day for the town of Chapala.
This town was reminiscent of Sayulita - a quaint, beach town with gringos aflutter. As always, we immediately sought out a wifi cafe. I ordered a fresh-squeezed orange juice and added my supplement powders.
My new favorite way to get my extra dose of b12, chlorophyl, calcium, iron, and iodine is by mixing my supplement powders in non-pasteurized orange juice. I know it's hard to tell from the looks of it, but all you taste is the sweet, refreshment of fresh-squeezed oranges (with the added nourishment of HealthForce Nutritionals products). It's delicious.
After we finished working, we walked around in search of produce. 
We found this tienda - "Karla's"
Really decent looking produce by Mexico's standards.
These apples you see on the top shelf - Yea, they're from Washington state. Pacific Northwest represents all over Mexico.
Blur. This camera is unquestionably touchier than my previous one. You have to be as still as a tripod in order to get a clear shot.
As we walked back to the van from Karla's, we spotted this couple roasting up some of these green pods.
We saw these back in Guadalajara and found out that they were garbanzo beans! They're called "garbanzos" in español, too (phewf - we may have never known otherwise). The station on the left are roasted garbanzo beans, while the ones in the red bucket on the right are either boiled or steamed and lightly salted. I got one bag of the steamed garbanzo beans to try.
I was shocked to find that they were actually green (and completely addicting.)!
Evan found an apple with his name on it.
While I found some toilet paper with my name on it.
We re-parked the van down by the beach (Chapala is located on a Lake - Lake Chapala), walked along the boardwalk as the sun set, and snacked on fresh steamed garbanzo beans. 
Afterwards, we bought a few bootlegged DVDs and watched them in the van while I made dinner - a beet-spaghetti salad with cilantro, parsley, red onions, avocado, and chili powder. I added a touch of sea salt and lime juice for the dressing. It was so good that I kept this theme going for the next 7+ days. Beets make an excellent texture for spaghetti pasta and the flavor is sweet enough that a dressing almost seems unnecessary. 
We left the next day, but not before snagging a few more photos. Chapala had a homeopathic shop with vitamins, supplements...
...herbs (I just noticed the "salvia" on the far right. I wonder what that treats...boredom, maybe?)
and organic agave.
We stopped at this shop with dried goods - beans, seeds, nuts, and dried shrimp among other things...
We purchased a kilo of sesame seeds (1/2 lb). I felt inspired to make some hummus after seeing the steamed garbanzo beans the previous night.

---Uruapan, Michoacan--- 

From Chapala we drove to a town called Uruapan, the avocado capital of Mexico and also home to a few active volcanoes! In honor of the eruptive atmosphere, I made another version of beet spaghetti salad, but this time with a spicy, hot lava sundried tomato & red pepper sauce.

Uruapan's Carrot-Beet Pasta Salad with Red Hot Lava Sauce
This recipe was pretty darn good. I used carrots and beets for the pasta - spiralizing both into thin, angel hair pasta strands with my Saladacco SpiralizerJoyce Chen Saladacco Spiral Slicer, White I am loving the texture of the sturdier, spiralized root vegetables even better than the softer zucchini pasta these days.

The spicy tomato-red pepper sauce was comprised of:
1 fresh red bell pepper, loosely chopped
4 sundried tomatoes, soaked (soak for at least 10 minutes in water and lime juice enough to just barely cover the tomatoes)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced (save 1/4 cup to sprinkle on the pasta)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced (save 1/4 cup to sprinkle on the pasta)
2 tablespoons fresh hot chilies, minced (I used 1 green serano and 2 of those tiny red chili peppers) 
4 cloves garlic, minced 
4 limes, juiced (1 lime for the sundried tomatoes, 2 for the sauce, 1 left sliced for the finished product)
1/2 tsp dried chili powder
pinch of sea salt

I blended all the ingredients together for the sauce in the Magic Bullet (including the soaking water from the sundried tomatoes) and tossed it with the freshly spiralized pasta. I threw in some red onions, minced parsley, cilantro, locally grown avocado, and the magic ingredient - chopped dates! The extra sweetness and chewy texture really added a lovely quality to all the tartness of the lime and the salty sundried tomato sauce.

