The Transnistria parliament building with a statue of Lenin out front. In the city of Tiraspol, Transnistria. Photo taken December 9, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Eating fried grasshoppers

A cold front passed through yesterday and it was mostly overcast as well. The high only went up to 17C (63F), but it's supposed to be nicer today and then getting back over 27C (80F) by Monday. So far today, the sun is shining. Yesterday was supposed to be a day of rest, but we still managed to get out exploring and it turns out we were gone for over four hours!

First, we had to find a bank machine and get some more Mexican cash. HSBC machines have always worked for us, so I looked up where the bank was and we walked over there. Sure enough, it worked with no problems.

We have to pay our rent for the week. The place we're staying has several rental apartments and some are smaller than others. We wanted one of the smaller ones at around 2,000 pesos ($166) for the week but they were unavailable when we made the booking. So we were put in a larger one at 2,450 ($203) per week and we asked if we could move if one of the smaller ones became available during our stay. Sure enough, the manager Susana came by yesterday and advised that we could move this morning after 11:00am, so we're glad to be able to save a few pesos and don't mind making the move.

So far, we're really happy with the apartments and the people running the place. They have a website at http://www.oaxacapartments.com/ and they're located right downtown. However don't trust their reservation or availability software...make the phone call or send them an email to confirm.

Some of the central area has streets closed to traffic.

The bank entrance had these huge old wooden doors.

Templo del Patricinio

This old church has a rocky history. It's origins aren't confirmed although they think it was built nearby around 1794 and then destroyed in a huge earthquake in 1795 and rebuilt at it's current location. Since the 1850's it's been renovated twice, damaged twice again by major eathquakes, abandoned for fifty years, renovated again, but here it sits, still looking pretty dilapidated.

It also has some big old wooden doors, but they are deteriorating.

Another nearby church, the Guadelupe Sanctuary was inaugurated in 1644.

As we were wandering around, we heard music and headed over to the Templo de Santo Domingo. We want to see the interior of this church, but most churches are closed between 1:00pm to 4:00pm and it was now about 1:15pm. Turns out that a wedding had just finished, and the celebrating was just beginning!



When a big enough crowd had gathered, the party continued with a procession down the street...music, and dancing and fireworks! We watched the fun for a while.

Then we headed to the market. We hadn't had lunch yet so we were getting hungry and the food stalls at the markets are usually pretty cheap. We went to the big central market (Mercado de Abastos). It's huge, and it's actually pretty easy to get lost in there! We found a stall where they were making tlayudas. Large thin corn flour tortillas, folded over with meat and lettuce and peppers and sauce. Delicious. They're quite large, so Ruth and I shared one for 40 pesos ($3.32).

As we were finished eating, a lady came by selling fried grasshoppers. This is definitely a Oaxacan delicacy and strangely enough, Ruth wanted to try them. The lady offered us one each and as we snacked on them she explained that she had baby ones (they almost look like ants!) as well as adults. We ended up buying a small bag of each for 5 pesos (43 cents) per bag.

Ruth, talking with the lady selling fried grasshoppers.

What do they taste like? Well, they're cooked with lots of chili powder and lime juice so we wonder if that's really to mask the unsavory flavor of the grasshoppers, or if it just spices them up a little. It's a different flavor for sure, but not one that I either like or dislike. They went down okay with a beer later that afternoon!

Not sure what's on the agenda for today, but maybe we'll walk down to the river and see what's going on there. The sun is shining and it's starting to warm up!

31 comments:

  1. mmm..crispy "saltamontes". (no thanks)

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    1. They call them "chapulines" here and they seem more like dried rather than fried. We had to give them a try at least. We could take them or leave them.

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  2. Now those grasshoppers, sound quite interesting. I will try almost anything once if it is prepared properly.

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    1. Yep, they are interesting and we feel now that you have to try anything at least once. How would you know if you like something without at least trying it first.

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  3. I love the wedding photos. They sure know how to celebrate!

    You two are a bit more daring than I. I might just taste one...might.

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    1. Yep, the Mexicans sure do know how to party!

