Cheryl, Lucky, and their daughter spent the night on their way back to Hopkins, Belize from their annual vacation in Canada. They looked like they needed a post-holiday respite and hopefully the food and comfortable beds gave them a head start on recuperation.
Ol' Red started acting up again. Dealing with a 20-year-old car is like having a teenager in the house. Things seem to go smoothly with only minor hiccups and then something happens - an alignment of stars, a flare of northern lights, an invisible molecular storm - in other words nothing you can see coming then boom! Something goes awry. This time, over-heating. Catherine had chauffeured our guests and luggage to the Belize border then called from the middle of the bridge over the Rio Hondo (a sort of no-man's land between Belize and Mexico). Ol' Red had decided to overheat. Past history and a bit of fortunate paranoia had her watching the gauges so it wasn't one of those smoke and stall overheating events, just a high temp reading on the dashboard. Whew!
A few weeks back I had replaced the thermostat so I knew that was working (or should be), the fluid level was OK (or was), and the gauge had heretofore always been reliable (and should be still - always trust your indications!). So she pulled over and called. Armed with radiator stop-leak and a bottle of antifreeze I tracked down a taxi and went to the border. By this time the engine had cooled enough that she and Ol' Red limped to the immigration check point saving me a long walk on the bridge. Stop-Leak and coolant IV to the radiator, badabing - badadoom, and back home we went. Long story short - looks like a bad radiator cap. We'll work on a replacement soon.
I say soon because the rest of the week was prep for a sudden trip north to Mahahual on Friday where Chiara (owner/operator of the only deli in town) needed a few kilos of Breakfast Sausage and our friend Steve had a few new orders as well as some possible commercial establishments lined up for a sales pitch. The plan was to prepare four different kinds of sausages, cook them up, and bring them around for real time taste-testing. Aiming to be somewhat professional, I had a rush order of business cards made up along with some labels for the packages.
What was then Tropical Storm Nate gave us an additional prep day as it was just coming off the Honduran coast and chances looked good for a landfall somewhere in the Yucatan. On Friday. Of course.
Now, Mahahual is a tourist town. So rain storms and tourists don't mix so local businesses will often close when there is no cruise ship scheduled and the weather is foul. Not a good day to make sales pitches. Cruise ships were indeed diverted ergo plans shifted to Saturday giving me an extra day to make and prepare the sausages. Sweet Italian, Spicy Italian, Breakfast Sausage, and Country Habanero. A good cross-section as I was advised by my sales team.
Friday we had some new friends from Belize visit for lunch during their trip to Mexico for car parts (yes, it's even harder to find spare parts in Belize). They, and Catherine, are on the Keto diet. It's the Atkins diet on steroids I guess. No sugar, minimum carbs - protein and fat are the preferred menu options. So, I prepared juicy sausages which they ate rolled in a lettuce leaf with tomatoes and a bit of the sauteed onions. Me? I had my sausage in a roll with lots of onions and a touch of mayo. I'm not a Keto-neurotic (I think I'll trademark that!), I still very much like my rice and pasta and bread and... A nice time but as soon as they left, back to stuffing sausages for the next day.
Terribly early on Saturday (5AM wake-up!!!) we load up in David's car and head for Mahahual. First stop upon arrival is, of course, the bakery for fresh croissants and what they call "baguettes" which are really more like "ficelles", the smaller, skinnier version of a true baguette but just as tasty. A small breakfast for Catherine and off we go to La Uvero and Steve's place. The weather? Beautiful.
With no time to fool around I take over the kitchen and start cooking up four different kinds of sausages as we all talked about the plan for the day and who ordered what when. David and Catherine had a swim in the Carib whilst I cooked. Our gracious host Steve (also my sales guru and defacto mule) and I discussed ways to get him out of the business. Much as he likes free sausage in exchange, he has his own life and charcuterie was made to be eaten, not hauled for others.
All packed up we leave Uvero for Mahahual and a delicious lunch at No'hoch Kai (Big Fish) Restaurant with Gerry, owner of Tukano Condos in town. That's when I learn that Gerry is a son of a butcher in Holland and I hoped we hadn't over-hyped the supreme deliciousness of my sausages for a critical palate. A taste test proved otherwise and we had a convert. A good thing actually because Gerry, like several others, had only heard about our sausages and were buying sight unseen or more accurately, taste untasted. Such is the power of sausages!
A few hours passed rather quickly as we went to the various restaurants and hotels offering sausage samples to the chefs and owners. Without exception the taste test did the trick! A quick stop at the deli to deliver Chiara's order and finally, the last stop at Matan Ka'an Hotel. Had a good chat with Gerben, the GM, and we headed home leaving behind some uncooked samples he promised to share with the Koox Hotel Group in Mahahual. Overall a very long but enjoyable and productive day indeed. And I couldn't have done it without the help of friends and family!
As I write, most everyone here in the capital city of Chetumal is celebrating the 43rd anniversary of becoming a state - the youngest state in Mexico. Needless to say, there's a lot of activity what with ceremonies, dignitaries and their entourages, food hawkers, and crowds. I expect a rowdy evening will be had by many.