¡Buen provencho!
The next day we decided to hike 13 kilometers to the top of the Paricutín Volcano. We stopped in the little town of Angahaun to stuff our backpacks with plenty of fruit for the long haul. We got about 15 mangos, a cantalope, some carrots, and one bunch of bananas.
Here we are at the bottom of the trail with the Virgin ready to tackle this long trek to the volcano.
Evan and I have this little ongoing inside joke about how several of the places we've traveled to over the past few months look similar to Eastern Oregon. I often hear him remarking on the scenery with an affirmative nod and predictable "Wow, this reminds me of Bend" (Bend, Oregon). When I finally called him out on it somewhere in southern California, he started using that line even if the scenery looked absolutely nothing like Eastern Oregon. Well, here we are in the middle of the Michoacan central highlands and you would be surprised how much it feels like Evan's hometown of Bend. In fact, I think he was talking about how much Michoacan reminds him of home in this photograph. 
Sharing the trail with horses.
Lava flow and an old buried church up ahead.
Only a short ways into the hike, we came across some food stands where women were making fresh blue corn tortillas.
The community in Angahuan is primarily made up of Purépecha people, an indigenous group still carrying on tribal traditions - wearing traditional garb and speaking their own dialect as well as making some dank blue corn tortillas.
I was so fascinated by blue corn, that I had to try them. Where else can I find freshly made blue corn tortillas? Evan ordered a taco and an extra tortilla for me. I filled it with chile oil salsa and cactus salsa.
My first time eating cooked "processed bread" in months. This was, however, less processed than other tortillas and breads with only 3 ingredients. It was a cooked food item combining blue corn, water, and cal (which they said is also a clay used to build houses). I researched "cal" further and discovered it is also known as slaked lime or calcium hydroxide and it makes the dough easier to work with as well as more digestible. Not sure what the world of raw has to say about it, but I will say it was pretty darn incredible and immediately made me want another one and another one and another. HIghly addictive. And the salsa at this stand was exceedingly hotter than the other salsas we've had in Mexico. We've been shocked at the lack of capsaicin spiciness in salsa and hot sauce down here in Mexico. It's very mild for the most part, but not in Michoacan.

From there we headed to the buried temple. 
As the story goes, there was an eruption in the 1940s from Vulcan Puricutín that buried two villages in lava. The villagers all had time to escape, but the only remnants of this once-bustling town is the top of the church "Templo San Juan Parangaricutiro" (San Juan's Stone Church).
After the church, we spent a good ten minutes searching for the trail to the volcano with no success. We both decided it was worthwhile enough just to see the buried church so we turned around and walked back to the van! We stopped at the tortilla stand and bought some blue corn tortillas for the drive back to Uruapan (at which point I decided to eat every single one of them). They are so addicting! And I would also like to point out that my binge was immediately followed by a wave of drowsiness.

Our 13-kilometer epic hike turned into a short, 2-kilometer stroll. At least we had some extra weight on our backs with all that fruit.

On our drive out of town, I snapped some photos of the local Purépecha women.
A very colorful cemetery.
And a horse on the road.
As we drove into Uruapan, we stopped for more food - Evan got some tacos and picked up a bag of this fruit slathered in hot sauce. We're not sure what it's called, but they look like yellow cherries with the texture of an olive (it has a pit), but it's slightly sweet. Neither of us are too fond of these.
Next, we went to the Parque Nacional Barranca Del Cupatitzio. We paid 12 pesos each to get into this gorgeous park (and they let me bring in my soccer ball!).
This park was beyond incredible - it was otherworldly, magical, approaching Avatar-like beauty...(ha)
Evan ate his lunch while I took my nap. Cooked food wears me out!
This guy...
...dove 100 ft to this pool of water below.
We found a spot to lay in the grass beneath this tree.
And I finally got my moment with the soccer ball.
We made it up all the steps to the top of the spring where it begins.
Directly outside the park, there were several stands selling gifts including this one (pictured below) selling local macadamia nuts harvested right here in Uruapan. I bought a 1-kilo bag (1/2 lb) for about $3 USD. Great deal considering a pound of organic macadamia nuts in the states can run $18. Did I make that up? I remember them being insanely expensive. 
They had banana or plantain seeds for sale. Apparently they are really medicinal.
Guitars of all kinds, shapes, and sizes.
Pine oil? Also, very medicinal.
And more noni juice - a superfood.
My makeshift macadamia nut cracker.

Our newest and best investment to the van. Makes food prep a hell of a lot more enjoyable and it's powered via the smoke charger.
(Then there's this giant space here and I'm not sure why)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Another mighty fine addition to the van - a citrus juicer
Nothing beats it.
Except when it's mixed with my green powders.
I whipped this up on our last night in Uruapan. I used whatever produce I had laying around in the van. Carrot pasta with chopped celery, onions, cilantro, red bell pepper, and avocado. Yawm.
Evan was supposed to be out getting me some more produce, but it had gotten too late and all the produce shops had closed. He did not come back empty handed, however. Instead he came back with another new amigo. His name was Adelid and he wanted to take us to Walmart to get food because it was open 24 hours. But  by the time Evan came back to the van with the his new friend, I was almost done making myself dinner. We forewent the Walmart trip and decided to go out dancing instead.

