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The Country Life: A Day in Ahuisculco

Ahuisculco doorAhuisculco door

The Country Life:  A Day in Ahuisculco

Thursday, October 19, 2006

One of the greatest joys of living in Mexico is exploring new places—especially when you share them with friends and family.

On Sunday our friends Ceci and Pablo invited us for a “carne asada” at her folk’s house in Ahuisculco, Jalisco, a small town south of Tequila.

Pablo and Ceci far above Ahuisculco, Mexico

Pablo and Ceci far above Ahuisculco, Mexico

Now carne asada, a thin, grilled steak, is something we don’t say no to.  Plus we have traveled with Pablo and Ceci before, so we knew we were in for a good time.

Ahuisculco is only about 45 minutes from our house, but it has a wonderful small town atmosphere and seems light years removed from urban Guadalajara.  Smoky bonfires light the cobblestone streets during the town’s frequent festivals, when religious artifacts are carried through the streets and neighbors invite you in for an evening meal.

Ceci’s father is a sugarcane grower, and he farms a few acres of peanuts, corn, and tomatillos for his family’s use.  We spent New Year’s Eve with him and his wife and several of their six children.  They are very warm, caring people who sure know how to cook.

Dan and Omar

Omar and Coco

Omar and Coco...

...and Dan in a favorite tree

...and Dan in a favorite tree. Coco is tired from the climb.

Cobblestone streets.  The cut paper streamers are left over from a religious procession.  Nowadays they are made of plastic.

Cobblestone streets. The cut paper streamers are left over from a religious procession. Nowadays they are made of plastic.

The Virgin of Guadalupe on a corner store.  Note the Bimbo Bear advertising Mexico's most popular bread.

The Virgin of Guadalupe on a corner store. Note the Bimbo Bear advertising Mexico's most popular bread.

The Virgin of Guadalupe presents her image to Don Juan Diego on his tilma, which is filled with out-of-season roses.  Angels light up at night.  This image is instantly recognizable to all Mexicans.

The Virgin of Guadalupe presents her image to Don Juan Diego on his tilma, which is filled with out-of-season roses. Angels light up at night. This image is instantly recognizable to all Mexicans.

We explore the streets of town...

We explore the streets of town...

...and find exotic flowers

...and find exotic flowers

Ceci shows us her elementary school.  This is very similar to the schools where Omar teaches.  The tires are playground equipment.

Ceci shows us her elementary school. This is very similar to the schools where Omar teaches. The tires are playground equipment.

Ceci's family have two houses.  This is where the grandparents lived.  When one of the six children are home with their families, they stay here.

Ceci's family have two houses. This is where the grandparents lived. When one of the six children are home with their families, they stay here.

The house is adobe, with a tile roof.

The house is adobe, with a tile roof.

Inside, the ceiling is supported by reedy stems.

Inside, the ceiling is supported by reedy stems.

The kitchen.

The kitchen.

Adobe is sun-baked clay with straw added as a stabilizer.  It lasts a long time, and doesn't pollute the eviroment like brickmaking does (they burn tires in the brick-baking ovens).  It's less stable in earthquakes and floods, though.

Adobe is sun-baked clay with straw added as a stabilizer. It lasts a long time, and doesn't pollute the eviroment like brickmaking does (they burn tires in the brick-baking ovens). It's less stable in earthquakes and floods, though.

Ceci's parents have a traditional round oven.  Ceci's mother says the stone door is too hard to remove when it is hot.  She's looking for a metal one.

Ceci's parents have a traditional round oven. Ceci's mother says the stone door is too hard to remove when it is hot. She's looking for a metal one.

It was drizzly and cool the day we went.  Coco stays toasty.

It was drizzly and cool the day we went. Coco stays toasty.

A giant toad lives in the garden.  He must weigh a pound and a half.

A giant toad lives in the garden. He must weigh a pound and a half.

The family's garden is at the foot of the hills.  The blue-green patch on the hill is agave, destined to become tequila.

