Main meals include curried goat and jerk pork and chicken — the jerk process requires marinating meats in spices and hot peppers, then grilling or roasting over a fire made of aromatic leaves and branches. All of these dishes are part of a contemporary repertoire of African creations brought to Jamaican towns and rural areas and to iron-manufacturing communities in the eighteenth century, such as that of John Reeder's Foundry in Morant Bay. Culinary creations produced in Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Haiti were also expressions of African cultural retentions.
Haiti, the premier French-colonized island and the jewel of the Caribbean in the eighteenth century, catapulted French culinary society and economy to unparalleled heights by way of its slave labor in the kitchen. However, slave laborers in Saint Domingue Haiti and elsewhere were often underfed, and as with a number of slave societies in the Americas, bondsmen and -women had to cultivate a small piece of land for their own dietary upkeep.
Giraumon soup and griot are samples of the fare prepared by Haitian cooks. Pumpkin is referred to as giraumon in the former French-colonized islands. In giraumon soup, pumpkin is seasoned with nutmeg, spices, and salt beef. Other favorites include okra rice and fish or chicken braised in coconut milk and peanut sauce. A popular Peruvian saying states that "El que no tiene de inca, tiene de mandinga" "whoever does not have Incan ancestry has African ancestry". The same statement, regarding African ancestry, is true for many of South America's thirteen countries.
Black communities emerged in all South American countries as a result of the slave trade, marronage, and immigration. Black populations are said to range from less than 1 percent to as high as 30 percent in Colombia and between 50 and 75 percent in Brazil. Present throughout the societies is the African contribution to cuisine.
One of Africa's culinary legacies in the Santiago, Rancagua, Maule, and Aconcagua regions of Chile is bean soups — and there are numerous versions throughout South America — made with hot peppers, one to three kinds of peas or beans, and tomatoes and onions; sopa de pescado fish soup , made with a hearty fish stock, shellfish, and vegetables; and a version of humitas Chilean tamales , which are fresh corn husks stuffed with grated corn and chopped onions.
Uruguay's city of Montevideo was the port of entry for Africans in slavery bound for other parts of the region. A favorite dish is puchero , a heavily seasoned poultry and sausage dish, braised with a variety of vegetables and sometimes referred to as olla podrida , or "rotten pot," although there is nothing rotten about it. Yerba mate , a drink served hot and cold, is made from dried yerba leaves, a shrub of the holly family that grows wild on the upper Paraguay River. Yerba mate is caffeine rich and is sometimes consumed in Uruguay, Paraguay, and other countries instead of coffee and tea.
Memoirs of life in early nineteenth-century Buenos Aires never failed to mention black street vendors who monopolized the business, hawking all sorts of produce and dairy products, pastries and meat pies empanadas , and a very famous mazamorra corn chowder. One item sold by African street vendors emerged as a pattern of consumption forced on the African-Argentine community because of its poverty. Africans worked at slaughterhouses, salvaging cast-off tripe, lung, and other organs and diseased meat from slaughtered animals.
Achuradoras , as they were called, sold this cast-off meat to blacks and poor whites. African Argentines thus gave Argentina one of its most famous dishes — chinchulines , which are braided and grilled intestines, or as southern U. Such dishes are still served in black Argentine neighborhoods in outlying areas of Barracas, Flores, Floresta, and Boca. Africans in Peru were frequently seen in the city of Lima and the port of Callao, as both depended largely on black labor for provisions. As in Buenos Aires, Africans worked in Lima's meat market and slaughterhouse, where they processed the meat used aboard navy ships.
Male and female, slave and free, were extensively employed in the preparation and sale of preserves and candied fruit, pastries, bread, and hardtack a saltless, hard biscuit or bread made of flour and water for sailors. Black female food vendors vivenderas sold food to the masses, including donuts and confections, cheese, milk, whipped cream, various main dishes, and desserts of African origin, such as anticucho bereber, sanguito naju del Congo a wheat-based dessert , choncholi tripe brochettes , and seasonally, the drinks chicha de terranova corn liquor and mead, all of which are still consumed today.
Black male traveling street sellers pregoneros also produced and sold food products, especially sweets. These descendants still transmit their values, beliefs, and culture through the variety and flavors imparted to soups and other dishes handed down by African-Peruvian women and men who introduced them into Peru's popular cuisine and helped spread African culinary traditions throughout the country. An extra helping of African culinary traditions would spread throughout Ecuador in the nineteenth century by way of Jamaicans who migrated into the country as laborers to help build the railway.
