Friday, January 11, 2008

Faces Around Town...and Crunchy Burritos

There are loads of dogs and cats and chickens and iguanas and other animals around. We started carrying dog food in the car because we thought many of the animals looked skinny. Much to our surprise they often look skinny but aren't hungry. This guy was in San German just relaxing on the sidewalk.

This bird was posed perfectly on someone's rejas (ironworks) and the color contrast is what caught my eye. I often find myself looking up toward the clear blue sky... not just to enjoy the warmth, but to look at architectural lines of buildings or other intriguing things going on up above. This little cat was above a doorway just checking out what was going on below. The animals don't understand English, and people say "mitsu mitsu mitsu" or something like that to try to coax them over. It doesn't mean "here here here" - that would be aqui aqui aqui so I don't know what it means but they always respond!

This statue is standing on the world looking toward the town hall in the Mayaguez Plaza Colon. Columbus looks toward the ocean and is accompanied by 16 bronze women brought from Barcelona. There are also interesting people roaming around and a very ornate fountain he is standing on.

Just a few blocks away, we encountered a mob of gentlemen playing a rousing game of dominos. The guy in the white hat asked if we wanted in...we just watched for awhile. The guy in the baseball cap was the serious one. We thought they were playing for "guineos" (bananas) but asked and they smiled and laughed!

Things are much simpler here. A nice piece of fruit, a jellyroll, a game of dominoes, riding your horse, these are the things people enjoy. Everyone is outside. This gal was strolling the plaza on her way to do something. The "Q" should look familiar - Quiznos. There are a lot of things that are familiar enough to make us comfortable, but upon closer examination are really different.
An example is Taco Bell. Taco Bell has a "carne y papas" burrito (meat and potato). Sounded good. I started eating it and it was good, but had a nice crunch to it. I opened it up and it was a burrito made of taco meat, cheese and believe it or not....french fries! No Taco Bell I've been in other than here has that or flan on the menu! I mowed the lawn and it smelled like cilantro - we apparently have "recao" in the lawn which is a totally different looking thing than cilantro, but you use it the same way. There is also "culantro" and in my mind cilantro, culantro and recao are all the same thing. We also bought a chocolate bar (sweet chocolate) that isn't really chocolate at all. It is grainy and sugary and just not something I know what to do with! Bananas are guineos, unless they are guineos manos, or amarillos or wait...those are the yellow plantanos that have to be cooked or maybe you can eat them when they are black or is that when they are plantanos verdes, or get the idea. Oh, and ripe oranges aren't orange either. The skin color gives you no indication of ripeness. So things aren't always what they seem to be which keeps things interesting. And there is good coffee everywhere that is under a buck. No $4 gallon jugs of Starbucks here!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff and Katrina,

I hope you had great holidays in your new home!

We had a great time with my parents and a bit of cold weather.

I'm enjoying your pictures not only because they are great shots, but also because of your comments. Its great to see and re-live things through your eyes.

You are right, cilantro (or cilantrillo) is not the same as culantro (same thing as recao or coriander in mainland). I'm sure you'd recognize cilantro since its commonly available in mainland now--believe it or not its a very recent thing where I have lived mostly due to people getting more familiar with mexican and vietnamese food. Here is a link that better describes culantro:

Its a great ingredient to prepare the "sofrito" or base for beans, rice, soup, and other traditional PR dishes. It almost looks like a weed in your yard, but once you touch it or break a leaf you will see its rather intense scent. It prefers some shade and moist soil (well drained). You can easily propagate it by its seeds.

The black bird is called "mozambique" and I assumed is native, but I don't know for sure. Its funny that in all my years now in mainland I've never seen a cat that responds to "mitsu, mitsu" like in PR.

Take care,

H Jr.