Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mexico is better than Hawaii

I keep the subject of my inquiry constantly before me, and wait till the first dawning opens gradually, by little and little, into a full and clear light.
- Isaac Newton

One lucky year my life included two trips almost on top of each other: Chiapas, Mexico and Kauai, Hawaii. First time to both. I figured that in Hawaii I would be swimming in coffee and pineapples and in Mexico not swimming at all -- a desert --. I packed my own coffee for the trip. Suffice to say for now that I had it all backwards. Hawaii exports 100% of its coffee, so anything you buy there has been shipped TWICE to get there and is from $20-$30/lb. Ditto for pineapples. The best price I found was some guy selling hot ones out of his car for $4 apiece. Chiapas, it turns out, could feed the entire planet. The lush rain-forest is shrinking due in part to commercial farming interests like Dole and Chiquita, but there is still rich farmland. Put a kernel of corn in it and you will often get 3 stalks of maize. One will shoot up. Harvest it - don't pull it - by breaking the stalk and letting the corn dry. Fresh corn is not often eaten in Mexico. It is the staple tortilla around which is built their entire rich menu. Another stalk will grow. Repeat. More later.

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