Today, in Carchi and Imbabura at least 40 percent of the population has full or part African blood. African Ecuadorians are also concentrated in the southern province of Loja and have been in Esmeraldas, the preeminent center of black settlement, since the sixteenth century. The lush vegetation in Esmeraldas has helped their cultural and culinary survival, allowing them to grow for northern markets and for their own consumption bananas, grapes, watermelon, plantains and citrus fruits , papaya, onions, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados, anise, beans, manioc cassava , and other crops.
Game such as wild peccary or tatabro , paca or guagua , agouti or guatin , wild pig, wild fowl, squirrels, rabbit, iguanas, and tortoises are all made into stews. Shellfish and seafood are obtained by traditional African hunting and fishing methods, and typical meals include fish and potato soup; the national dish, ceviche de concha , prepared with raw or cooked mussels, onions, aji hot peppers , and lemon; and fried fish and potato cakes. Dishes with crab and shrimp are considered delicacies. Fruits and cooked root crops are pounded and fried and served with meat or fish; culada , a pounded and fried fish and plantain mixture, is served in the morning.
Other dishes include seco de pescado , or fish with coconut; sancocho , a combination of meat, plantains, sweet manioc, and a tuber resembling taro called rascadera; seco , or concha with coconut; locro de yucca , meat with sweet manioc; and green boiled plantains, known as pean piado , which are eaten with most meals in place of bread.
Guarapo , a sugarcane beer; aguardiente , a potent liquor served by the shot with green mango or orange slices as a chaser; and champus , a cold chirimoya fruit drink, are all consumed with and without meals by indigenous and African-descendant populations in Ecuador and Colombia.
Colombia has one of the largest black populations in the Spanish-speaking Americas, forming 80 to 90 percent of the population in the Pacific coastal region. The city of Cartagena is still home to the former palenque Maroon settlement of el Palenque de San Basilio, a village founded by runaway slaves palenqueros in the seventeenth century, who have developed a so-called Creole language yet managed to preserve many aspects of Angolan Southwest African culture. Sophisticated farming systems of forest farming communities, such as the Afro-Baudoseno, grow rice, corn, plantains, and fruit trees on one of the riverbanks while managing pigs on the other.
One of their favorite foods is leafcup. Known as arboloco in Colombia, it is a sweet root eaten raw after exposure in the sun for several days. Easy to digest, it is used in the diets of invalids. Other favorites include the meat soup sancocho , vegetable tamales, corn empanadas, chuzos kebabs , fried fish, chorizos sausages , arepas de chocolo sweet corn cakes , rice and coconut dishes, and patacones sliced plantains.
Preparations such as quineo k'asurata , a type of banana, peeled while green, then sun-dried for a few days before eaten boiled; beef, rice, and avocado dishes; and salt fish from Lake Titicaca are favorite meal items of the Yungas populations in Bolivia. The largest concentrations of African Bolivians are in the city of La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, and in the nearby agricultural provinces of Nor and Sud Yungas, on the eastern slopes of the Andes mountain range.
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Tocanans cultivate bananas and citrus fruits , coffee beans, and coca, and speak a vocabulary that is a mix of African words, Aymara the language of the mountain indigenous people , and Spanish. The location of the Yungas, with its semitropical valleys, has made the region an oasis of crop production. The greatest concentration of crops is grown in the Yungas provinces of La Paz and Cochabamba.
Bolivians produce a wide range of vegetables, fruits, and other food crops, mostly for local consumption. Principal vegetable crops include kidney beans, green beans, chickpeas, green peas, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and chili peppers. One of the oldest cultivated Andean plants, arracacha white carrot , known as lakachu in Aymara, is eaten boiled or as an ingredient in soups and stews; it is also roasted and fried in slices, and used as a puree.
Hervido meat stew , as it is called in Venezuela, is a nourishing meat and vegetable dish enjoyed in many communities and during many religious and secular festivals, such as Los Tambores de Barlovento Drums of Barlovento , celebrated at the beginning of the rainy season in March near Corpus Christi , in Barlovento, Miranda state.
This is the region comprising the towns of Curiepe, Higuerote, Caucagua, Tacarigua, and others with large black populations. The Drums of Barlovento is an African-Caribbean tradition in which drums are the main theme complemented by various other wooden instruments of African origin. The descendants of Antillean immigrants still eat their traditional versions of calalu with salted codfish; tarquery , a meat and curry recipe from India that is very popular in Trinidad; and gateau, dumplings and bolos. They drink yinya bie and mabi , drinks that originated in Trinidad.
