During a trip to Sedona, AZ a few years ago, my husband coaxed me into going on a hike. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful scenery, going for long walks with my husband and Sedona happens to be one of my favorite places to visit. However, hiking in the hot desert wasn’t on my list of things to do. Seeing as my husband didn’t wince, complain or roll his eyes when I dragged him through more than one craft, jewelry and pottery shop in Sedona, I agreed to the hike.
We joined a group led by a tour guide. Allegedly this guide told everyone to be careful of the cholla cactus that surrounded the trail. Allegedly the guide made it clear that should a person be stuck by a spine from the cactus it would be incredibly painful. Allegedly the guide also said to not go wandering off by ourselves and to take extra caution when taking pictures, so one does not fall into the cactus.
I say allegedly, because I don’t recall all these instructions.
I admit, I wasn’t giving the tour guide’s speech my full attention. It wasn’t my fault. This guide had a monotone voice—-the same kind my high school math teacher had—–which had me excelling in daydreaming 101 and summer school for math. The guide also didn’t speak loud enough to drown out the characters that reside in my head, who were telling me to dig out my mini-tape-recorder and record notes. Writers are notorious for note taking. We like to keep these memories on paper, in case we can work them into a novel.
Admit it. How many of you REALLY pay attention when the flight attendant is giving all those hand-waving instructions on the plane? Are you really listening to everything the tour guide says in a museum? Your mind wanders and you’re thinking of how to plot a murder, interesting places to hide a body, or what kind of clothes a hooker in the 18th century would have worn at the location you’re visiting, right?
Okay, maybe it’s just me. But I digress.
Hiking to the top was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed myself more than I thought I would. I was chatting with my husband and with other people in the group, but I kept getting shushed because everyone wanted to listen to the guide drone on about something or other. I decided to take a slight detour so I could take a few pictures.
I backed up, because I wanted to get a shot of the scene up ahead on top. I heard my husband calling my name and telling me to come back and to…WATCH. OUT.
I fell backward and landed on my behind on top of a cholla cactus plant.
I screamed as if I were going to audition for the next Chucky Horror movie.
The pain. Was. Horrific.
And this coming from someone who has a high pain tolerance.
My husband came to help me up and then said we needed to get down the trail as fast as possible. Fast? He wanted me to rush down the trail with these little pricks stuck in my ass? I just wanted to pluck them out.
He told me we couldn’t do that, because as the guide had said at the beginning that if someone were to touch the cactus and get stuck with a needle, the person removing the needles needed to wear gloves.
Obviously (and thankfully), my husband paid attention to the initial instructions.
My husband rushed in, explained what had happened to me and asked if there was a private room available and some rubber gloves.
The woman inside was chuckling. Even though I was in pain, traumatized and knew that sitting down wasn’t an option, thanks to the little pricks, I was lucid enough to clearly hear the laughter in this woman’s voice.
There was no where for me to strip down, there were no rubber gloves available.
Now, I ask you, if this is a concern in this area, wouldn’t they have a private room stocked with rubbers for all those pricks?
I had to lay down in the back seat of the car, face down, until we got back to our resort.
I didn’t look up at the ceiling for a few days. I prefer laying on my tummy anyway, and eating standing up isn’t such a bad thing for a day or two.
So, I guess you’re wondering what does any of this have to do with Tasty Tuesday and a recipe?
In spite of those little pricks literally giving me a pain in the ass, I love prickly pears. They’re one of my favorite fruits.
For this week’s Tasty Tuesday recipe, I’m sharing a prickly pear cactus banana smoothie.
It’s chock full of antioxidants, delicious, refreshing and if you want, you could even add some vodka or gin to the juice for a healthy cocktail…well, healthy, depending on how many you throw back.
Prickly Pear Smoothie
1 Banana, cut in half
2 Prickly Cactus Pears, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup water
1/2 pint frozen vanilla yogurt
1 cup of ice cubes
Put the banana, cactus pears and orange juice in a blender and puree.
Then add the frozen yogurt, water, ice cubes and blend until smooth.
Most prickly pears you buy in the store will already have the spines removed, but in case they don’t, here is a link that will explain how to do it.
Stop by and visit P.G. Forte and Nancy Lauzon and find out what they have cooking for you.