©1996 by Lynn D. Troldahl Hershberger (Lynn@ColorJoy.com)
Flamingos in Rio Lagartos, Food in San Felipe
[Photo Above: Just a few of the flamingos we saw.]
On Saturday, Antonio took us to the small fishing village of Rio Lagartos (Alligator River -- there really are a few alligators around there, too). He engaged a guide and fisherman, Miguel (mee-GHEL), who took us out to see flamingos. It was quite a long trip on the boat to find the birds. The sun was bright, but it was a perfect, slightly sunny and not-too-hot kind of day.
[Photo: Antonio in boat, Rio Lagartos.]
We got amazingly close to the birds. There were about 200-400 birds according to Antonio, and we probably got within 10 feet of them at one point. They were absolutely beautiful. They make a funny squeaking sound. It reminded me of a dog toy at times. They also act as silly as they look and sound. They follow the leader, all going in the same direction at once. It was breathtaking. Antonio said he had never had any better view of the birds though he has been there uncountable times.
The birds were unusually dark pink this year, too. Apparently wild flamingos eat many different foods but their favorite is shrimp. The more shrimp they eat, the pinker they get. I am guessing that it was a good year for shrimp, at least by flamingo standards!
After the trip to the flamingos, the three of us met the rest of the family at a nearby fishing village, San Felipe (Saint Philip). In San Felipe (sahn fayLEE-pay), a longtime friend of Antonio's has an excellent seafood restaurant called Vaselina's (yes, really -- Vaselina is the nickname of the restaurant owner). We had wonderful food. I had lobster tails with garlic sauce (freshly caught) and Brian had shrimp "crepes" (the crepes were really fresh corn tortillas). Antonio ordered ceviche and fried fish for us so that we could try several items while we were there. When all was devoured with fervor, Antonio's friend paid the bill for all of us: five adults and two children.
This village is where Pedro's family spent most of their summers while he was growing up. It is about one-half hour from Tizimin, and right on the Gulf of Mexico. Antonio has known people in this town for decades; and his mother, Abuela Nelly, still rents a cottage there every year. Everyone knows everyone. So Pedro's family is well known in this area and has been for a long time.
[Photo: Miguel in the boat, viewing the Flamingos in flight.]
However, Antonio is particularly respected by the fishermen in this area because he organized the bringing of a hyperberic chamber to Tizimin. This medical device treats the condition that happens when fishermen dive for their catch and for some reason surface too quickly. That situation used to kill countless fishermen just doing their (very dangerous) jobs. From what I can gather, before this chamber was brought to Tizimin, the only other chamber available in the Yucatán peninsula was in Cancún, and it was used on tourists who had diving incidents. It was not available to ordinary Mexican citizens such as the fishermen who now have a lifesaving treatment available to them.
Since the chamber was brought to Tizimin, it has regularly saved fishermen's lives. Antonio is the administrator of the program which runs the chamber. It is run through the Red Cross. They are, interestingly, finding that this chamber is useful in curing other medical problems besides the diving incidents. I wish I knew more Spanish so I could have asked Antonio about it. As it is, the little I know is through talking with Pedro and Kathy.
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