As in Bolivia, arracacha is consumed; the leaves are used in the same way as celery in raw or cooked salads. Venezuelans refer to it as "Creole celery. However, every segment and enclave of Brazilian society, including its quilombos Maroon communities , were influenced by, or had as its base, African cuisine and culture. A fellow-captain, and passenger of our captain's, told me this morning, that he spoke the ship which carried out Governor and Mrs.
It does not seem to me at all astonishing that the remedies which she took in England without injury, should have proved fatal to her in that wretched climate. We have been accompanied all the morning by a fine large ship, going full sail, the Orleans, Captain Sears, bound for New Orleans. A long semicircular line of black rocks in sight; some of a round form, one of which is called the Death's Head; another of the shape of a turtle, and some two or three miles long.
At the extremity of one of these the English are building a lighthouse. Impatience becomes general, but the breeze rocks up and down, and we gain little. This day, like all last days on board, has been remarkably tedious, though the country gradually becomes more interesting. There is a universal brushing-up amongst the passengers; some shaving, some with their heads plunged into tubs of cold water. So may have appeared Noah's ark, when the dove did not return, and the passengers prepared for terra firma , after a forty days' voyage.
Our Mount Ararat was the Morro Castle, which, dark and frowning, presented itself to our eyes, at six o'clock, P. Nothing can be more striking than the first appearance of this fortress, starting up from the solid rock, with its towers and battlements, while here, to remind us of our latitude, we see a few feathery cocoas growing amidst the herbage that covers the banks near the castle. Last evening, as we entered the beautiful bay, everything struck us as strange and picturesque. The soldiers of the garrison, the prison built by General Tacon, the irregular houses with their fronts painted red or pale blue, and with the cool but uninhabited look produced by the absence of glass windows; the merchant ships and large men-of-war; vessels from every port in the commercial world, the little boats gliding amongst them with their snow-white sails, the negroes on the wharf—nothing European.
The heat was great, that of a July day, without any freshness in the air. As we approached the wharf the noise and bustle increased. The passengers all crowded upon deck, and we had scarcely anchored, when various little boats were seen making for the Norma. First boat brought an officer with the salutations of the Captain-General to his Excellency, with every polite offer of service; second boat brought the Administrador of the Yntendente the Count de Villa Neuva , with the same civilities; the third, the master of the house where we now are, and whence I indite these facts; the fourth, the Italian Opera, which rushed simultaneously into the arms of the A—i, the fifth, prosaic custom-house officers; the sixth, a Havana count and marquis, the seventh, the family of General M—o.
Finally, we were hoisted over the ship's side in a chair, into the government boat, and rowed to the shore. As it was rather dark when we arrived, and we were driven to our destination in a volante, we did not see much of the city. We could but observe that the streets were narrow, the houses irregular, most people black, and the volante, an amusing-looking vehicle, looking behind like a black insect with high shoulders, and with a little black postilion on a horse or mule, with an enormous pair of boots and a fancy uniform.
The house in which, by the hospitality of the H—a family we are installed, has from its windows, which front the bay, the most varied and interesting view imaginable. As it is the first house, Spanish fashion, which I have entered, I must describe it to you before I sleep. The house forms a great square, and you enter the court, round which are the offices, the rooms for the negroes, coal-house, bath-room, etc.
Proceed upstairs, and enter a large gallery which runs all round the house. Pass into the Sala , a large cool apartment, with marble floor and tables, and chaise-longues with elastic cushions, chairs, and arm-chairs of cane. A drapery of white muslin and blue silk divides this from a second and smaller drawing-room, now serving as my dressing-room, and beautifully fitted up, with Gothic toilet-table, inlaid mahogany bureau, marble centre and side-tables, fine mirrors, cane sofas and chairs, green and gold paper. A drapery of white muslin and rose-coloured silk divides this from a bedroom, also fitted up with all manner of elegances.
French beds with blue silk coverlids and clear mosquito curtains, and fine lace. A drapery divides this on one side from the gallery; and this room opens into others which run all round the house. The floors are marble or stucco—the roofs beams of pale blue wood placed transversely, and the whole has an air of agreeable coolness. Everything is handsome without being gaudy, and admirably adapted for the climate. The sleeping apartments have no windows, and are dark and cool while the drawing-rooms have large windows down to the door, with green shutters kept closed till the evening.
