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Dancing With Death

© 2019 Jean-Philippe Soulé

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A tale of adventure, sacrifice & physical endurance.

 

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Central American
Sea Kayak Expedition 2000

Paddle into the Past with an Eye to the Future!

Egg on our faces…

According to our hosts, this month is the best time of year to eat iguana: there’s an extra surprise to go along with the meat.  It’s mating season and the females are full of eggs.  Mixed in with tender morsels of meat swimming in a thick sauce are pale yellow orbs that look like deflated ping-pong balls.  Luke tries to stick his fork in one.  The thick rubbery skin, unlike any eggshell I’ve ever seen, repels the fork and the egg rolls to the side out of his plate.  Frustrated, he grabs it and shoves it in his mouth.  I’m curious about the taste but hesitant about the shell, so I wait for a facial expression of approval or disgust.  He chews on it repeatedly, at first determined then confused.  Luckily at that moment a neighbor calls our host outside and Luke discretely spits the egg out onto the plate and tells me: “Man, this thing is impossible to eat! Are they teasing us?”


We are trying to be discrete but we must look like a couple of kids chewing on giant wads of bubble gum.  Our host has left his eggs in his plate and is talking outside.  This can’t be a joke.  Everywhere we’ve gone in La Moskitia we have heard that iguana eggs are a prized delicacy.  People will prod the stomach of female iguanas with their fingers to check for eggs.  When they find them, their faces light up with joy.
I ate many bizarre-looking things in my jungle explorations through Indonesia and Thailand: worms, giant rats, dogs, bats and snakes.  They were, at least, edible and there was no mystery about how to eat them.  Yet here we are, clueless as to how we should attack these things.  There is no way I will swallow one whole.  I’ll choke.  And it doesn’t look like it will digest well.  But we can’t just leave them on our plates and offend our host.  I’m just about to throw them to the dogs when Felimon returns to the table.


He sits down, grabs an egg and asks us, “You don’t like the eggs?” Then holding the rubber ball in his right hand, he punctures the skin with his two front teeth, tears the skin off and squeezes the cooked yolk into his mouth.  With a satisfied grin, he drops the empty skin on the plate.  We feel like total idiots.  “Oh, we were just saving the best for last,” we reply.  We finish our meal (the yolk is richer than any egg I have ever had), laughing at our mistakes.

We had so many amazing encounters with people on our expedition. Get the rest of Dancing With Death to read many more!

 

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