Day 206-211 Getting to know you

My Neighborhood

La Pueblita

March 6-11

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Although the campground, El Rancho La Mesa, is further from El Centro (the center of Patzcuaro) than my last ‘home,’ I enjoyed my walk into town more.  I had the choice of either taking a Combi (minibus) or walking and I frequently choose the later.  The route wound it’s way through the vecindario called La Pueblita and it took a good 30 minutes to complete.  Over the course of a month this leisurely walk gave me the opportunity to become familiar with a few of my neighbors. I always enjoyed the enthusiastic ‘buenos dias’ or ‘buenas tardes’ exchange with the adults and had the added treat of talking with the school kids as they walked with me up the long steep cobblestone street.


There is great pride taken in improving and maintaining this neighborhood.

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The streets are clean and decorated with pots of flowers but with small herds of cattle, wood-laden ponies and donkeys and well fed dogs it’s advisable to watch your step.

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El Mercado

Back in the ‘States’ I hated going to the grocery store and frequently let my refrigerator go bare just to avoid the chore of shopping.
marcado One of my joys here in Patzcuaro is the daily visit to the Mercado.  Much of this joy comes from all the social exchanges, buying the freshest of produce and knowing that I’m supporting the local growers who offer small amounts of home grown fruits, herbs and vegetables or fresh lake caught fish.

It’s also a treat to see the early morning bustle or feel the buzz of enthusiasm when a new crop comes in.  One day there might be bushels of corn heaped onto the ground and the next day an explosion of color from potted geraniums.

The Mercado is located in the center of Patzcuaro and the main source of fruits and vegetables but other foods come from specialty shops or street carts found in the outlying neighborhoods. Each food type has its own vendor and eventually you figure out whose prices are the best, who carries the freshest produce and more importantly who carries the most flavorful Chorizo.  I’ve become addicted to Chorizo and it might be an exaggeration to claim that I’ve tasted every Carnicero’s product in Patzcuaro, but I’ve tried a lot.  Everyone has their own recipe and my favorite comes from the Carnicero next to the Basilica.  It’s sweet and hot with just enough fat to get your mouth-watering.

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The Carnicero in La Pueblita. Not the best Choriso but the best signage.

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Abarrotes are basically your everyday corner store. Good for a quick walk down the block if you’ve run out of beer.


 My favorite Legume

the faba

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 I knew that beans were one of the staples of Mexico but I had no idea how many types exist.  Unlike many of my friends, beans have never been a favorite food of mine (except green beans which don’t really count).  Well,  I’m happy to report that I’ve changed my ways and I now enjoy incorporating these tasty tidbits into daily cuisine.

My favorites are fresh from their pods.

Day 24 Meeting the Yukon’ers

Farmer’s Market

We stayed at the provincial park across the river last night and I decided to move into town and stay another night so I can use the internet.  Between the library and the campground I should be able to get a few hours of work done.  The poodles might not be thrilled about staying indoors but it’s a perfect gloomy day for just that.

Our morning walk brought us to the Farmer’s Market where I found some beautiful fresh veggies.

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NO! This IS a radish… not a rutabaga or parsnip… Radish.. no really

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The biggest and smallest carrots in the world

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I love a full fridge!

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and I can’t wait for dinner …

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I’ll stay the night at a gringo camping ground so I can finish chores and work on the blog

I ran into the couple I met at Boya Lake Park a month ago. Unbeknownst to me they’d taken a picture of the poodles and me in the canoe.  Jan and his wife Machiko and their two sons, Kai and Wyn have been on a trip across Canada and Alaska.

Click the photo below to link to their website:

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Thanks Jan for this awesome picture.  I’m now using it as my Facebook pic

I ended my day being invited to a real Yukon party

at least that’s what they kept telling me…

 

Around 9pm I headed out for a quick walk with the poodles.

Dawson City is made up of a main street that borders the river and where the tourist shops resides, the historic and business district and a small residential area that spreads out behind the town.  Walking from the campground and across two streets of shops delivered us into the neighborhood.  My goal was a brisk jaunt and back to the camper for an early night.   We were only half way down the block when I heard someone calling from a window, in an oddly combined Canadian/Maine-er accent,  “He’yah little da’lan, you wanna come see what a real Yukon pardy’s like?”  I hesitated, took a step and hesitated again.  I squinted at the window, looked down at the poodles and squinted again. The front door of the house was open and soon appeared a man and his dog,  I could hear music and the din of voices issuing from inside.  He had a grizzly looking beard and a slight wall-eye.  “Come on in and hav’a be’yah.”   I did a quick calculation… I had three dogs with me and we were in the middle of a very small town where everyone knows one another.  OK.

I walked into a smoke filled drab dark living room.  Several guys were sitting by a table playing guitars and took casual note of my entrance. They told me to pull up a chair and join them, so I did.  I let the poodles off their leads and they immediately began mingling and making themselves at home.  Nickel politely greeted the little lab and then clamored into my lap. Eureka jumped onto the couch and pressed herself into the closest person and demanded pets, which were generously applied.  TinTin, as only TinTin can, moved slowly forward, like a tiny stiff legged stegosaurus, down the hallway and into the kitchen to look for any leftovers within reach.