The mosquitoes have now commenced their evening song, a signal that it is time to put out the lights. The moon is shining on the bay, and a faint sound of military music is heard in the distance, while the sea moans with a sad but not unpleasing monotony. To all these sounds I retire to rest. At home we have held a levee to all that is most distinguished in Havana.
Chirimoya. La fruta milagrosa
Counts, marquesses, and generals, with stars and crosses, have poured in and poured out ever since our arrival. I do not pretend to form any judgment of Havana. We have seen it too much en beau. Last evening we found time to go to the theatre. The opera was "Lucia de Lammermoor. Still she suits the character represented, and comes exactly up to my idea of poor Lucy, devoted and broken-hearted, physically and morally weak.
Though the story is altered, and the interest weakened, how graceful the music is! The orchestra is good, and composed of blacks and whites, like the notes of a piano, mingled in harmonious confusion. The theatre is remarkably pretty and airy, and the pit struck us as being particularly clean and respectable. All the seats are red leather arm-chairs, and all occupied by well-dressed people. At the end of the first act, we went round to the Countess F—a's box, to return a visit which she had made me in the morning.
We found her extremely agreeable and full of intelligence, also with a very decided air of fashion. She was dressed in fawn-coloured satin, with large pearls. At the end of the second act, Lucia was taken ill, her last aria missed out, and her monument driven on the stage without further ceremony. Montresor, the Ravenswood of the piece, came in, sung, and stabbed himself with immense enthusiasm. It is a pity that his voice is deserting him, while his taste and feeling remain. The house has altogether a French look. The boxes are private—that is, the property of individuals, but are not shut in, which in this climate would be suffocating.
We passed out through a long file of soldiers. The sudden transition from Yankee land to this military Spanish negro-land is dreamy. Amongst the ladies who have called on me, I find none more charming than the Countess de V—a. Her voice is agreeable, her manners cordial and easy, her expression beautiful from goodness, with animated eyes and fine teeth, her dress quiet and rich. She is universally beloved here. I received from her, nearly every morning, a bouquet of the loveliest flowers from her quinta—roses, carnations, heliotrope, etc.
The dinner at H—a's to-day was a perfect feast. Everything was served in French white and gold porcelain, which looks particularly cool and pretty in this climate. The Count de P—r was there and his brother, the latter a gentlemanly and intelligent man, with a great taste for music, and whose daughter is a first-rate singer and a charming person. After dinner we rose, according to custom, and went into an adjoining room while they arranged the dessert, consisting of every imaginable and unimaginable sweetmeat, with fruit, ices, etc.
The fruits I have not yet learned to like. They are certainly wonderful and delicious productions of nature; but to eat eggs and custards and butter off the trees, seems unnatural. The heat to-day is terrible; with a suffocating south wind blowing, and were the houses not built as they are, would be unbearable. The dinner is served in the gallery, which is spacious and cool. We then adjourned to the balcony, where the air was delightful, a cool evening breeze having suddenly sprung up. A large ship, full sail, and various barks, passed the Morro.
There were negroes with bare legs walking on the wall, carrying parcels, etc. We had a visit from the Captain-General. In the evening we went out to see the Countess de V—a, at her pretty quinta, a short way out of town, and walked in the garden by moonlight, amongst flowers and fountains. The little count is already one of the chamberlains to the Queen, and a diamond key has been sent him by Queen Christina in token of her approbation of his father's services.
These country retreats are delightful after the narrow streets and impure air of the city. It is a fine spacious building, and, together with the Captain-General's palace, stands in the Plaza de Armas, which was crowded with negroes and negresses, all dressed in white, with white muslin and blonde mantillas, framing and showing off their dusky physiognomies. Two regiments, with excellent bands of music, conducted the procession, composed of monks and priests. San Cristobal, a large figure with thick gold legs, surrounded by gold angels with gold wings, was carried by to the music of " Suoni la tromba ," to which were adapted the words of a hymn in praise of Liberty.
We attended mass in the morning in the church of San Felipe, and entered, preceded, according to custom, by a little negro footman carrying a piece of carpet. There were few people in church, but the grouping was picturesque. The black faces of the negresses, with their white mantillas and white satin shoes; the black silk dresses and black lace mantillas of the Havana ladies, with their white faces and black eyes, and little liveried negroes standing behind them; the officers, music, and long-bearded priests—all were very effective. Found, on my return, an excellent Erard harp, sent me by the Marquesa de A—s, a pretty woman and female Croesus.
