Tue, Oct 3 – Huatulco (pronounced Wahtoco), Mexico is a tourist destination located on the Pacific coast in the state of Oaxaca. Its tourist industry is centered around its nine beautiful bays, but you are not seeing the tourists here like you do in the Mexican cities. The population of the area is around 50,000 people.
It was once the province of the pre-Columbian Zapotec civilization which ended around the 800s and later became a small fishing village. The government decided in the early 1980s to turn this area into another tourist resort area, however, it never came to be and so remains a small fishing area to this day. We are definitely in the tropics now, with the average temperature of 82° F .
We have decided to take the Rural Communities tour, which will take us out of the city and into a rural area where the villages have about 1000 people and farming is the main stay of their lives. Our first stop was at a local farmer's house where his mother (who is somewhere in her 80s) makes tortillas and tamales for sale to the local residents. We are given a demonstration: the corn is harvested and ground into flour and then she makes her tortillas and then cooks them on a outdoor oven - it is a rock wall circle with a large piece of steel on top that is coated with limestone to give it a nonstick surface. She has made us some tortillas and black bean tamales to sample. Not bad.
The son, who is the owner of the farm, runs a small grocery store (and we do mean small) and makes and sells his tequilla (which we were able to sample, but passed on it). The handicapped daughter (they told us severlal times she is handicapped) does some embroidery which was also for sale.
Our next stop was a Nopal Plantation - and please take that word "Plantation" with a grain of salt. Nopal means cactus and they had several different varieties and we were shown how to clean, prepare and cook
Our last stop was at a local rug artisan. He hand weaves his rugs after producing the yarn - which comes from his sheep, and then it is carded (cleaned) and then spun and dyed and then woven into his beautiful rugs. Again, we wished we could have bought a rug, but no way to get it back home and even if we could have, where would we put it! Oh well. It was all very interesting.
Every community has a church, and a basketball court, although we were told, no one knows how to play. The court becomes the local meeting place for community events. Also, the locals do a lot of walking or riding of bikes. They do have a local truck, which is covered, and has benches in the back, so that on days that it rains, or if you have a long trek into the city, for a couple of pesos you can get transportation back and forth - rather cool!
One of the things Russ picked up on was the internet antennas - it seems even out in the boonies there is still internet. We might consider these people poor because of the way they live, but you have to remember, that we are comparing them against our standards, not theirs. This is something we are learning as we travel Mexico. One of the things we are not seeing out in the local communities is any obesity. These people seem to be very healthy. They grow what they eat, they don't have a lot of waste, and they are very active. We could take a lesson or two. We headed back to the ship after this last stop.