Thursday, November 24, 2011

Of Crocodiles & Soccer Games & Other Sundry Things


I have now EATEN crocodile. Pictures will be posted sometime in December. Crocodile is a white meat (who knew?). It is a light, pleasant meat. It does not taste like chicken. It tastes like a good fish (which means it is not rank, not chewy and stringy, but delicate and pleasant to eat). The Mexican barbacoa sauce was also excellent. I ate a section of the tail, which is considered a delicacy both here and in the southern US States (US$50/plate I hear). Robert is soaking the skull in some water in order to put it on display along with various other unusual skulls he is collecting. I will make more, oddly esoteric, comments when I post the photos of the crocodile shortly after it was taken from the sea. It was a young and beautiful creature.


I toyed with titling this one "traffic jams" because that is what was going on. Imagine if you will, us driving our rig from our humble abode in the village and then across the river at our customary low-water crossing (nothing resembling a bridge) -- and our rig being PASSED mid'stream by not one but two little golf-cart like things with a gringo couple in each---coming from OUR village-side of the river (say what?). Then, where the one-lane dusty track narrows with fences and thick jungly growth on one side and a cornfield (Guille's cornfield of slingshot-and-raccoon fame), we all were stopped in our tracks by several small trucks of villagers coming the other way.

A really-truly traffic jam!

That gave us time to chat with the gringos -- the who/what/why kind of thing. Turns out, they were returning from, ahem, a GIRL'S SOCCER MATCH in our village, out in the field on the far end of our village (far from us who live on the other far end). It was our village girls (we have a TEAM??!?) versus the girls from the village across the river.

I have never seen any of the girls in our village in soccer gear, nor kicking a ball around the dirt road that runs through this long village. Never heard of any practices, nor of any games.

That just MIGHT be a partial explanation why our girls lost 0 - 20.


THE HUNTER LAMENTS...for instance.

Here is this tidbit about the Great Slayer of Raccoons, Crocodiles and All. The other day, Guille (pronounced with a HARD "g" as in "good" -- GEE-yay) came to our porch from where he was slashing undergrowth. In his hand he held a very large pupa of a butterfly. He was gentle, and quietly lamented that he had not seen it in time. It cannot grow now, he said sadly, and then he lay it softly down among the flowers by our porch.

It was the pupa of one of those magnificent very large all-white butterflies that enchants us whenever one passes by. Alas, that us gringos refer to it as the Kleenex-butterfly but then it DOES look like a flying Kleenex.

But the point of this Sundry Thing, is how gentle, and sorry he was for destroying it.

Quietly, to myself, I also simply lament the systematic destruction of this overgrown weed-tree patch that is our backyard. It had been abandoned for 18 years when we bought it, and remained almost untouched since we moved here in 2004. But now, we are slowly cutting it back--almost by 1/3 at least by now -- and replanting it with very desirable trees. We thin out the weed trees, leaving just enough to shade the newly planted ones, so all is not clear-cut.

My quiet concern is that all this time, I have enjoyed the utter wildness of this untamed over/undergrowth.... so filled with chattering birds, home to so many fluttering butterflies, refuge of small animals cruising by.

What becomes of the wild flutterers, and the ground creepers? Said Omar to me, in response to this question, "Oh, they'll just go somewhere else." but extinct is where they go in the end.

Slowly but surely, as the village population grows and as tourism grows, all these patches are being cleared... Where will the Dios Mio bird flee to? That is my name for a very surprisingly large, remarkable woodpecker, that is also quite shy. Because of the now-extinct "Oh My God" woodpecker (Ivory-billed Woodpecker, destroyed by development in the southern US), I named this bird similarly. Where WILL it go?


I had this playful email conversation with a friend who lives in Panama (and previously Costa Rica) about what the roosters say! After all, we each live among them, and they are very present in our lives. So, among the many things I hear, one thing is an insistent "Happy BIRTHday!!" My friend mentioned that where he lives, among many things, is an insistent "Put the drink DOWN!!"

So I asked Guille if the locals heard words amid the rooster-squawks. Why yes, they do, he reported with a grin. "Levanta-te YA!!" (getyourselfUP!!) and "Estare-durMIda!" (I was SLEEPing!").

What do YOUR roosters say!


Oh never mind. Who wants to talk about four hours of really bad (excruciating?? I wouldn't know personally but it sure looks like it is excruciating) pain? Instead, let me end this whimsy with....


My delightful Victorian Era Grandfather Ransom (William R. Ransom, who was born in 1876, when Billy the Kid was still alive, and who remembers when Lizzie Borden took that axe and gave her mother 40 whacks, and 41 to her father ...ooh, but I digress) --anyway, THAT Grandfather delighted us all in many ways and among his numerous books, wrote his string and paper tricks into a book, but I digress again. He deserves his own full biography, such a wonderful character he, with his cape, and his cane, and his wonderful graying, pointy goatee.

In his 90s, when I last visited him, he would greet me at the breakfast table, gently make a few fist-poundings upon the table and exclaim a number -- such as "16" or "24" or the like.

He was reporting how many morning-glories were open upon his trellis that morning.

So now, here in our humble Mexico abode, we have large, beautiful jamaica plants just beside our porch stairs. Like morning glories, their newest flowers bloom with the morning sun and then fade away (later to become the fruit that we all make into delicious cool drinks).

In his honor, I go out and count how many blooms there are of a morning, and report.


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