A splendid entertainment was given us to-day by General M—o. His house is large and cool; the dinner, as usual, in the gallery; and although there were ninety-seven guests, and as many negroes in waiting, the heat was not oppressive. The jewels of the ladies were superb, especially the diamonds of the M— family; sprays, necklaces, earrings, really beautiful. The Marquesa de A— wore a set of emeralds the size of small eggs. She had a pretty, graceful-looking daughter with her, with beautiful eyes. Even the men were well sprinkled with diamonds and rubies.
The dessert, from variety and quantity, was a real curiosity. After dinner our health was drank, and another poetical address pronounced. The evening concluded with music and the Havana country-dances. The house in size is a palace, and the apartments innumerable. The dinner very elegant, and the dessert arranged in another room, a curiosity as usual for profusion and variety.
Her Majesty's health was proposed by Don B—o H—a, and so well-timed, that all the guns of the forts fired a salute, it being sunset, just as the toast was concluded, which was drank with real enthusiasm and hearty good will. According to Spanish custom, the aristocracy generally se tutoient , and call each other by their Christian names; indeed, they are almost all connected by intermarriages. You may guess at an inferior in rank, only by their increased respect towards him.
We stood on the balcony in the evening. The scene was beautiful, the temperature rather warm, yet delicious from the softness of the breeze. The moon rose so bright that she seemed like the sun shining through a silvery veil. Groups of figures were sauntering about in the square, under the trees, and two bands having stationed themselves with lamps and music, played alternately pieces from Mozart and Bellini. We regretted leaving so delightful a scene for the theatre, where we arrived in time to hear La Pantanelli sing an aria, dressed in helmet and tunic, and to see La Jota Arragonesa danced by two handsome Spanish girls in good style.
One evening we went to the theatre of Tacon, to the Captain-General's box. It is certainly a splendid house, large, airy, and handsome. The play was the "Campanero de San Pablo," which, though generally liked, appears to me a complicated and unnatural composition, with one or two interesting scenes. The best actor was he who represented the blind man.
The chief actress is an overgrown dame, all fat and dimples, who kept up a constant sobbing and heaving of her chest, yet never getting rid of an eternal smirk upon her face. A bolero, danced afterwards by two Spanish damsels in black and silver, was very refreshing. Visits, dinners, and parties have so occupied our time, that to write has been next to impossible. Of the country we have, from the same reason, seen little, and the people we are only acquainted with in full dress, which is not the way to judge of them truly.
One morning, indeed, we dedicated to viewing the works of the Yntendente, the railroad, and the water-filterers. He and the Countess, and a party of friends, accompanied us. The country through which the railroad passes is flat and rather monotonous; nevertheless, the quantity of wild flowers, which appeared for the most part of the convolvulus species, as we glanced past them—the orange-trees, the clumps of palm and cocoa, the plantain with its gigantic leaves, the fresh green coffee-plant, the fields of sugar-cane of a still brighter green, the half-naked negroes, the low wooden huts, and, still more, the scorching sun in the month of November,—all was new to us, and sufficient to remind us of the leagues of ocean we had traversed, though this is but a halt on our voyage.
At the village where the cars stopped, we listened with much amusement to the story of a fat, comfortable-looking individual, who was cured by lightning in the following manner:—He was in the last stage of a decline, when, one hot July morning, he was knocked down by a thunderbolt, a ball of fire, which entered his side, ran all through his body, and came out at his arm. At the place where the ball made its exit, a large ulcer was formed, and when it dispersed he found himself in perfect health, in which he has continued ever since! In such cases the "bottled lightning" demanded by Mrs.
Nickleby's admirer, might be a valuable remedy. Of course I could not leave Havana without devoting one morning to shopping. The shops have most seducing names—Hope, Wonder, Desire, etc. The French modistes seem to be wisely improving their time, by charging respectable prices for their work. The shopkeepers bring their goods out to the volante, it not being the fashion for ladies to enter the shops, though I took the privilege of a foreigner to infringe this rule occasionally.
Silks and satins very dear—lace and muslin very reasonable, was, upon the whole, the result of my investigation; but as it only lasted two hours, and that my sole purchases of any consequence, were an indispensable mantilla, and a pair of earrings, I give my opinion for the present with due diffidence. I can speak with more decision on the subject of a great ball given us by the Countess F—a, last evening, which was really superb.
