Progreso - a main street in the morning quiet before the cruise ship arrives
Below - A very nice restaurant on the Malecon. The Malecon is the main beach front street.
A Desert Rose at our hotel - Nicte Ha
Classic storefront though no longer in business
Boat readying for departure and heading out to sea for the night or longer, as octopus season has arrived. Note the small boats on the bow.
The small boats are launched when the destination for octopus fishing is reached. Russel tells us the nickname for these small boats - coffins. Apparently many fisherman have died at sea for one reason or another and the boats have wash ashore empty.
The fisherman use the hand lines - pictured below - stored against the hull. In preparation for this trip they have also been out catching land crabs which are used for bait. The crabs are tied with a harness of sorts to keep them from escaping or fighting. There are buckets of harnessed crabs on board which leads us to believe they plan on catching lots of octopus. The procedure, to the best of our understanding goes as follows.
The fisherman ties the harnessed crab to the line dropping it to the bottom and then waits for an octopus to grab it, then hauls both of them to the surface. The fisherman gets the crab free from the octopus: we are sure this requires a very special talent knowing octopus prefer not to let go. Once the crab is free back it goes to the bottom for another round. I asked, " How many times can you use the same crab?" Reply, "Diaz" "Ten times?!" I ask. "Si"
Each fisherman can have 10 to 12 lines down at one time so we suspect it can get busy.
A fraction of the hand lines neatly stowed.
Icing the hold
The bamboo pole off the bow has a twin off the stern. Hand lines are tied to these as well.
Off they go.
This is not the greatest picture but we have to share it. It is of the fishing boat coming in. The two white orbs are the running lights: flourescent lights tied to the mast and boom.
Yucatan and Mayan Treats
Dragon Fruit, only found in the Yucatan
One of these is the size of two of my fists. Tastes like kiwi fruit. We wrote about this fruit when in Progreso last year, but did not have local tips. This year we learned......
....the locals make juice from the white part. Mashing and mixing with water. Or just eat the way it is. The hot pink and lime green skins are not for eating.
Another treasure - Naranja Agria - sour orange. Indeed they are sour! The juice is used in many Mayan and Yucateco recipes. I am juicing the last of the batch to freeze into ice cubes for future recipes.
One of our favorites is this radish relish. We use it in our fish tacos, or as salad dressing, or on grilled fish or chicken. Your choice.
The ingredients are finely diced radishes, minced fresh cilantro and sour orange juice. Proportions directly related to your taste preferences. Keeps for several days in the refrigerator.
Other ingredients not pictured:
Oregano Yucateco. I do not know what kind of oregano is grown here but it is roasted and that imparts a fabulous flavor to any dish. Perhaps a place like Penzey's may have it.
Sikil Paak - Pepitas - pumpkin seeds roasted then finely ground. Grill some tomatoes, mash gently and mix in Sikil Paak and sour orange to taste. We used it on our fish, chicken, eggs whatever you like tomatoes on.
Ricado Rojo - freshly made in the market. It is a thick chili paste used as a base in recipes such as
Poc Chuc - grilled pork, and Pollo Asado - grilled chicken.
I also made Pineapple Salsa - Excellent with smoked pork chops; which are in every market here as well as in the Bay Islands of Honduras. Also, especially good in fish or chicken tacos.
Los Dos has a substitute for sour orange: a combination of lime and grapefruit juice.