Me? I was sitting there in my PJ’s, my blue plaid flannel bottoms with a gray T-Shirt that said “Happy 101 Birthday Gino!”  There I was,  a middle aged woman in her pajamas, drinking a can of Canadian Molson and a holding huge gray a poodle in my lap.  I looked at the guy sitting on my right, “Does this feel kind of surreal to you?”  He nodded and said, “Yeah.”

There were five men and a woman.  Two of the guys were x-hockey players and two were seasonal miners, I don’t know the host did.  The gravelly voiced woman who was sitting on my left was gaunt and her leathery tanned skin hung tight across her face and hands.  I couldn’t decided if her body and soul were weathered from a life of truck-stops and whiskey or from the tough existence of a pioneer’s subsistence living.  It seemed that all of these people had left Dawson City and traveled around the US and Canada at some point, but they always returned.

The host told me that I needed to spend a few more days in Dawson City in order to get a feel for what Yukon is really like.  He invited me to park my camper in his back yard for a few days.  I took a second glance at the woman next to me and decided that I’d better be going…..

Day 17 and 18 Farmers market, Greenhouse fun, Making Friends

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IMG_3226Had a little scare with Nickel today.   She started gulping air and licking her lips.  She was frantic to get out of the truck and eat grass.  She was obsessed about it.  I looked in her mouth and saw nothing and she wasn’t pawing at her face so I didn’t think she had anything stuck in her mouth.  This went on all morning and the intensity increased to the point where I was afraid she was Bloating.  The only place I could think of going for information was the Visitor’s Center.   A wonderful young  woman named Jennifer was in charge and offered to called Whitehorse for me so I could talk to a vet.

Inuvik doesn’t have a vet.  As a matter of fact, they don’t have any extensive local medical support.  They have a hospital but anything more than a wisdom tooth is flown to Edmonton, the ophthalmologist and dentist make a monthly visit.

I had missed the only flight to Whitehorse for the day (of course it was Friday) so the only option would be to drive. Considering  that it’s 760 miles traveling at a snails pace of about 30 miles an hours, I was a bit concerned about leaving.  I had to wait for the vet to call me back and in the mean time Jennifer told me that it wasn’t uncommon for dogs to inhale the small fox tail that were going to seed at the moment.  She said that the local remedy was to feed the dog Caribou fat and hair.  Humm… I don’t have access to caribou parts!   When I finally spoke to the vet, he said not to  work about heading directly to Whitehorse and that it probably was fox tails.  He suggested giving Nickel bread loaded with peanut butter.  Sometimes this will pull the foxtail out.   Isn’t that interesting?  Caribou fat and peanut butter.  He said if Nickel wasn’t better by the end of the day she’d probably need to be put under anesthesia to remove the offending fox.

Long story short… It worked like a charm.  By late afternoon Nickel was back to normal.  Simple as THAT.

 

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SInce I was finally relaxed enough to think about exploring I headed over to the Farmer’s Market.  There weren’t many people there but I picked up a few items.  2013_09_10-Arctic-Market1_Samantha-Stokell2013_09_10-Arctic-Market5_Samantha-Stokell I stopped and talked to a guy who had some bags of herbs, lettuce and jars of pesto.  I asked him how he could grow locally with such a short season and he said that there was a community Greenhouse and that I should go see it.  I bought some pesto to send to my brothers.  I then met a husband and wife, Donald and Myra,  who were selling various carvings.  I bought a wooden spoon and a T-shirt.  The T-shirt was from the recent music festival and Donald started telling me about that.  He said that there was a fundraiser in the Greenhouse, to raise money for a new roof, that evening and I should go.  So  that was the plan!

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I had to drive to the event so I left early and took the poodles for a walk around town.  We came across the youth recreational facility.   As soon as one of the kids saw the poodles the word was out!   None of them had ever seen a poodle before.

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After getting the kids (furry ones) back in the truck I headed over to the Greenhouse.

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They had it decorated for the event but of course the best decorations were the plants themselves.  Due to the amount of light during the summer the plants grew quite big but sometimes the fruits were underdeveloped.  IMG_3260

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I liked how the artist made the Igloo church into a pumpkin

IMG_3253 I got to see a few of the Farmer’s market people again.  I was excited that I could bring home pesto from the Arctic Circle so I thought it would be fun to do an exchange.   I brought some of the huge beautiful cloves of garlic, that my friend Joanne had given me from her garden.   I gave it to the Pesto Guy. He was very pleased, saying it was impossible to grow such large heads in Inuvik.  Here at the fundraiser they had some more goodies for sale so I bought some coffee made in Whitehorse that was Free Trade and packaged for the Greenhouse event.  So now I have coffee from the Arctic Circle too… who would have guessed?   Maybe I’ll have to bring it to central america and trade it for some home grown coffee there.

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But the best part was yet to come.

A number of local people were there to play music.  One young man in particular stood out.  He’s teaching himself classical guitar.  He was astounding.

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He said that he only knows 5 pieces so we heard those.

Myra and Don, the couple I met earlier were also there and Don was one of the musicians.  Here he played a ukulele but he also plays the guitar, fiddle and banjo.

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Don is in the middle with the white shirt

 

The end of the evening was closed with some great lively music that was completely impromptu with people who’d never played together.  My jaws were sore from smiling.

Some of the other talent

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Sequim Garlic and Inuvik Garlic Unite

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  GOOD LUCK with the NEW ROOF!