The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda is the author a memorable poem about an artichoke, in which the vegetable is infused with military meaning but eventually emasculated by a shopper called Maria.
If I were a poet, I would probably write an ode of my own to the pitaya – the fruit of a cactus plant that is also known by the name “dragonfruit.” I first learned about the pitaya when I lived in Nicaragua in 1996. It was a scary-looking fruit on the outside with a spiny armor. But once you got past that tough exterior, the insides were dripping with a sweet magenta pulp that was loaded with tiny black seeds. Nicaraguans typically made the pitaya into a fruit juice, but sometimes slices of it ended up on salads and other food items.
Apparently there are a range of pitayas that grow around the Southern hemisphere, including Mexico, and this site reports that there are “several” that are from Nicaragua. Some other varieties have a white flesh and yellow exterior. It can also also be found in Vietnam and Malaysia.
I got to thinking about the pitaya recently because in one of my graduate classes we are looking at the company that produces POM Wonderful pomegranate juice. POM has funded a lot of research into the health benefits of the pomegranate and I would love to see the same thing happen with the pitaya (this study seems to suggest that the pitaya also has high antioxidant potential). Like the pitaya, I found Nicaragua to be a country with a rough, complicated exterior. Once you got past that, though, the country – and the pitaya – was full of surprises and wonders, which made it well worth the challenge.
Thalia is a well-known Mexican singer and former TV soap star. I remember watching her in the Maria la del Barrio series that was on Mexican television in the 90s in which she portrays a trash picker rescued by a wealthy benefactor and eventually finds true love after tearful betrayals and misunderstandings. In real life, Thalia Sodi Mirana married music executive Tommy Motolla.
In this video, she decorously dances with President Barack Obama for a few moments before concluding her song at the Fiesta Latina concert that was held at the White House on Tuesday.
According to The New York Times, the event will be rebroadcast Thursday on PBS stations as part of the series “In Performance at the White House.” It is also to be shown Sunday on the Telemundo network.
QUESTION: Was the president’s dance out-of-bounds? There seems to be a lot of chatter on the Internet about whether or not Michelle Obama looked annoyed or gave him the cold shoulder afterwards. Thoughts?
YouTube video from The Daily Beast.
Posted in Arts & culture, News & current events
Tagged barack obama, Fiesta Latina, mexico, obama, Obama dancing, Obama latino, Obama Thalia, president dancing with Thalia, Thalia, White House
Tijuana’s painted donkey-zebras have some distant counsins – in a Gaza Strip zoo.
Here in Tijuana, visiting the famous donkey-zebras is a time-honored tradition for tourists to Tijuana’s Avenida Revolucion. You get the family and friends together around the painted donkey, don some sombreros and ponchos, and SNAP – a photo is taken. The city’s unofficial mascots were apparently painted with black strips as far back as the 1940s so that they could show up more clearly in the black-and-white photos.
Across the world, donkey-zebras are now appearing in the Marah Land Zoo, though in this case the painted stripes for educational purposes. The idea is to teach Palestinian kids about zebras. According to this Reuters story, the donkeys were painted with women’s hair dye using a paintbrush after it became clear that importing a real zebra would cost $40,000 or so.