a MOLE of Coffee Flowers

We shared a taxi with some local girls and their kids up the road from Santa Maria Huatulco to the beautiful tropical mountain-crest village of Pluma Hidalgo. We decided to treat ourselves to a night in a quiet room in the Finca Don Gabriel.

On the way the girls taught us that “Finca” which I thought was a general word for Farm, actually means Fin de Cafe: where the coffee beans end up to be processed and milled.

This famous Finca is placed in the middle of a wonderful fruit forest, with mango trees and exotic flowers growing everywhere. The food at the restaurant was whole and incredibly cheap so we stuffed our faces with our favourite dish of the holiday: Mole. A special sauce, made of about 20 ingredients that differ a lot from kitchen to cocina economica, from region to estado inside Mexico- as a consequence, mole can be presented in many shades of brown, red or even green. Some of the ingredients I have managed to fish out of the friendliest of the cooks are: peanuts (which sends a reminder to the delicious Indonesian specialities), coffee, cocoa, chili, almonds… The palate effect is an exotic explosion of flavors turning on your taste buds. Mole is usually consumed over meat, but being a vegetarian- at times even vegan- sauce, it can simply be requested over rice or local panela cheese.

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With my bag full of mini mangos I’d just picked, we set off to find a waterfall, back up the road to a crossways and down another dirt track along the side of the mountain. We went past farmer’s homes that got humbler and humbler, the coffee plantations around us got denser and more sented as we suddenly realized we had stepped into spring time. These beautiful white coffee flowers release an inebriating perfume, that makes you want to enter the bushes and never have to leave… become part of nature, become one with the coffee beans.

There are no signs for the waterfall when you reach the turning to the left… we had the luck of meeting a couple of elderly but extremely fit women hiking up from the valley and tell us we had just missed the turning. We also stopped to ask an old man for directions, as we didn’t expect to have to walk for 2 hours to this waterfall. But on yet another bend around the mountain side, just as I was to give up, we found the water falling from high up the bare rock into a small pool stuffed with tadpoles.

SAM_6979The water was refreshing, freezing, and needed. We drank through my portable water filter the stream water (just to be sure), and made watercolours of the natural spectacle and its shades of green life.

On the way back, we collected all the trash we could find and made ourselves a culture on local snacks and icecreams. We found some gorgeous kids playing and laughing hysterically in the dirt and stopped to smile at them. Their mother noticed us and offered us a delicious soursop to recharge our energies. The fruit was more than welcome, my mother had never tried it before and was amazed by it’s rich and nutritious pulp and it’s beautiful seeds.

We collected two full bags of rubbish, so if you go on the path again it would be great to find out if it’s being kept clean after our work!

The next day we hitch-hiked pointlessly on the deserted road outside the Finca waiting for a car or cab to come by until we finally bounced a lift off a nice family visiting the coffee farm. In the town of Pluma we had breakfast and bought tickets for a bus ride to San Jose del Pacifico, a popular destination among those into natural psychedelics. We had a few hours to enjoy the town before the urban came, so we walked around taking samples of earth to paint with, buying pumpkin seeds and organic coffee at the local store, watching a marching band performance directed by a toddler.  

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Another couple of hours of bending road over the spectacular view took us to the misty village. It felt like Christmas had finally decided to make an appearance in my life. The damp cold was a relief after the hot days on the coast, the fog grew so thick you could hardly see past your nose. We walked up the hill at the main crossroads and found a nice room to stay in right after the church, opposite a chill and cheap hostel where I would have definitely stayed if I hadn’t been with my mother. In fact, the first thing I was offered upon entering the cozy wooden hostel kitchen was medicine: from maria to DMT.

We woke up early to enjoy the fresh morning and walk through the woods, hiking up the mountain and getting followed around by a very needy dog… how typical of being in Mexico it is to always be in the company of a dog!

Then the temazcal, with a lovely complement of honey smearing… after being a steam baths in Arizona, the heat of this bath in the fresh mountain top was rather bearable. To the point that when I finally got out, an hour and a half later, I was told I had broken the record of the longest lasting person in the Temazcal.

We headed back to Oaxaca city to catch the cheap bus back to Mexico city (with Linea Dorada). Once again the local transport showed how easy it is to get around without a car: as soon as we hit the main road, a pickup truck loaded us on the back with a couple of women and took us for a very reasonable price back down the mountain to the town of Miahuatlán (only at the end of our brief stay we discovered the name and started laughing incessantly since to pronounce it you literally have to sound like a cat).

It was market day so we enjoyed the vibrant town through its fruit and seeds stalls in the shade of the tarpaulins, walking through the center to find the right bus.

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