Preparation / Directions:
By some miraculous feat, I have survived my trip to CA and Mexico. Barely, but I lived to tell about it. I ended up getting a seemingly life threatening case of the Mexican El Gotcha Gringo Flu! It makes for an interesting plane ride, but I wouldn't recommend it as a hobby. 8^)
While I was down there I mistakenly got on the wrong bus that took me up in to the hills instead of back to the marina. While on this fifteen cent tour of the local jungle roads, a truly bumpy, death defying experience, I was treated to an amazing culinary delight.
While trying desperately to find someone on the bus who spoke English to tell the driver that I didn't want to die out here, and wanted to go back to town, my nose caught a wisp of familiarity in the air. I had detected the faint, delightful aroma of pork mixed with what I thought was the smoke from mesquite. The locals on the bus thought that that I was "loco" by the child-like grin that came across my face, and the way that I kept sniffing the air trying to find where that delightful smell was coming from.
My attempts to try and get back to town had now turned into "Where's that smell coming from, and can you get me there?" For some reason, they understood that part. As the bus made it's way through the jungle the aroma got stronger. By the time that I saw the actual smoke rising above the trees, I must have looked pretty crazed to the locals. I guess that my size, 6'4" 400 lbs., gave them the impression that if I didn't get to that pig soon, their lives may be in danger! A few of them had begun what I assumed to be cheering on the driver to get there, "pronto!"
When the bus rounded the corner to where the smoke was rising, I got my first glimpse of what was going on. The bus driver started saying something to me as he stopped the bus and opened the doors for me to get off. Which for reasons still unclear to me, I did. Along with two of the other passengers. The bus driver slammed the doors and took off up the road, laughing as he drove off. Not a good feeling to say the least.
The two folks who got off with me, said something to me and motioned for me to go with them over to where the cooking was going on. At this point it dawned on me that I'm miles up in the mountains where no one knows where I am, following people I don't know, to for what all I know is some sort of ritualistic sacrificial tourist feast! All I'm thinking is, "I wonder if they have a dipping sauce?"
This area where they were cooking this pig in a pit was some sort of communal eating area. This pig that was being cooked was to celebrate the release of one of the local men from prison. Apparently he had been falsely accused by a tourist for a crime that he really didn't commit, and spent two years locked up for it. I can't tell you how proud I was to be a tourist in there land at that point. Even so, I was graciously welcomed into their party, even when I tried to bow out of it, and started to walk back to town.
They insisted that I stay and eat with them. I had never experienced anything quite like that before. When they brought that pig up out of the ground, I darned near cried. My nose and taste buds were just having a field day! When they served me up a plate of that pig along with some of the veggies that they had cooked with it, I was ready to move in permanently! I have never tasted anything so good in my life! It was just fantastic!
From what I could gather, they had prepared the pig by rubbing it down with a mixture of mangos, an assortment of peppers, salt, and stuffed it with sugar cane, and veggies. All of this plus a rather healthy dowsing of tequila. They said that the tequila was more for the pigs pleasure than anything else.
The pig had been cooking for about a day and a half. Did fortune smile upon me, or what? I got there about 45 minutes before they dug that pig up.
Oh, BTW. As if the pig wasn't enough to send me into hog heaven, I was treated to another local delicacy. Iguana. Yep! One of them lizard like things. I guess that up in the hills it is considered as much a staple as chicken. I must admit that I had trouble getting it down once they told me what it was that I was smacking my lips on. But all in all, it tasted pretty darn good! They joked about one day having a Kentucky Fried Iguana stand! I'm not sure if the colonel is ready for that.
In case you're wondering how I got back to town, about two hours later the same bus came back by on his way back to town and stopped to pick me up. The bus driver just laughed at me as I waddled back on to the bus, rubbing my belly and smiling from ear to ear. My family didn't even notice how long I had been gone when I got back. When I told them of my great adventure, they just smiled and said, "yeah. Right!" I think that I'm the only one who truly enjoyed our stay, and can't wait to go back again. It was even worth the El G