The whole house was thrown open—there was a splendid supper, quantities of refreshment, and the whole select aristocracy of Havana. Diamonds on all the women, jewels and orders on all the men, magnificent lustres and mirrors, and a capital band of music in the gallery.
The Captain-General was the only individual in a plain dress. He made himself very agreeable, in good French. About one hundred couple stood up in each country-dance, but the rooms are so large and so judiciously lighted, that we did not feel at all warm. Waltzes, quadrilles, and these long Spanish dances, succeeded each other. Almost all the girls have fine eyes and beautiful figures, but without colour, or much animation. The finest diamonds were those of the Countess F—a, particularly her necklace, which was undeniable. Walking through the rooms after supper, we were amused to see the negroes and negresses helping themselves plentifully to the sweetmeats, uncorking and drinking fresh bottles of Champagne, and devouring everything on the supper tables, without the slightest concern for the presence either of their master or mistress; in fact, behaving like a multitude of spoilt children, who are sure of meeting with indulgence, and presume upon it.
Towards morning we were led downstairs to a large suite of rooms, containing a library of several thousand volumes; where coffee, cakes, etc. We left the house at last to the music of the national hymn of Spain, which struck up as we past through the gallery. Should the north wind, the dreaded Norte , not blow, we sail to-morrow, and have spent the day in receiving farewell visits.
We also went to the theatre, where every one predicts we shall not get off to-morrow. The play was "Le Gamin de Paris," translated. After our return, I paid a very late visit to the P—r family, who live close by us, and now, at two in the morning, I finish my letter sleepily. Many beautiful souvenirs have been sent us, and amongst others, the Count de S— V— has just sent C—n a model of the palace of Madrid, one of the most beautiful and ingenious pieces of workmanship possible.
It is carved in wood, with astonishing accuracy and delicacy. This morning, at six o'clock, we breakfasted, together with Captain Estrada, the commander of the Jason, at the Casa H—a; and the wind being fair, repaired shortly after in volantes to the wharf, accompanied by our hospitable host, and several of our acquaintances; entered the boat, looked our last of the Palace and the Yntendencia, and of Havana itself, where we had arrived as strangers, and which now, in fifteen days, had begun to assume a familiar aspect, and to appear interesting in our eyes, by the mere force of human sympathy; and were transported to the ship, where a line of marines, drawn up to receive us, presented arms as we entered.
The morning was beautiful; little wind, but fair. We took leave of our friends, waved our handkerchiefs to the balconies in retrn for signals from scarcely-distinguishable figures, passed between the red-tinted Cabana and the stately Morro, and were once more upon the deep, with a remembrance behind, and a hope before us. Our Bergantina is a handsome vessel, with twenty-five guns, five officers, a doctor, chaplain, and purser, and one hundred and fifty men.
We find the commander very attentive, and a perfect gentleman, like almost all of his class, and though very young in appearance, he has been twenty-nine years in the service. The accommodations in a brig not destined for passengers are of course limited. There is a large cabin for the officers, separated by a smaller one, belonging to the captain, which he has given up to us. At seven o'clock C—n rises, and at eight, a marine sentinel, transformed into a lady's page, whom we are taking to Mexico as porter, brings us some very delicious chocolate. He is followed by the Captain's familiar, an unhappy-looking individual, pale, lank, and lean, with the physiognomy of a methodist parson, and in general appearance like a weed that has grown up in one night.
He tremblingly, and with most rueful countenance, carries a small plate of sugar-biscuits. These originals having vacated the cabin, I proceed to dress, an operation of some difficulty, which being performed tant bien que mal , I repair upstairs, armed with book and fan, and sit on deck till ten o'clock, when the familiar's lamentable announcement of breakfast takes us down again.
The cook being French, the comestibles are decidely good, and were the artist a little less of an oil, and more of a water painter, I individually would prefer his style. We have every variety of fish, meat, fowl, fruit, dulces , and wines. A very long interval has to be filled up by reading, writing, sitting, or walking upon deck, as suits the taste of the individual, or by drinking orangeade, or by sleeping, or by any other ingenious resource for killing time.
