Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pre-hurrican Jitters in Chacala

Nopali, Nopal, (Opuntia ficus-indica)
Another Hurricane, Lane (isn't that a strange name for a hurricane) arrived yesterday, just two weeks after the last one (Juan). Luckily, neither of them "arrived", they both just scooted past Chacala, out over the ocean somewhere, and kept moving north. We got alot of rain, and some wind during the night, that's all.

I was feeling kind of nervous and anxious all day. I was thinking, "Ah, now that my son has gone home, this hurricane is really going to hit us!!!" So I went walking around town, visiting, playing with the kid-niks and taking pictures. And buying more water and TP. Just in case.

When I am out wandering around town, I always stop to pet one of the cutest little dogs in Chacala. He lives at this house with a large Nopal (called Nopali in Chacala), in front of it. One of my most helpful books, Ornamental Plants and Flowers of Tropical Mexico, says it's often called Prickly Pear Cactus. This one has red blossoms occasionally.

I have been reading about this plant, because some varieties (is that the right botanical word?) help diabetics control their glucose levels. As far as I can tell, it is very difficult for an ordinary person to tell which exact Nopali is good for diabetes.

But everyone in town is convinced that their Nopali is the right plant for diabetics. I get harassed by lots of people for drinking Cokes, and offered lots of Nopali to nibble on. Many people know I have Type 2 diabetes because I give glucose tests with my little meter to anyone who asks.

So, anyway, I end up snacking on little pieces of Nopali, wherever I go in town. Women are always chopping Nopali leaves into little pieces. It's used cooked in recipes, or as raw veggie, like cucumber or celery. It tastes fine and has a nice crispy texture, so I don't mind eating it. Whether or not it's the medically correct type.
I almost always run into these two little sweethearts whenever I am walking around town. Markito is on the left, and Hector Adrian is on the right. They are cousins, from the family of Don Beto and Dona Lupe, who live on the beach and operate a campground. There are more than 40 members of this family living in Chacala right now, counting spouses and kids. I love it that these kids have so much family to watch after them and to play with.

I have no clue where the "hand behind the head" pose came from. I didn't notice it until I had downloaded these photos.


Sylvia said...

Hi. They're right about the nopales. According to my book (Michael Moore, Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West) the treatment for Type II Diabetes is to drink 2-4 oz of the juice 1-2 times a day.

Robert Brinkmann said...

A question: I see the prickly pair leaves for sale at farmer's markets. It's largely Hispanics that I see buying them. I don't have a clue how to clean them or eat them. Do you peal them? What about the prickly parts? I want to try them, but haven't because I don't know how to manage them.

By the way, do you ever see chayote squash growing down there?

Kati said...

That's very interesting. There are varieties of opuntia which are hardy in my part of Canada, believe it or not! I wonder if they too might be beneficial to diabetics? And the kidlets! how cute are they!! They look maybe a little younger than my granddaughter, who will be five at the beginning of October.

Jill said...

Cute picture. These little Latino kids make my biological clock go crazy!!

Robert Brinkmann said...

Haven't seen a post from you lately? Did you weather the storm okay?