Monday, March 27, 2000

PG Town

A couple of months before we left the States, I had written to a couple near PG about caretaking their self-sustaining farm and so we spent a day visiting with Alfredo out at Dem Dats Doin.

What an interesting place, with a biogas digester, solar energy, about ninety varieties of fruits and untold numbers of trees. It is way out in the jungle and if I were to take the job of caretaker, which is during the rainy season next year, I think I would like to have someone stay out there with me. It could be a real handful by myself. But it was so interesting, learning about the plants and sustainable living. They even make perfume using the flowers and we came home with ylang ylang flowers whose heady fragrance stays with them forever.

Alfredo took us throughout the property, taste-testing some very intriguing fruits! Some that looked inviting but were so bitter, they puckered your tongue, and others you wouldn't consider eating, but were delicous. It's a long way from the corporate world that he and Yvonne left behind, but how happy they are, and what an accomplishment to have carved a world for themselves out of the virgin jungle.

The following day we decided to go out to the butterfly farm and so set out fairly early. But we ran into a road that was beyond our little car's capabilities! We thought we were on the wrong road after bouncing around for a couple of miles, with the road getting progressively worse and worse until finally, the grade got so steep and the rocks so big we just couldn't make it. I had to back down the road, that in itself an interesting experience, and find a place to turn. On the way in a child materialized out of the jungle. With long dark hair, wearing a pair of red shorts and brandishing a machete, the child looked like a bit-player in a Tarzan movie. By the time we came back down the hill, she had disappeared into the scenery. (We later found out that the child was a boy!)

The local market is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays and we were up early. Truck loads of fruits and vegetables were piled along the pavement, guarded by Mayan, their inscrutable faces passive as we walked by. They had most likely risen at two or three that morning to arrive in time and get a good spot. Miriam's Cafe served delicious fry-jacks and coffee and we bought fresh papayas and custard apples. We headed back to the guest house before the day heated up.

PG is a mix of cultures, Mestizo, Creole, Garifuna, Mayan, European and East Indian. We found a great little restaurant called Auntie J's and had delicious curry. She made it from the heart of the cahune palm that we saw and tasted out at Dem Dats Doin. At the Mangrove Inn we also had great food, fresh fish and Susan said the best chicken she had ever tasted! We were very spoiled. And as usual we stayed "just one more day" before deciding that our next stop would be Hopkins, a Garifuna village up the coast. Talking to Benjamin at the Mangrove, he asked us to see a friend of his, Mike at the Swinging Armadillo! And we also discovered that Jungle Jeannie lives there too. Oh boy!


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