Marco from Couchsurfing had agreed to host us while staying in Jalpan. He lived on the hill side in a nice one bedroom apartment, where we could park the motorcycles in the front yard.
Want all the details? Keep reading and enjoy the pictures. Marco is a doctor with a master degree in sports medicine, so he met us at the hospital in Jalpan, which was easy to find. Marco made us a nice bed in a corner of the apartment, and together with Esben, they tried to connect Marco’s new stove.
The stove was new, but still not all the parts were there, and it was not possible to connect the stove without it was leaking propane. No cocking tonight, so Marco took us to downtown Jalpan to taste a corn on a stick. The corn is then covered with mayonnaise, rolled in Mexican cheese and drizzled with chili power. We love it and we will eat more of them!
After the corn we visited the local fair. The fair was a lot like the smaller fairs we have in Denmark during local celebrations (In Danish: “byfest”) – the biggest difference was the food
At the local fair we were introduced to a Michelada. First the guy made a homemade Michelada after his secret recipe. A michelada is a Mexican cerveza preparada made with beer, lime juice, clamato juice and assorted sauces, spices, and some have chili peppers. He put a lit on top and add fresh seafood with hot sauce and lime.
The seafood on top was a mix of shrimp, octopus and imitated crab. It was delicious and the homemade michelada definitively beats the store version of a Michelada in a can! Served with chips on the side, of course with hot sauce and lime. There are numerous variations of this beverage throughout Mexico and Latin America. We will try more of the Micheladas!
The next day Marco took us to a nice breakfast place were we ate waffles (which is not Mexican) with fresh fruit and I asked for yoghurt on the side. The lady looked at me and gave give me some yoghurt, I guess that is a “Camilla thing”, because in Denmark we would eat it with ice cream or marmalade and sugar. Add a nice cup of coffee and you have the perfect breakfast. With full stomachs we were ready to visit the local market.
With Marco as a guide he introduced us to more of the Mexican specialties. Buying a weird fruit, or was it a fruit at all? You tear it open and eat the small white marbles. They tasted bitter, and the lady was looking at us, and told us that we only had to eat what is inside the small white marbles. Just saying it was a lot of work and it didn’t really taste of anything. It is not a fruit that will make you gain weight.
Buying a purple corn mushroom/fungus. Fry chopped onion and chili pepper on a pan and add the corn mushroom. Don’t overcook it, there still have to be a little bite left in the corn mushroom. Serve as a vegetable side for meat or cheese.
Some kind of green and yellow plum (left picture). The peal was thick and a little bit bitter, but the meat inside was sweet and sour at the same time. Love it! And we have never tasted so fresh peanuts. They are so much better than the ones you buy in a bag.
Here in Mexico we have meet four different kinds of bananas. The yellow banana, which we can get in Denmark and is the normal kind of banana for us. Then there is the plantain, which is not sweet and can be used instead of potatoes as a side dish. The third one is a yellow baby banana, which only tastes a little bit different of the yellow banana, but is more firm. The fourth is a red banana, which has a great flavor, but is less sweet than the yellow banana.
We tasted all the banana’s except from the plantain, they are great. Well it was not just vegetables and fruit. We taste dried Mexican meat. First the butcher (we thought he was) cuts out the meat extremely thin, and after that they hang it to dry. As far as we know, the butcher did not add anything to the meat to preserve it or to add flavor. To be honest the smell of the meat was harsh and the flavor more “old” than “fresh”. What can I say… we tasted the meat.
We loved shopping at the local marked with Marco, and we came home with food for the next couple of days. Esben also felt in love with this big piece of fried pork skin (In Danish: “Flæskesvær”) in Mexico called “chicharrõn” serve with lime and hot sauce (the Mexican’s just can’t live without their lime and hot sauce, and it is also something that we will keep doing and take with us home).
After the fourth try the stove was connected and we could cook at Marco’s place. Making dinner (left picture): a chunky salsa with mango, rice with tomatoes and fish. Enjoying having a refrigerator we had papaya with yoghurt and granola for breakfast (right picture) and don’t forget the coffee.
While Marco had to go to work, Esben and I visited the local gym. The name of the gym was “Ares Gym”, which was printed on all the weights – so cool! Because it was our first time, we could train for free! They played music from YouTube, and we even got them to play several music numbers with Volbeat. Loved the local gym and the people there was so nice. Please notice the cool banners in the background, in the left picture you have “The Rock” and in the right picture “Arnold Schwarzenegger”.
Marco had a day of and he took us to the river “Rio Escanela” that goes through the National Park Sierra de Gorda, where we went on a hike going up stream to Cascada de ???.
The hike it self was beautiful and amazing. Both Esben and I are really happy that we try to stay in scape on our adventure, which made the hike easier.
We kept walking through the jungle…
We reached several waterfall on the hike (left picture). We came to a cave were the waterfalls were running through holes in the ceiling (right picture)
After the cave the hiking trail started to disappear and we when exploring with Marco in the lead, where there was nobody else.
The exploring stopped when we met this snake (it was a small snake), because I almost panicked and didn’t wanted to go any further.
We turned around and on the way back the guys jumped into the water and swam through a narrow canyon. The water was cold, but the temperature in Jalpan had been between 30-40 Celsius because of the tropical climate, so it was a great opportunity to cool down.
After the hike we went to a small family restaurant to eat “Comida corrida”, which is meal of the day and included soup, pork with rice and beans and one glass of jamaica.
Jalpan is the gateway to the five missions constructed by Franciscan monks and their indigenous converts in the 1750’s. In the center of Jalpan you can visit one of them (left picture). The other mission is the one in Landa de Matamoros (right picture). The mission in Jalpan does not only ring the bell, it plays a small melody using several bells. We loved the melodies that was played at noon, 3 pm, 6 pm and 9 pm every day. We liked the tune at 9 pm the best.
Jalpan is a great little town and Marco made the visit even better. Marco is a guy, who has so many interesting thing to give. We had many interesting conversations, and our understanding and knowledge about Mexico and the Mexican lifestyle have improved. Hopefully we will keep in touch with Marco, and he is always more than welcome to visit us in Denmark or in another part of the world.
Marco playing the piano (left picture) and teaching the local kinds in carboerra (right picture)
The clouds were gathering, and we had our first rain since we left California (USA)
It was time to say “goodbye” to Jalpan and “see you” to Marco. Thank you for being our host and friend.