At five, dinner, at which no one joins us but the captain and one officer; and after dinner on deck till bed-time, walking about, or gazing on the sky or sea, or sistening to the songs of the sailors. Everything broken or breaking. Even the cannons disgorge their balls, which fall out by their own weight. To-day we are on the sound, and have lain to, about noon, to let the sailors fish, thereby losing an hour or so of fair wind, and catching a preposterous number of fish of immense size. The water was so clear, that we could see the fish rush and seize the bait as fast as it was thrown in.
Sometimes a hugh shark would bite the fish in two, so that the poor finny creature was between Scylla and Charybdis. These fish are called cherne and pargo , and at dinner were pronounced good. At length a shark, in its wholesale greediness, seized the bait, and feeling the hook in his horrid jaw, tugged most fiercely to release himself, but in vain.
Twelve sailors hauled him in, when, with distented jaws, he seemed to look out for the legs of the men, whereupon they rammed the butt-end of a harpoon down his throat, which put a stop to all further proceedings on his part. He was said to be quite young, perhaps the child of doting parents. The juvenile monster had, however, already cut three rows of teeth.
We are sometimes amused in the evening, when upon deck, by a little drummer, who invariably collects all the sailors round him, and spins them long, endless stories of his own invention, to which they listen with intense interest. On he goes, without a moment's hesitation, inventing everything most improbable and wonderful; of knights and giants and beautiful princesses, and imprisoned damsels, and poor peasants becoming great kings. He is a little ugly, active fellow, with a turned-up nose, a merry eye, and a laughing mouth.
Amongst his axioms is the following verse, which he sings with great expression. Hasta los palos del monte Tienen su destinacion Unos nacen para santos Y otros para hacer carbon. At least thirty large fish were caught this morning, also an infant shark, a grandchild who had wandered forth to nibble, and met an untimely grave.
We have seen several alacrans or scorpions on board, but these are said not to be poisonous. The ship is the perfection of cleanness. No disagreeable odour affects the olfactory nerves, in which it has a singular advantage over all packets.
This, and having it all to ourselves, and the officers being such perfect gentlemen, and all so kind and attentive, makes our voyage so far a mere pleasure trip. We had some of the Countess de V—'s cocoa-nuts, of which she sent us a great supply, pierced this morning, each containing three tumblers of fresh and delicious water. This is Sunday, but the chaplain is too sick to say mass, and the heat is intense.
I knew it was coming on, only by the face of the first lieutenant when he looked at the barometer. His countenance fell as many degrees as the instrument. It is very slight, but our entry into port will be delayed, for, on the coast, these winds are most devoutly dreaded. It has rained all day, and, notwithstanding the rolling of the ship, we attempted a game at chess, but after having tried two games, abandoned it in despair, a " balance " having, at the most interesting period of each, overturned the board, and left the victory undecided, somewhat after the fashion of Homer's goddess, when she enveloped the contending armies in a cloud.
The latter, called by the Mexicans, Citlal Tepetl, or the mountain of the star, from the fire which used to burn on its lofty summit, rises nineteen thousand five hundred and fifty-one feet above the level of the sea. Covered with perpetual snows, and rising far above clouds and tempests, it is the first mountain which the navigator discovers as he approaches these shores. But the south wind continues and we are obliged to turn our back to the coast.
There is much impatience on board. A— was taken ill, and declared she had got the yellow fever. The doctor was sent for, who, very sick himself, and holding by the table to keep himself from falling, told her, without looking at her very particularly, that there was nothing the matter, only to keep yourself " quite quiet and still; " and the ship rolling at the same moment, he pitched head-foremost out of the cabin, showing practically how much easier precept is than example.
As we shall no doubt have a norther after this, which may last three days, our promised land is still at some distance. A norther, not a very severe one, but what they call a Norte chocolatero , that is, its shock tore a sail in two, as I tear this sheet of paper. The most ingenious person I see is "the master of the sails.
Towards evening the wind calmed, but the ship, tossed upon a horribly swelled sea, became a mortal purgatory. Still the wind is lulled, though Humboldt and others say a Norte must last forty-eight hours, and we have only had it for twenty-four. We shall see. My hammock, which I had foolishly preferred to a bed, not having room to swing in, threw me furiously against the wall, till fearing a broken head, I jumped out and lay on the floor. To-day there is a comparative calm, a faint continuation of the Norte, which is an air with variations.
Everything now seems melancholy and monotonous. We have been tossed about during four days in sight of Vera Cruz, and are now further from it than before. The officers begin to look miserable; even the cook with difficulty preserves his equilibrium. Sunday, 8th. The sky is watery, and covered with shapeless masses of reddish clouds.
