The world is a beautiful place, full of a natural abundance. Mango trees are everywhere in Puerto Escondido, and are laden with fruit on the edge of ripeness. We are fast approaching the peak of mango madness season, when mangos will literally rain from the sky. We’ve been walking down the street minding our own business when a fresh mango plopped down to the ground in front of us, just begging to be carried home.
The world also has an abundance of generosity, and it seems the more generous YOU are the more generous others are in return. Some of the best things to give are the cheapest, smiles, patience, a kind word. We have received more than our fair share of those from the people we’ve met on the road. The less you expect in return for these gifts the more you receive. The more grateful you are, the more reasons you have to be grateful.
Just recently, we’ve had a wonderful exchange of pleasantries and tokens of gratefulness with our local neighbors, the family that manages the property on which we are staying. They are kind and friendly, and we’ve greatly appreciated their patience and understanding with our elementary Spanish. The exchanges started small. First we gave them a loaf of fresh baked bread that Winnie made. They came back with a slice of homemade coconut pound cake. We gave them a bit of meat stew. They gave us 2 fresh mangoes. We gave them a bit of stewed pork ribs, which I’ll admit I was a bit sad to see go. They are one of my favorites. Next thing we knew, their whole family was packed up and ready to take us mango picking
We packed 6 of us into a taxi and headed off into the countryside to the small home of a friend. Totally illegal in the US for “safety” reasons, we all survived despite the lack of seat belts and the sharing of laps. The tools of a mango hunter are quite simple, a machete, a cloth bag, and an empty bottle of soda with a mango sized hole in the side. The process is equally simple, although a bit dangerous to life and limb
Step 1: Use the machete to cut down a long length of bamboo. Tie soda bottle to bamboo.
Step 2: Remove sandals and climb tree
Step 3: Pluck mangoes with soda bottle on a pole
Step 4: Catch the mangoes
Step 5: Eat
We didn’t count how many mangoes we pulled off this one tree, but we didn’t make a dent in the total remaining. The tree next to this one was equally overburdened. We also harvested a few nearby trees bearing other mysterious and delicious fruits of the season. We’ve been enjoying several mangoes a day ever since and still have 9 more, and we just dropped off some sliced watermelon at the neighbors to say thanks. Let’s see what happens
Loaf of fresh baked bread: $0.25 (ingredients: flour, water, yeast, salt, love, time)
Whole 5 kg watermelon: 25 pesos ($2)
Taxi to mangoland: 30 pesos ($2.40)
All the mangoes you can eat: $0
Good times with good people: Priceless