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  4. So glad you are in Oaxaca City. This is a city I have read about and find very interesting. Isn't this where they make a mole flavored with ants?

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    1. So are we! We have heard many good things about the city and the surounding areas and look forward to exploring the area.

      We asked about the mole with the ants and we were told that there isn't a mole made with ants but there is a salsa that is made with ants.

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  5. The Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman in Oaxaca was in February's Where Are You contest. Small world!

    http://www.cntraveler.com/contests/where-are-you/2013/02/where-are-you-february-2013

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    1. That's pretty neat. We are really looking forward to visiting this church. Thanks, for the link.

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  6. Kevins sister ElaineMarch 3, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Can't believe you tried the grasshoppers, Ruth - I couldn't do it.

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    1. I am a different person now that we have done so much traveling Elaine, and I am willing to just about give anything a try now.

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  7. Boy those bank doors are imposing. Guess that was the point, to make you think your money is safe.

    I've eaten friend grasshoppers without quite so much spice and thought they were crunchy and good but I like snails too so maybe I just like weird things. :-)

    Love the celebration for mexican weddings. What a great day for everyone. Including you lucky guys.

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    1. Those doors were there long before the bank ever was. Many doors in some of the big, old buildings had huge wooden doors, especially the churches.

      Don't think we have ever tried snails, I am sure one day we will.

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  8. The chapulín is definitely an acquired taste! Also good covered with chocolate.

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    1. I think I would like to try chocolate covered ones even better!

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  9. What a fun day - love everything - NOT the fried grasshoppers though!
    Connie in PA

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    1. You have to give them at least a try, Connie!

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  10. butterbean carpenterMarch 3, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    Howdy R&K,
    I'm game to eat anything, except rats or cucarachas; I could really go the CHOCOLATE covered ANYTHING, Joyce says if it's got ketchup, chocolate , garlic or HOT salsa on it, I'll eat it !!!
    Detours are almost always an adventure and 'short-cuts' are even more fun; if you are in a high-clearance 4-wheel vehicle or have pavement!!! Y'all were okay with the taxi escort...The waterfall was wonderful and I wish you'd had a lantern in the cave!!! That long shot was a good one; how long did it take you to reach Ruth after you took the pic??
    Hope y'all make a lot of memories in Oxaxca !!! Get some pics too, also!!!

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    1. The little blue car does pretty good with getting us where we want to go, even without being a high clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle.

      We wished we had taken some kind of light into the cave with us as well. It didn't take Kevin long to reach me, maybe 2 minutes or so.

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  11. I've heard that grasshoppers taste like gator which tastes like snake which tastes like chicken. I think I'll stick to chicken in the first place... ;c)

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    1. We can certainly attest to the fact that fried grasshoppers (chapalines) do not taste anything like chicken, but iguana does!

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  12. Iguana! A la plancha, my favorite meal! Like frog legs x 10. Here's a self portrait, enjoying "Hotcakes in Oaxaca", from the early 'eighties:
    http://johnfarnsworth.com/wpimages/wp9730f08b_14.jpg
    Haven't been back since, but to many other parts. Thinking, now, of heading down for Semana Santa.

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    1. Never tried Iguana a la plancha, we had iguana shrimp soup. It was good but too many bones and not enough meat.

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    2. I highly recommend you try it a la plancha, given a chance. I tried the Maguey worms at La Fonda del Refugio in Mexico, D.F., once, but found them rather bland. Tried armadillo once, but it may as well have been boiled pork.

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  13. I just noticed that you're headed to Puebla. Don't miss the beautiful tiled kitchen in the Convent of Santa Rosa, where Mole Poblano was invented by the Sisters of the convent. The convent also houses a very nice Museo de Artesanias, worth a visit.
    Also, Puebla is an excellent place to take in a Charreada.

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    1. Thank you, we will try to keep that in mind when we visit Puebla. I think we will only be there for a couple of days.

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  14. my students have eaten them (one even made a guide to!)... idk. crunch crunch!

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    1. We figured that lots of people eat them so they have to be OK and you can't experience an area without trying out some of their local food. They really weren't that bad!

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