La Bella Crucita – Saturday, 02/02/2019

“Nilla, here we are again without power.  Just have to take notes in ‘Word’ again.”

“Jackson, I have so much to do today.  I have to wash and rinse the vegetables for tomorrow’s salad, make rice, cocktail sauce for the shrimp, see if I can buy some more shrimp.  I can’t even have a cup of coffee!”

“Manuco is coming over to perform the maintenance tasks, not sure how much he’ll be able to do without power.  We can’t even contact him because What’s App requires the internet, the internet requires power, and so it goes.”

“Well, why don’t we think about the theme for today.”

“Okay, have you noticed the trail of ants on the sidewalk out front?”

“Yes, so what about them.  I don’t mind them as long as they don’t come into the house.”

“They’re leaf-cutter ants.  They carry the leaves to their home.  The female worker ants are wingless.”

“Jackson, some of them are carrying very large pieces of vegetation.  You’ve heard the expression ‘Don’t bite off more than you can chew’ haven’t you?  Well, in this case it’s ‘Don’t bite off more than you can carry.”

“It’s not a problem Nilla.  Each ant can carry up to fifty times its own body weight!”

“What do they do with the foliage?”

“They carry it to their home where they grind up the vegetation and then inoculate the leaves with a fungus, which is then harvested and used as food for the colony.”

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Fungi Home

“Sounds yummy.  What’s for dinner, fungus and we’re not referring to mushrooms. Yick.   I need my coffee.”

“Nilla, the ants actually feed the fungus the plant material and make sure that it doesn’t get moldy.  The ants also have bacteria that grows on their body, and this bacteria contributes to a stable food supply environment.”

“Are all leaf-cutter ants the same color as the ones we see here?”

“Some are the orange-red variety such as the ones here, but the color varies.  There are forty seven species of leaf-cutter ants from the genera Atta and Acromymex.  The live in Central and South America and even in some parts of southern Unites States.”

Wonderful.  You know Jackson, we should be thankful.”

“Why is that Nilla?”

“Better to have the electricity fail today, than tomorrow during the game.”

“What makes you think it won’t happen during the game?”

“That would be terrible, just about as terrible if I don’t get my kitchen chores done today.”

“How long has the power been out?”

“About an hour now.  Don’t know how much longer.  Last night at Mi Tierra someone was talking about seeing men working on the power lines.”

“So we’ve pretty much covered leaf-cutter ant basics.  What can we do now?  But wait, the phone system is talking to us, we have power!!!”

“It’s about time, I’ve lost the entire morning and Manuco never showed up.  Maybe he knew about the power outage.  Maybe, the kitchen awaits you Nilla.”

“I’m glad that’s done –  the veggies are washed and rinsed, the rice made, the cocktail sauce made, now all we need is the shrimp.  When should we go looking again Jackson?”

“We’ll go back up to the fish stands after lunch.”

“Grill cheese on fresh rolls sound good?

“Absolutely. Energy for our walk.”

“Still no shrimp, we only have the one pound HOSO – that’s not enough.”

“Let’s go to Ramblas and see if they’ll sell us some shrimp.”

“I think it’s a better idea to tell us where we can buy some shrimp.”

“Let’s go.”

“Jackson, Jonathan says that he can get some but the minimum is five pounds, we’ll just have to freeze some for later in the week – shrimp scampi maybe.  They’re piscina shrimp – I would have preferred from el mar, but at least we’ll have shrimp for tomorrow.”

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“That’s a lot of shrimp Nilla – ‘SO’.”

“‘SO’?”

“Yes, it’s more of the industry nomenclature – ‘SO’ means shell on.  ‘PTO’ means peeled tail on, ‘PUD’ means peeled undeveined, ‘P&D’ means peeled and deveined and ‘BTTY-TO’ means butterfly tail on.”

“Jackson, you’re making this up!  The new ‘alphabet shrimp’.”

‘No I’m not – look it up.”

“Whatever.  At least I don’t have to deal with the heads, just on the one pound we bought the other day.”

“We need do go over to Crucita Village.  Aventurero is going to meet us there – we promised to have some photos taken for Millers back home.”

“Some french fries, a hamburger and some shrimp a la plancha – what choices Jackson.”

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‘Hanging’ at Crucita Village, Ecuador

“They’ll have you cooking tomorrow – I know shrimp is on the menu, with your cocktail sauce – some rice I believe and…”

“Salad too.”

“Let’s get back to Las Dunas, big game tomorrow!”

“Have you noticed that it’s not as noisy on the malecon today Jackson?”

“Yes, different crowd I think, better for sleeping.”

“‘Q-U-I-E-T'”

“What’s that stand for Nilla?”

“It stands for shhhhhhush!  Go to sleep!”

 

 

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