We drove for just over an hour on a paved mountain road, then Don Jose (age 77) said it was time to turn off onto a single lane gravel road. This road went to a village 6.5 kms (4 miles) away! Good thing we didn't meet any other vehicles going the other way!
This single lane road is the only access to a village 6.5 kms away.
There are only about 16 houses in the village. There is a small store, and a primary school. Martin and Don Jose went to find the guy they know who's property we are going to for wild potato hunting! Sal went over and talked to a woman washing some dishes. I guarantee they don't get many visitors up in this area, especially gringos! She offered us coffee, and I was quick to take her up on that. Everybody is so friendly.
The primary school in the village. All schools, no matter how remote, have computerized satellite learning systems installed by the Ministry of Education. Teachers and students have access to videos, music, and virtual activities to make learning more interactive. Mexico is not as backwards as many people like to believe.
Martin and Don Jose had found their friend Fidel, and they came back and said we were to drive down this narrow little lane, and that would lead us to another track that would take us to the hiking path. We really should have had a 4 wheel drive, but Sal's driving got us there with only two wheel drive!
Here's the "road"!
Trying to decide if we can make it. We did!
We made it to the hiking trail, and there was even a spot to turn the truck around. I was kind of worried about that! Then, we had to hike about half an hour to the spot where we looked for the potatoes. It was absolutely beautiful scenery!
It was fairly hazy though, and a warm day.
Beautiful mountains in a remote area of Mexico.
Ruth and I went for a walk while the others were looking for the first potato. There was no point in us looking until we knew what to look for! Eventually, they found the first one. They are fairly rare, which makes them a bit of a delicacy. So then, we had to look for a certain type of leaf, almost like a vine. Then, you have to try to follow the vine to where it enters the ground. Then, you have to dig, sometimes a foot down to find the root and the potato. It's a lot of work!
You can see the side of the "potato" showing in the access hole they dug.
The potato (looks more like a parsnip to me) , and the leaf we have to look for.
Sal getting right in there looking for a single potato!
In all our hunting, we only found two potatoes! But the second one was much bigger. Apparently they can grow to 6 feet long and 10" diameter! Even the second one that Don Jose found was just over two feet long, and he broke part of it off to get it out.
Hiking back out.
Our potato hunting expedition! Ruth, Martin (holding the long potato), Fidel, Don Jose, and Sal.
This local dog in the village was watching the world go buy.
This little guy found himself an avocado to eat!
The local store had a solar hot water heater. Pretty high tech stuff for a village in the middle of nowhere.
Don Jose insisted that we keep the "potato" that he dug up. I still say they look like parsnips! Tonight, we're going to cook up some steaks and have Sal over for dinner. I guess we'll find out what these wild potatoes taste like!