Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sunday with the neighbors

Oh Sunday on the lake. Lots of time in a hammock. I´m getting all relaxy just thinking about it! It´s been a while ago now, but we still talk about it with lots of joy. The friendliness of our neighborhood block is something special. We have gotten really close with a few of the families, and Edwin and Yamilet have had us over for dinner, to their mom´s lake house and for a road trip to the beach! It has, of course, been a while ago now, but Maryann, Irene and I were invited to Yami's mom's lake house one Sunday afternoon. We headed out early morning, a little later than planned due to a little rain delay, but all packed into the truck and drove the hour or so to a little spot called Arca de Cristo or Kid's Ark. Kid's Ark is a beautiful park opened by a guy named Randy who lives in Florida, but spends a good chunk of time travelling between the two countries. A friend of ours, Josias, is Randy's right-hand and helps with any retreats or other events held there. There are two reliable options to get to the lake house. You can either row a boat from one side of the lake to the little nook where her mom's property is, or you can hike from Kid's Ark. The rowing is I'm sure beautiful, but I love the walk. I have been back a few times since this first trip, and it is always a great time.
Yami with her mommy!
the drive out there is sandwiched with the prettiest views--love it!

Her mom's house was simple but wonderful, surrounded by nature at its finest. Various types of crazy tropical fruit trees, including rows of coconut trees, and sprinkles of bright, beautiful flowers. The kids had a great time running around and playing, and I did not hesitate to take advantage of some relaxation time. The hammocks were cozy and the breeze was perfectly timed! Abuelita (Yami's mom :) had a HUGE pot of chicken yucca soup, but we all started with a few slices of watermelon. Ah yes--the hike is beautiful, and I really enjoy every step, but having to carry all the food you anticipate craving throughout the day has me very thankful for strong, eager to help, young neighbor children. Their two sons, Andy and Mauri, keep us smiling all afternoon watching them race bikes and goof off around the neighborhood, and I'm pretty sure they each toted a watermelon down to the lake for us that day. I toted Abram, their handsome tiernito, and he was way more fun than some melon.
Andy and his cute smile!

A few of Yami's nieces and nephew's joined us for the day, and they seemed to thoroughly enjoy bringing me different fruit and telling me all about them. We climbed a ciruela tree, and were told we could eat them even though they were green. Those things were bitter! But here they like to eat unripened fruit with a little spiced salt, in case anyone back home wants to give that a try! I've since had a ripe ciruela, and you can absolutely taste a difference.
the boys showing off cacao fruit...that's a crazy one!


zapote! Some people say it tastes like pumpkin pie...it has an odd taste and consistency, but proper ripeness helps both of those work out for tasty.

guayaba--SO pretty!

Abuelita getting things going for tamalitos. We had fun shucking corn!

Future tamalitos...those things hit the spot with afternoon coffee!
hand-cranking the tamalito masa!

one of my new favorite places :)

tell me these kids aren't stinking cute! Hanging out by the stove.

Before we left Edwin took us to harvest a little yucca. I am pretty sure we wasn't expecting us to actually harvest, but mostly just wanted to show us the plant and how it all works. Irene and I are too fun for that! We each had a go at it, and it was so tough but I am happy to be able to say I've done it! I worry for the men who harvest yucca all day long, but I definitely appreciate their hard work. Yucca is just too tasty. Although I learned if you try hard enough, it is something you can burn yourself out on! We had a coconut feast while we geared up for the hike back to the truck. Edwin was so patient hacking into coconut after coconut.  I learned there are yellow coconuts, and brown coconuts. I have heard different stories on the differences, but the most common is that the brown have been given time to dry. The water in a yellow coconut is quite tasty, but the liquid in a brown coconut is more like coconut milk--que rico! Makes me think of hot yoga and how refreshing it would be to hack into a coconut after a long, steamy session. The fruit in the yellow goes is more like a jelly, but the brown ones is the hard, white meat they shred and bag to sell in stores. And it is so stinkin tasty. Yum now I'm craving coconut.
Edwin doing work!

so excited! It is like a mini earthquake the way the whole ground shakes when you're pulling it out! I honestly thought it grew sort of like a carrot...a root attached to a bunch of green leaves. Way off dude!

Irene even held a baby for the first time!
The walk to the truck felt a little longer than the morning's venture to the lake, but I think the shoulder full of yucca had something to do with that! Abuelita sent me home with a bag full of henny penny eggs (or brown, fresh from the hen eggs if you're not my mother, brother or grandfather and don't get that reference!) and Maryann was kind enough to carry them gently, without breaking a single one! You know, it is too easy to get hard on myself for not being better about promptly posting, but it can be so fun to reminisce about all the little details about the mini adventures I've been able to enjoy. I love that spot on the lake. The neighbors and I have already discussed that before I leave we need to spend at least a night or two there. And that at some point, even if I'm old and gray, I'll need to come and spend a chunk of time there. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, hoards of fruit trees, exploding flowers and a view that makes your knees weak. Already looking forward to our next trip out there!
I don't have many pictures of the flowers there, so that's something to work on, but that purple plant you see? That's one of the things that I think called me back down here in the beginning. It is one of the most incredible shades of color I have ever seen exist in creation.

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