We love desert camping. The lack of clouds provides spectacular nighttime skies. There are downsides, like the thorns that love to puncture our tires. Luckily, we are careful about sweeping the area where we place the tent, otherwise we would end up sleeping on deflated mats.
Dew is not usually a problem in the arid climate. However, the moss growing on the cactus should have given us a clue. We did not put the fly on the tent and woke up with damp sleeping bags. Luckily the dew was not heavy, saving us from an unpleasant early morning wakeup call. Wet down provides no insulation.
The day was filled with a multitude of new experiences. First we had a delicious second breakfast and nothing beats a breakfast taco to fill a cyclist’s hunger. A well patronized roadside stand attracted our attention and we noshed through two tacos apiece. The first was a chile relleno which I have never had as a taco and the other was a tangy and spicy egg concoction.
They were both served on a plate covered in a clear plastic. We’ve seen plates covered in this manner several times when eating at roadside stands. But given the lack of water in the desert, the additional waste from the plastic bag is probably the lesser of two evils compared to “wasting” water for washing.
At one of the adjoining stands, there was a man selling various fruit. We took the opportunity to stock up on dates, now in season. These have become one of our new favorite snacks. Sarah spotted pitaya, and we took the opportunity to try our first one. Adolfo had recommended them to us (I had seen the cactus fruit in the desert a few days earlier but did not know it was edible or how to prepare it).
The pitaya tasted slightly sweet, like a blander version of watermelon. In fact the texture is like an old watermelon — a bit gritty. It was a great new flavor and texture.
The dates we had previously purchased had us curious. Growing up, food always “grew” in stores. If my parents and relatives did not have gardens, I still would probably be under the illusion that fruits and vegetables grow in cans, bags, or bundled in rubber bands.
Neither one of us knew if dates came from trees or bushes.
That questioned was answered later when we rolled into an oasis in the middle of the desert called San Ignacio, after the mission founded their in 1728. I saw dates on the ground and looked up to see that they grew on the palm trees which dominated the lush vegetation.
We visited the church on the small town square before camping lakeside, under a cabana. As Sarah napped in a nearby hammock and I read a book, I learned the last new thing for the day. Besides having great fruit, palms also make great roofs.