A Little Haiku…First Days in Mexico and an Ode to the Cold Shower

Happy Sunday all! I’m going out of contact for the next week but have some stories lined up from recent and past travels – I won’t be responding to comments until I get back from a certain place in the Caribbean that I’m *not* visiting (wink, wink), but don’t let that stop you from sharing thoughts and stories, I’ll be reading them all next weekend  :-)

Current Vegetarian Mexican Food Situation

coox hanal salsas

Mexican salsas

As for the current moment, I’ve been in Mexico for four days now and concluded that I’m going to be eating the same basic handful of foods for the next three months. I knew that Central and South America were heavily meat eating cultures…but somehow I wasn’t anticipating the amount of fried foods, mushrooms, and cheese that I would consume! Add that to the basic beans and rice and you have a pretty clear picture of my current diet.

On a very big up side, it’s all been incredibly tasty! And the deserts are excellent; I’ve fallen for the churros here – the churros, and the charming young girl selling the churros who knows that my Spanish is still rusty and yet still can’t manage to slow down enough for us to Churrería Calderónclearly communicate beyond the basic transaction and some of my bumbling attempts to make conversation. As for the churros, I know that I have access to them in the states, but only now have I fully discovered the joy of ending each day with a bag full of hot and cinnamon-y fried goodness.

The backpacker side of Cancun is distinctly different than the resort areas, the hostels are right in the middle of a mostly Mexican neighborhood so all of the food is cheap and plentiful – about two dollars buys a complete meal of the most mind-blowingly awesome quesadillas – unlike in the States, these messy tacos and quesadillas are filled to the brim and then loaded up with sour cream, cheese, and a wide range of salsas, onions, and pico.

My first foodie lesson? Ask about the salsas before I dive in and slather it all over my food. Although I’m pretty proud of my tolerance for spicy foods, the colorful green and red salsas can be incredibly deceiving. The red salsa at one vendor was solo un poco picante (only a bit spicy) similar looking salsa elsewhere had my forehead perspiring while my lips went a bit numb on the inside and my nose started dripping.

Fun times.

And Now, the Promised Haiku

I’ve been off the road for a good four months now and was gladdened to know that some things never change…no matter what country I’m in, I continually discover the joys of the cold shower.

 

Ode to the Cold Shower

Spray drizzling weakly
Fleeting, I dash in and out
Wet kisses tingle.

Photo thanks to Scaredy_Kat and Daquella Manera

*Last updated on:

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48 Responses to A Little Haiku…First Days in Mexico and an Ode to the Cold Shower

  1. ShannonOD March 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    I have pretty much gotten used to it – cold is the norm..it's a fun bonus
    day when it's hot! :-)

  2. enrolled agent exams March 21, 2010 at 1:17 am #

    I have to say that I love your Ode to the cold Shower. I'm one of those people who would check the cold shower right away when I arrive at the hotel.

    • ShannonOD March 22, 2010 at 12:40 am #

      I have pretty much gotten used to it – cold is the norm..it's a fun bonus
      day when it's hot! :-)

  3. Ricca March 20, 2010 at 6:17 pm #

    I have to say that I love your Ode to the cold Shower. I'm one of those people who would check the cold shower right away when I arrive at the hotel.

  4. ShannonOD March 17, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    Thanks for the warning on the beans…I really have just learned to let that
    battle go some days and no longer ask very often when I am at restaurants.
    :-)

    As for Xela, I will absolutely take that rec! I'm heading there in a couple
    of weeks and will now look at that town as a shining beacon in my foodie and
    trekking future!

  5. Audrey March 17, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    I forgot to mention that you do have to look at the ingredients on the bags of refried beans. Some brands use animal fat to cook the beans while others are pure veg. If you are in Xela (Guatemala), stop by Quetzal Trekkers at the Argentina Hostel. They do an amazing job cooking vegetarian/vegan meals on their treks and would probably have some great suggestions for you. Really fun group of people, too. Treks are awesome as well.

  6. ShannonOD March 4, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    Cold showers are one of those things I try to tell myself that I like so
    that I deal better ;-) As for the churros – I just can't stop, there's a
    little stand right around the corner from my hostel…they know me now that
    I've been here a week and come multiple times a day!

  7. ShannonOD March 4, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Wow, those refried beans in a bag sound like they'll be my best friend soon
    too – haven't seen them yet but I'll keep my eyes on the look out! :-)

  8. ShannonOD March 4, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    I have been simply amazed by the difference Arlene! There's certainly the
    stable beans and rice, but the tacos, quesadillas and other foods are really
    so different!

