Exploring – Santa Catarina Palopó

Earlier this month, we took the kids on their first truck ride to a nearby village. Trucks in this area are used like informal buses to take passengers from village to village. When the back is full, the truck begins it’s short journey. It’s a fun and convenient way to travel.

While we wandered, we came right into contact with one of Jason’s previous students, Maria. She is now attending college on the weekdays and runs her family’s handicraft booth on the weekends. It was a joy to see her. And she told us she still had a photo of “baby Luke” from when we last lived here. So special.

Many of the beautiful textiles here are created by women weaving the material by hand using these looms.

Exploring the twisting pathways that make up the majority of the towns “roads.”


We thoroughly enjoyed all the beautiful blues and greens used in decorating their buildings.

We told the kids that if they’d make the 2 1/2 mile walk back to Pana without too much complaining, we could stop for a snack along the way and get ice cream when we arrived back in Pana. We found this little cafe to stop at, perched on the hill with amazing views. What a delight!

And the promised ice cream! After a day full of walking and with very few complaints. Love that.

Trying more new foods

We encounter new foods nearly everyday here. We’ve made it a goal to buy and try at least one new fruit or veggie from the open-air market each week. Here is what we’ve been trying lately:

Wiskil (wisk-eel), a spiny, squash-like vegetable that needs to be peeled, de-seeded and boiled for 25 minutes or so before use. Once cooked, it tasted to us like a cross between a potato and a zucchini. Very versatile to use and easy to find.

Pepino Dulce and Maracuya (another type of passion fruit). The maracuya was delicious! The vendor had told us that the pepino dulce was like a melon and would be tasty with lime and salt on it. He was right! By itself, it was pretty bland but it was delicious when topped with lime & salt or added to a tomato, cucumber and lime salad.

Sapote (saw-poe-tay) is beautifully vibrant with a wacky looking seed, but wasn’t our favorite to eat by itself. After researching, it seems it would be good in smoothies or made into ice cream.

Probably our favorite of this bunch – Star Fruit or Carambola. I bought a dozen on accident, so it’s good we like them! (I’ll now never forget the spanish word for dozen = docena!) They are delicious just sliced and eaten, even the peel/skin is edible – think of a bell pepper. They have a crisp texture and lovely apple/pear/citrus flavor. I’m going to make a star-fruit upside-down cake and also use them in salad. Yum!

Luke’s favorite “new thing” to try — Frozen Hot Chocolate! He’s a big fan 🙂