The family's garden is at the foot of the hills. The blue-green patch on the hill is agave, destined to become tequila.

Corn season is past.  What we call corn smut, a black fungus that attacks the kernels, is known here as huitlacoche--Mexican caviar.  It is delicious in quesadillas.  Here it is old and dried out.

Corn season is past. What we call corn smut, a black fungus that attacks the kernels, is known here as huitlacoche--Mexican truffles. It is delicious in quesadillas. Here it is old and dried out.

The house and most of the items in it were made by the family.

The house and most of the items in it were made by the family.

A rustic ladder

A rustic ladder

Beekeepers will recognize the can above the door as a smoker, used to quite bees as you tend the hive Edit Text

Beekeepers will recognize the can above the door as a smoker, used to quite bees as you tend the hive

The door is held together by old saw blades.  Nothing goes wasted here

The door is held together by old saw blades. Nothing goes wasted here

Time to eat!  The family gathers in the patio

Time to eat! The family gathers in the patio

And fires up the grill with a splinter of resinous wood

And fires up the grill with a splinter of resinous wood

As the coals heat up, Omar chops tomatoes for a salsa

As the coals heat up, Omar chops tomatoes for a salsa

Meat and spring onions go on the grill

Meat and spring onions go on the grill

Meanwhile Ceci's father gathers firewood and corn cobs to roast ears of corn in the husk

Meanwhile Ceci's father gathers firewood and corn cobs to roast ears of corn in the husk

Sister Cristi begins grinding chilies in a molcajete

Sister Cristi begins grinding chilies in a molcajete

A molcajete is a bowl carved from volcanic basalt.  Food is ground with a hand held tejolote, or stone "doll."  It is a lot of work, but the salsa tastes great

A molcajete is a bowl carved from volcanic basalt. Food is ground with a hand held tejolote, or stone "doll." It is a lot of work, but the salsa tastes great

Tomatillos from the family's garden are shucked and ground into the sauce, along with a little sea salt.  The small ones are more sour, and are prefered for sauce.

Tomatillos from the family's garden are shucked and ground into the sauce, along with a little sea salt. The small ones are more sour, and are prefered for sauce.

The tomatillo and chile de arbol salsa is served in the molcajete

The tomatillo and chile de arbol salsa is served in the molcajete

Omar has finished his salsa Mexicana

Omar has finished his salsa Mexicana

And models a necklace traditionally used during the Festival of the Virgin of Zapopan, on October 12

And models a necklace traditionally used during the Festival of the Virgin of Zapopan, on October 12

The necklace is made of small fruits called tejocotes.  You can eat it!

The necklace is made of small fruits called tejocotes. You can eat it!

In the patio the corn is roasting

In the patio the corn is roasting

and the meat is coming along

and the meat is coming along

The corn is done

The corn is done

We let the first piece of meat cook too long, but the rest was tender and delicious

We let the first piece of meat cook too long, but the rest was tender and delicious

Everything smells so good!

Everything smells so good!

And it tastes great!  Chewy, smoky, and a little bit sweet

And it tastes great! Chewy, smoky, and a little bit sweet

Full and content

Full and content

While we visit the family's ducks...

While we visit the family's ducks...

Coco makes friends with "The strangest dog I've ever seen."

Coco makes friends with "The strangest dog I've ever seen."

Mexico is full of surprises.  Come enjoy it with us!

Mexico is full of surprises. Come enjoy it with us!

Come visit us!  We can take you to the Mexico tourists never see!

e365mexico@yahoo.com

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1 comment to The Country Life: A Day in Ahuisculco

  • I like all your pictures, you made me to get back years ago, one day I was there in the house of ceci’s grandparents with Cristy, we were like 12 years old.Ceci’s mom cooks the best camotes (sweet potatoes) in the traditional round oven but I have ever taste, no one cooks the sweet potatoes like her.I miss so much my town .

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Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.