Unfortunately, the wind was not in our favor as there was none. The trade winds had died for the first couple of days so the "Tabano" flies (a kind of yellow-ish brown deer/horse fly) and mosquitoes were in full army air, dive bomber mode. Going outside was not recommended even with DEET. Tabanos are the stealth bombers of flies sporting back-swept wings. They seem slower than normal flies but very acrobatic, landing without you feeling it, cut you to bleed, lick up the blood, and refuel. It seems it's only when they detach that you know you've been bit. Some people are quite sensitive to the bite and I've seen ankles, hands, even half an arm so swollen you'll think it will burst. I'm one of the lucky ones - to me their bite is like a bad mosquito bite. The localized pain wears off quickly. Still, a dab of Preparation H or it's equivalent that has a pain killer and reduces swelling really helps.
From Wikipedia: Only the females bite animals to obtain enough protein from blood to produce eggs. The mouth parts of females are formed into a stout stabbing organ with two pairs of sharp cutting blades, and a sponge-like part used to lap up the blood that flows from the wound. Tabanids are agile fliers; Hybomitra have been observed to perform aerial manoeuvres similar to those performed by fighter jets, such as the Immelmann turn.
On Day 2, we made the 28 kilometers into town to give out some sausage samples, including my new "Country Habanero", and see some folk that we knew. We had lunch at Nohoch Kay (Maya for 'Big Fish') enjoying ceviche, guacamole, and whole fish fried to perfection. On Day 3 the wind picked up enough that the bugs were for the most part swept back to the lagoon allowing me to grill some yogurt-marinated chicken outdoors. It would have been steak and the package sure looked like New York Strip but alas, only chicken. "Chicken Steak" we called jokingly though it tasted far better.
On the last day, returning to town, I bought tickets on the ADO Bus Line to the Chetumal Airport. At least, I thought it was going to the airport. A two-hour trip with a stop in Bacalar and indeed it did stop at the airport. Wifey jumped out (I had to get the blood circulating in my butt before moving anywhere) and while she was offloading the bags and large cooler the bus driver asked to see my ticket. He explained that my ticket was 94 pesos (about US$5.40) and it was to the terminal in town not the airport. Apparently there's a 150 peso surcharge to be dropped off at the airport. Go figure!
Well, that wasn't going work for us since we had arranged for a friend who lived nearby to pick us up. I get off the bus to see where Wifey is and the driver followed to explain to us and to another couple from the bus in the same boat that there was a surcharge for drop-off at the airport and the ticket price should have been 224 pesos (US$12.80) Well before I had a chance to say a word the other couple, both Mexicans, gave him hell and told him the ticket guy is the one to complain to not them. The bus driver looked at me and I just said "Hey, I'm with them" pointing to the other couple. He wasn't happy but we stayed at the airport while he drove off. Our friend arrived and off to home we went where the menagerie was quite happy to see us. 5 minutes or 5 days, same-same reception. Animals are funny that way. No sense of time.
I hate to admit it but our first night back in an air-conditioned bedroom was glorious. I'm officially spoiled.
The next day we had friends from Belize come visit. Christina was on the way to Cancun for a flight and her husband Brad played chaperon then stayed with us another day before returning to Belize. He'll be back in a few days after he and the rest of the Caribbean Roots band play a gig in Sarteneja when he will travel to join Christina in the land of the Big PX.
Lots of bands and bars this weekend as it is Mexico's big celebration of Independence from Spain that I wrote about last week. This morning there were drunks passed out in various public areas, cars driven into culverts, and apparently lots of hangovers. We're staying close to home as you might expect.
Be careful out there.
Addendum: Previous Mahahual stories
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