On the road.
The internet is limited here at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano so I’ve used my phone as a modem a few times. I don’t want to use up all my data, but it’s a good alternative in an emergency.
It’s 7.30 am, I’m sitting in the garden, it’s still only 11 degrees and overcast. I can see men cutting corn with huge knifes in the field opposite. They swing the knives in rhythm. First one person, then the next and the next. It’s quite hypnotic to watch them.
There is a band and a singer competing with the sounds of chickens and roosters somewhere out beyond the bushes on the fence line. It’s not the usual thing one hears first thing in the morning.
The group is leaving early for another hike up the mountains, I’m staying behind to enjoy a leisurely breakfast, a trip into the city with a few of the others and then we will meet them for a cooking demonstration later this afternoon.
Yesterday was wonderful. Our clever bus driver negotiated the small country roads with great skill and we arrived at a small town high up in the hills at about 10.30. Our first visit was to a school. The children were ready with packed lunches in hand to take us for a walk. I’m pretty fit, but these little possums could run rings around me. We walked down a steep road, flanked by beautiful mountain country side.
Did you know you can hang your washing on barb wire without pegs?
Our route took us down a steep cement road and then a turn to the left along a dirt land lined with wild lavender. Across a small creek and then we wound our way up a hill supported by our young friends.
I decided to take the group back down the hill to a less strenuous place and a few others walked the high trail with the plan to meet us later.
It was warm and at times even hot. Down the cement road, past the lady tending her sheep, through a wooden gate held by barb wire and then into the yard of a local farmer.
Leading the way was their 8 year old son and the entire family stood in line to greet us.
We sat on a high plateau on chairs bought out from the house. We were able to observe a young man ploughing his field with horses and a antiquated hand plough. The ground was dry and the horses bulked at the effort and huge plumes of dust covered the scene.
Delicious home made sweets were presented in huge bowls covered with embroidered towels.
Some of it was like fudge, the other was some type of fruit that had been cooked in high amounts of sugar.
Mexican candied fruit which is also known as “Fruta Cristalizada” in Spanish, has a hard sugary outer exterior and a soft fruit center. The candied fruit is made with real fruit of course, many of them are still in their original shape.
I wandered down to a small building down the hill and went through the door, the sunlight filtering through the cracks in the walls lighting the pile of dried corn. The textures were wonderful and the camera got a bit of a work out.The families small daughter used the dry corn to play in.
The other group finally arrived with all of the school children and we had to make the long trip back up a hugely steep hill.
We left the small farm and our gracious hosts to return to the village.
About quarter of the way up the road, one of out guests realized that he had left his backpack at the house. I stayed with him while his wife returned to pick it up. For me it was an excuse to catch my breath, the exertion in such a high altitude takes a toll on the senses.
In a short time she was back riding pillion on a motorcycle and then a pickup stopped for us and we three gloriously jumped onto the back tray were driven up the steep hill passing the others in their who had walked the distance.
It was lunch time and a planned stop at a local restaurant was a pleasant interlude.
Fresh trout from the local trout farm was cooked over the wood stove by candle light.
The kitchen is very basic and everything is cooked on a wood fired stove. Then again, everything was so colorful. Those who ate, said it was delicious and the cost was about $6 per person. I just had a little soup and a few strong coffees to get me through the rest of the afternoon.
One of the ladies demonstrated how to make bowls from pine needles. I’ve seen it done before, and in fact even tried it, but it takes an enormous amount of skill to complete one of the bowls in a few hours.
The local school has a project of painting rocks for Tourists to earn money for improvements. Some of our guests had taken supplies to give them to help the program. It’s a small school, and I was delighted to see a room with 20 brand new computers and a modem for the internet. So it does seem they are able to keep up with the intricacies of the internet and all that it adds to their lives and education.
Some of the children received new reading glasses and school supplies to share.
It was a day full of experience and interest for our crew. For some it was the realization that there is a life quite different to home.
It wasn’t the end of our day…. but I share this small part.