  9. ShannonOD March 4, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    I've only heard tough things about South America – but you're so right – the
    markets make up for the fact that it can be so hard to find street food,
    some of the veggies are just gorgeous! :-)

  10. ShannonOD March 3, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    Lol! Very true, you have to wonder how anyone can build up the taste buds to
    handle those explosive ones. ;-)

  11. ShannonOD March 3, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

    Thanks Anil! Aruba was great ;-)

  12. ShannonOD March 3, 2010 at 7:23 pm #

    Thanks for the sentiments Andy, I'm back and you'll be hearing my thoughts
    on the place once I get back to the States – it was a pretty interesting
    visit all in all though – completely different from what I was expecting.
    :-)

  13. ShannonOD March 3, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    Look at you commenting on here – it's been a while! :-)

  14. Niki March 3, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    Howdy Howdy

    • ShannonOD March 4, 2010 at 2:22 am #

      Look at you commenting on here – it's been a while! :-)

  15. Niki March 3, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    Howdy Howdy

  16. mina February 28, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    I was introduced to churros in Mexico City. Sooo goood.

    I can't deal with cold showers.

    • ShannonOD March 4, 2010 at 6:55 pm #

      Cold showers are one of those things I try to tell myself that I like so
      that I deal better ;-) As for the churros – I just can't stop, there's a
      little stand right around the corner from my hostel…they know me now that
      I've been here a week and come multiple times a day!

  17. mina February 28, 2010 at 5:06 am #

    I was introduced to churros in Mexico City. Sooo goood.

    I can't deal with cold showers.

  18. Audrey February 25, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

    We met a vegan traveling around Central America for about a year. I wondered how he survived, but he was fine with pasta & beans/rice every day. I guess if you have enough condiments and salsas you can make anything edible! Food in Guatemala is pretty good, but I'm afraid it drops off after that in Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. The refried beans in a bag with a pile of tortillas and bottle of hot sauce became our best friend sometimes when we couldn't take more fried chicken or some other fried thing. Have fun where you are now!!

    • ShannonOD March 4, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

      Wow, those refried beans in a bag sound like they'll be my best friend soon
      too – haven't seen them yet but I'll keep my eyes on the look out! :-)

      • Audrey March 17, 2010 at 5:34 pm #

        I forgot to mention that you do have to look at the ingredients on the bags of refried beans. Some brands use animal fat to cook the beans while others are pure veg. If you are in Xela (Guatemala), stop by Quetzal Trekkers at the Argentina Hostel. They do an amazing job cooking vegetarian/vegan meals on their treks and would probably have some great suggestions for you. Really fun group of people, too. Treks are awesome as well.

        • ShannonOD March 18, 2010 at 2:12 am #

          Thanks for the warning on the beans…I really have just learned to let that
          battle go some days and no longer ask very often when I am at restaurants.
          :-)

          As for Xela, I will absolutely take that rec! I'm heading there in a couple
          of weeks and will now look at that town as a shining beacon in my foodie and
          trekking future!

  19. Audrey February 25, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    We met a vegan traveling around Central America for about a year. I wondered how he survived, but he was fine with pasta & beans/rice every day. I guess if you have enough condiments and salsas you can make anything edible! Food in Guatemala is pretty good, but I'm afraid it drops off after that in Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. The refried beans in a bag with a pile of tortillas and bottle of hot sauce became our best friend sometimes when we couldn't take more fried chicken or some other fried thing. Have fun where you are now!!

  20. Earl February 23, 2010 at 4:56 am #

    Welcome to Mexico!

    I've run into the same issue here with finding non-meat items…but you can always order vegetarian huaraches, tostadas and sopes at any local place…the people working at the restaurant will think you're weird but will make it for you nonetheless and they offer a nice change of pace, at least in form, from quesadillas!

    Another option is the restaurant 100% Natural – prices are more in the $6 – $8 range for meals but it is as close to a vegetarian paradise as you'll find anywhere in Mexico. Its well worth a visit! It's centrally located and anyone will know where it is.

    I was actually just in Cancun this past weekend!

  21. Gourmantic February 23, 2010 at 2:49 am #

    I'll have to remember 'wet kisses' next time I am cursing a cold shower! ;)

  22. Arlene February 23, 2010 at 1:53 am #

    This was fun. Yep, it is amazing when you get the real deal rather than what is passed of for authentic Mexican food and the chains in the States.