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This is a great day amongst all Spanish Catholics, Le Virgen de la Concepcion , the patroness of Spain and the Indies; but no mass to-day; the padre sick and the Norte blowing. What a succession of long faces—walking barameters! The rain ceased, the weather cleared, and "hope, the charmer," smiled upon us. The greater was our disappointment when the breeze died away, when the wind veered to the north, and when once more the most horrible rolling seized the unfortunate Jason, as if it were possessed by a demon.
Finding it impossible to lie in my hammock, I stretched myself on the floor; where, during a night that seemed interminable, we were tossed up and down, knocked against the furniture, and otherwise maltreated. This morning there is little wind, but that little from the north, so that the termination of our voyage appears as far off now as it did eight days ago.
The faces of all on board are calmly lugubrious. Little said. A few Spanish shrugs interchanged with ominous significance. The weather is beautiful, though very sultry, especially during the calms which intervene between the nortes. I am now reduced to a very serious Spanish work on the truth of Christianity. This evening, to the joy of all on board, arose the long desired breeze. The ship went slowly and steadily on her course, at first four, then eight knots an hour. The captain, however, looked doubtingly, and, indeed, towards morning, the wind changed to the south, and our hopes died away.
A south, expected to be followed by a "norte seguro. Behind the Cofre arises Orizava, now like a white cloud, but this morning tinged with a rosy light by the rays of the rising sun. The sea is tranquil and the horizon clear, nevertheless the enemy is looked for. There are a few white and feathery clouds flickering about in the sky, and there is an uneasy swell in the waves. At three o'clock, out burst the norther, which, like the flaming sword, guarding the issues of paradise, " Waved over by that flaming brand, the gate With dreadful faces throng'd and fiery arms, " seems to warn off all vessels from approaching these iron-bound shores.
Eleven days within a few hours' distance of the coast! We are further from hope than we were fourteen days ago.
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Captain, officers, sailors, all seem nearly disheartened. This morning they caught the most beautiful fish I every beheld, of the dolphin species—the Cleopatra of the ocean, about four feet long, apparently composed of gold, and studded with turquoises. It changed colour in dying. There is a proverb, which the sailors are repeating to each other, not very encouraging: "Estes es el viage del Orinoco. The wind continues contrary. Several Christmas and craft markets are set up every year in the city centre around the December holiday weekend or puente.
These markets have a selection of artisan and locally produced items. Plenty of items that make good secret Santa gifts or stocking fillers. Leather goods, Puppets, Ceramics, Wooden toys, Jewellery, Organic cosmetics, Glass decorations, Paintings by local artists , Hair accessories, Pyjamas, Christmas decorations, Nativity Scenes, Traditional cakes and sweets, and the traditional musical instruments at Christmastime Tambourines and zambombas.
This event is next to the River Genil along Paseo del Salon. The Zoco del Salon at Christmastime will be on. Stalls will be open all day from 10am until 6pm. They sell cosmetics, decorative items, jewellery and fashion accessories. Stalls are set up on Campo del Principe in the Realejo district. As the name suggests the people are Granada crafters and sell items made with paper, wood and textiles.
The next edition will be published soon on their Facebook page. We Love Granada have been around the city for a while now. Find latest events on Facebook. Christmas markets Granada often get publicised just a few days before they are happening. The December date hasnt been published yet. This organic and slow food market is set up outside opposite the Palacio de Congresos. Head over to this Granada style farmers market to buy local cheese, bread, fruit and vegetables.
Each year Guejar Sierra has a festive Market. This quiet town on the road to Sierra Nevada is one of the more popular Christmas markets outside the city. The city switches on the festive lights the last Friday in November. The lights will be on each evening until the 6th January. The opening ceremony will be at Bib Rambla. Many independent shops in Granada have small items for stocking fillers and Secret Santa ideas. As well as the Christmas markets some other places to hunt out great gifts ideas are:. The usual timetable for large stores is from 10am until 9pm Monday to Saturday.
Smaller stores will open from 10am to 1. Saturday they will open just in the morning. A month of Christmas. The celebrations run from 24 th December until 6 th January. Family parties and gift exchanges are not concentrated just on one date. The main event of Christmas in Spain is celebrated on the night of 5 th January and lunchtime of 6 th January when the three kings bring their gifts to the children.