Day 5 Relaxing in Autlán with Carmen


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North America » Mexico » Jalisco » Autlán de Navarro
March 4th 2008
Published: March 26th 2008
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Harvesting CabbageHarvesting CabbageHarvesting Cabbage

We passed lots of fields of crop on our drive today. This is the most cabbage that I've ever seen in one place before.
First order of the day was food for us. We decided that it would probably be easiest to grab some snacks on the road since we were getting a fairly late start. Sorry but I don't handle time zone changes as easily as I used to. Our first stop was to fill up the tank and Fernando bought me a bag of caña for only 10 pesos. It had the hard outer shell/bark peeled off and it was cut up into 1 inch chunks. You basically pop the chunk into your mouth and chew the fibrous wad to get all the sugary juice out and then you spit what's left into the garbage. It was interesting, I liked it but I kept thinking about all the sugar calories I was ingesting, lol. We stopped at a store similar to a Wal-mart and did some shopping. We found Erika a bikini for 99 pesos but not one small enough for Mia. As far as food goes, we got a bag of Fruity O's cereal, a big jug of orange drink, Smuckers peanut butter and chocolate (I was looking for the kind with grape jelly but had to settle for the chocolate), sugar
Pork Anyone?Pork Anyone?Pork Anyone?

This was not the best smelling truck to follow so we asked Fernando to please get around it as quickly as possible. Erika was laughing to see all the pigs, all three levels of them!
wafer cookies, Ritz crackers with cheese, and some bottles of water. Everything is pretty much the same price down there as it is up here. Then we were finally off and headed towards Autlán and Carmen's familia. Erika was sitting in the middle of the seat and I was holding Mia in my lap. All I could think about was getting into a horrific car accident and both my children flying out the front windshield. Children's car seats aren't required down there and most people don't even own one, that is genenally something of the upper class. It is roughly a 3 to 4 hour drive to Autlán but it seemed to feel a lot longer than that. Along the way we saw lots of interesting sites. This was our first chance to get out and see part of Mexico. The truck full of pigs had Erika laughing her head off until she got a good whiff of their special aroma and then she wanted around the truck as quickly as possible. At the junction to turn off towards Autlán, a peddler had his truck parked in the center median with hats displayed all over. I had forgotten to buy
Hat PeddlerHat PeddlerHat Peddler

I had meant to buy the girls sun bonnets before we left the states but it was not done so we stopped to visit this peddler and see what we could find. Erika had to pick out a red hat to match her red boots that she always wears. Unfortunately, he didn't have anything small enough to fit Mia's head but we had fun trying some on her.
sun hats for the girls before leaving so we stopped to see what we could find. I thought Erika was going to pick out the pink cowgirl hat but she had to have the red one. I guess it's okay since it matches her red cowboy boots that Russ bought her that she wears with absolutely everything. There were fields of maguey all over the hills on the drive up. Fernando stopped at one roadside peddler to buy a bag of the plant that they eat as a snack. The maguey is the agave plant that is used to make tequila. They strip the spiny edges and outer husk from the cacti leaves and smoke it before eating. The heart of the plant is also cut up into strips and eaten too. It has a very strong musky flavor to it. I didn't mind the strips from the heart because it was juicy with a mild flavor but I didn't like the leaves as they tasted very strongly of the smoke. We finally arrived in Autlán and Fernando was able to locate the house. I didn't remember her address until I saw the little street sign for Calle Jose Ma.
Park and Sports ComplexPark and Sports ComplexPark and Sports Complex

Erika playing on an old-fashioned swing at the park in Autlan. It cost us 1.50 in pesos or .15 cents.
Igelsias. Ma. is short for Maria, a popular name in Mexico thanks to Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It was fantastic to see Carmen after all these years, over three I think. Erika doesn't remember them but she was a little toddler the last time she saw them. After having a quick lunch, Fernando decided to take the boys down to the park and help them with their soccer skills. Now that he's a certified FIFA soccer coach, everyone is eager for their sons to learn from him so they can get somewhere since that's one of the only things that will help get you anywhere down there. We tagged along so Erika could play and get rid of some energy. I had a horrible scare when I thought that I had lost my cell phone by setting it down on a bench and then walking away. After searching for an hour, Fernando running all the way back to Carmen's house, her coming to the park and dialing my phone several times, I finally found it in a small side pocket on the diaper bag. I never stick it there but for some reason, I did today. I felt like an
Magnum in MexicoMagnum in MexicoMagnum in Mexico

I fell in love with this brand of ice cream bars during my tour of duty in Iraq. I found them again while vacationing in Ireland. Now I come to Mexico and find them again, I'm in love.
idiot and I'm sure they wanted to kill me too. After that fun, Carmen took me for a little tour of the town and down to the market square. And there I fell in love again, they sell Magnum ice cream bars here. I had my first one in Iraq and have been in love with them ever since. I found them again in Ireland and consumed quite a few boxes. This evening we came back to the square with all the menfolk in town. I attempted to use the internet cafe but the kids were running all over hollering so I just gave up. Thankfully it was only 6 pesos an hour so I didn't lose much in the attempt. After that pitiful attempt, we took a walk around the square and bought some after-dinner treats. We got a bag of churros and Fernando and Carmen got ears of cooked corn sprinkled with corn. Back at home, we all talked about the old days while the kids played outside with the sprinkler and the frogs hopping around the yard. Carmen eventually drank herself sleepy and we all crashed in bed with her, the girls and I that is. The
Roasted Corn and ChileRoasted Corn and ChileRoasted Corn and Chile

It is my understanding that this is a popular food around Mexico. The ears of corn are roasted and then sprinkled liberally with chile. I tasted a piece and the corn was cold, interesting but not to my tasting. Maybe if it had been warm and buttery, lol.
three boys shared one bedroom so Fernando could sleep in the back bedroom. It was a long day and I was pretty worn out.

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