    • ShannonOD March 4, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

      I have been simply amazed by the difference Arlene! There's certainly the
      stable beans and rice, but the tacos, quesadillas and other foods are really
      so different!

  23. Earl February 22, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    Welcome to Mexico!

    I've run into the same issue here with finding non-meat items…but you can always order vegetarian huaraches, tostadas and sopes at any local place…the people working at the restaurant will think you're weird but will make it for you nonetheless and they offer a nice change of pace, at least in form, from quesadillas!

    Another option is the restaurant 100% Natural – prices are more in the $6 – $8 range for meals but it is as close to a vegetarian paradise as you'll find anywhere in Mexico. Its well worth a visit! It's centrally located and anyone will know where it is.

    I was actually just in Cancun this past weekend!

  24. Adriana February 22, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

    it´s hard to be a vegetarian in South America (I live in Brazil) if you live here, let alone visiting… the good thing is there´s lot´s of fresh fruits and vegetables! can you find those easily in markets in Mexico?

    • ShannonOD March 4, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

      I've only heard tough things about South America – but you're so right – the
      markets make up for the fact that it can be so hard to find street food,
      some of the veggies are just gorgeous! :-)

  25. Arlene February 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    This was fun. Yep, it is amazing when you get the real deal rather than what is passed of for authentic Mexican food and the chains in the States.

  26. Sofia - As We Travel February 22, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    Some spices are really so strong you wonder what they're really used for; food or explosives..

    • ShannonOD March 4, 2010 at 2:25 am #

      Lol! Very true, you have to wonder how anyone can build up the taste buds to
      handle those explosive ones. ;-)

  27. Adriana February 22, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    it´s hard to be a vegetarian in South America (I live in Brazil) if you live here, let alone visiting… the good thing is there´s lot´s of fresh fruits and vegetables! can you find those easily in markets in Mexico?

  28. Sofia - As We Travel February 22, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    Some spices are really so strong you wonder what they're really used for; food or explosives..

  29. Anil February 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    Have a great vacation in Jamaica or Aruba, all good ol' legal places for Americans to spend money ;)

    • ShannonOD March 4, 2010 at 2:24 am #

      Thanks Anil! Aruba was great ;-)

  30. Andy Mesa February 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    Yay Cuba! That is where I'm from.

    Cuban food is most definitely not vegan/veggie friendly. It's been a challenge for my many vegan friends in Portland to try out the food of my people, but some rice and beans, fried plantains, maduros (everybody's favorite), and an eggplant munyeta usually does the trick.

    Food in Cuba is pretty bland for obvious reasons, if you're not sticking to resort areas which I assume you aren't. Miami would be the best place to really try it out. Have fun!

    • ShannonOD March 4, 2010 at 2:23 am #

      Thanks for the sentiments Andy, I'm back and you'll be hearing my thoughts
      on the place once I get back to the States – it was a pretty interesting
      visit all in all though – completely different from what I was expecting.
      :-)

  31. Abby February 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    The next time my running water goes out for a week, or my always cold shower gets reduced to a pathetic drizzle aimed right at the shower wall, I will have to write it a poem. Have fun in the sun!

    • ShannonOD February 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

      I think you should! It makes it all a little more fun ;-) Although a week
      w/out water sounds intense -you could write some awesome poetry about that!
      At least you're near the ocean right? (i believe you are :-)

  32. Anil February 21, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    Have a great vacation in Jamaica or Aruba, all good ol' legal places for Americans to spend money ;)

  33. Andy Mesa February 21, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    Yay Cuba! That is where I'm from.

    Cuban food is most definitely not vegan/veggie friendly. It's been a challenge for my many vegan friends in Portland to try out the food of my people, but some rice and beans, fried plantains, maduros (everybody's favorite), and an eggplant munyeta usually does the trick.

    Food in Cuba is pretty bland for obvious reasons, if you're not sticking to resort areas which I assume you aren't. Miami would be the best place to really try it out. Have fun!

  34. ShannonOD February 21, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    I think you should! It makes it all a little more fun ;-) Although a week
    w/out water sounds intense -you could write some awesome poetry about that!
    At least you're near the ocean right? (i believe you are :-)

  35. Abby February 21, 2010 at 7:25 am #

    The next time my running water goes out for a week, or my always cold shower gets reduced to a pathetic drizzle aimed right at the shower wall, I will have to write it a poem. Have fun in the sun!

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