Adelid invited us to his house. He lives with his family in a small 1st floor, 3-bedroom apartment. We walked in and his mom was making dinner for us - enchiladas. Even though I repeatedly said "no tengo hambre", I ended up with a plate in front of me stacked with enchiladas vegetarianas - tortillas fried in I don't know what (corn oil?), slathered in enchilada sauce, sprinkled with iceburg lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and CHEESE). This time I really did feel like I had to just suck it up and eat it even though it was completely off my lifestyle plan. 

So I did. I ate it. I wish I had photos, but I left my camera in the car thinking originally we were just stopping in so Adelid could get ready to go out with us that night. It ended up that the place we were going dancing was closed. Adelid told us - demanded us, really - to sleep in his room and he would take the couch in the living room. We tried to tell him that we were just fine sleeping in the van, but he insisted (and insisted and insisted) so we acquiesced. 

Our first time sleeping in a Mexican's home. We can check that one of our list.

But about the was tasty, of course, but did not digest very well at all. I was bloated and gassy all night long. Whenever my digestion is impaired it affects my mood. I was very irritable so it was good that we decided to go to bed almost immediately after we ate. This was a bad day for raw food. I think I ate more cooked food than I did raw. I can't remember the last time that happened. Oh well, tomorrow is a new day.

We woke up early that morning to head to Morelia. We didn't want to deal with any breakfast formalities with Adelid's family, so we skipped town at 7 AM. We said "Goodbye" in the morning before we left. Adelid was on the couch and his mom came out and we thanked her. Evan kissed her on the hand and she wiped it like she was going to catch some nasty gringo disease. Evan thinks maybe he made some kind of huge cultural faux pas and still feels bad about it today. 

Thank you for the experience, Adelid. And your bed.

Oh yea, and it also turns out that Adelid (who is probably 18-20 years old) has a little 8-year old brother who was a vegetarian. I think his family put him on a vegetarian diet because he is a little bit overweight. The family was used to the term "vegetariano", but not as familiar with the term "no tengo hambre", apparently.

Also, we were his little brother's first gringos. He had never seen a gringo before and it was our first encounter hearing a Mexican use the term "gringo". First timers all around. First Mexican dinner in a Mexican's home, first time in awhile that I ate more cooked food in one day than raw food, first time we slept in a Mexican's home, first time little bro saw gringos, first time we heard the term "gringo" used by a Mexican...

Sadly, no photos to share.

Before we left Uruapan, we wanted to get some breakfast and fresh juice. There was a market setting up along one of the streets. They are big on both dried and fresh herbs like chamomile (manzanilla). 
**I am so bummed! I just added an hour and a half worth of work to this post and then my browser crashed and I lost everything.**

On our way to breakfast, we passed a juice stand...
...that served us juice in a bag.
Evan's breakfast - enough food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The cook didn't realize I wasn't going to be partaking in the feast.
One of the local culinary favorites is called gaspacho with an "s" - not to be confused with gazpacho, a cold, tomato-based soup. 
Gaspacho Mexicano is a fruit and vegetable salad served in a cup layered with lime juice, chili powders, salt, and cheese. 
The traditional gaspacho includes mango, pineapple, and jicama or you can get the gaspacho combinado with additional watermelon, papaya, and cucumber.
I chose to get the "everything" version without the cheese. You can add hot sauce, as well, but the bottled hot sauce they had all contained preservatives so I passed.
Right around the corner from Gaspachos Uruapan, there was a vegetarian restaurant. It was closed when we walked by.
On the way back to the van, we passed a billboard advertising another vegetarian restaurant. It appeared to be indian food.
We also picked up a container of a carrot-jalapeño slaw. I'm fairly certain it was cooked, but the carrots still had a nice crunch and firmness to it. 
The slaw was marinated in an oil and vinegar dressing along with cilantro and other savory herbs and spices. It was tasty and a little bit sweet. They may have added sugar? It can easily be reincarnated as a raw version and would make a great addition to collard wraps, green salads, or raw soups.
I snuck a photo of the federales as we headed out of town. At first, the site of men (and we may have seen a woman or two, as well) with machine guns is a bit unnerving, but after seeing them almost everyday you get used to it.
The policía - not quite as unsettling.
We stopped at a cafe for some tea. I was surprised to see yerba maté on the menu (and green tea yerba maté at that).
Ok, I have officially been working on this post since we were in Morelia (three weeks ago). I am starting a new post so this doesn't drag on for another three weeks. Thanks for reading! Add comments, ask me questions, tell me how I can make this blog a better read. I'm thinking of cutting out everything that doesn't pertain to food to condense it down. Or do you like hearing about what we do outside of food, recipes, and produce markets? Let me know! Thank you, thank you, thank you.