After a day in Casa Cenote, a swim in the sea and grilled fish prepared by master-chief “vecchio” (as hard as we try we cannot remember his real name cause Tania and the kids call him like this) we are quite sure that Giorgia’s stomach problems are history, so our travel can go on direction Belize. During the evening Tania keeps on telling about their time living in San Cristobál, Chiapas and about the beautiful places they visited. They also would leave the hostel the next day, driving with their recently bought van direction Chiapas but not without visiting Bacalar, a beautiful ‘Pueblo Magico’-decorated village at the side of a fresh water lagoon. We want to go to the border and that’s the same direction so they invited us to go with them in the van till there. We have an entertaining trip playing with the kids. Goran always inventing new stories gives us great laughs while Naima explaining everything with a thousand words, are making a long trip passing by as it was just a short ride. We arrive at Bacalar and we know directly: here we cannot just pass by, here we have to stay some days. We decide it at the same moment we are standing on a small hill next to a fortification with a view over a lagoon with colours between white and blue, containing all their variants in between, having this typical tropical light green touch in it. At the other side of the water tropical rain forest is edging the sky. We are delighted with the peaceful ambient and the wonderful colours.
After looking and comparing different hostels searching for a cheap place to stay, we find the secret corner in paradise. A house with a well maintained garden just at the waterside with a dock to swim and sunbathing, some hammocks are hanging over the green in between the coco trees, and two small two-person caravans parked at the garden edge with in between a with roof covered terrace. We settle down (for 250 pesos a night), we had eaten already and we are ready for a swim. We walk the dock, overlook and enjoy the gorgeous scene in front of us, and jump. The warm water covers our bodies as we enter the water. We enjoy a nice fresh water swim and it is already raining for a while before we decide to climb the dock again. It is actually warmer in the water then outside and fresh sporadic drops of rain are welcoming us on the wooden platform.
After hanging around on the terrace talking about this and that we prepare ourselves for dinner. A short walk to the village which doesn’t have much more to offer than rest. At the first restaurant the staff was not really willing to serve us. It just seemed too much of an effort for them. We get up again and after some streets we finish in a taco bar and just as it always seems to occur: it is much better, cheaper and cosier than the first one. We make our order: quesadillas (11pesos each), tacos (also11 each), sopa Azteca and drinks. It is right here, on this very evening, in this restaurant/bar with terrace on the street, where I will eat my first ‘Habanero’. The pepper you wright with capital letter ‘P’, the hottest of all, the king of the spice, the one and only that sets a whole fire department in state of emergency. It is my baptism in a world of the real man as tonight I will lose my spice-virginity with a pepper that makes tabasco blush and feel like mayonnaise. ‘Vecchio’ knows his world and tells the waiter that the spicy sauce on the table is not very hot… and that’s all it takes… that’s exactly the right way to hurt the Mexican pride! The waiter smiles suspiciously before he runs off to the kitchen coming back with a small orange pepper. “Here you are”, he says politely while revenge is flaming in his eyes. Vecchio has had habanero before so carefully, without touching the vegetable with his hands, he slices the pepper and gives me two slices, so thin that they are transparent, of pepper rings. I put them on my taco together with grilled flesh, cheese and tomato bits. A quarter lime is squeezed on the full length of the taco and I eat the taco without thinking it over. First nothing, just the taco with a light taste of sweet pepper, then a bit of tickle in the throat, then some heat starts to fill my mouth and finally the habanero does his thing and starts to set my mouth on fire. Pearls of sweat are appearing on my forehead. My cheeks start to feel cold and a strong tingle gets till deep in my sinuses. I’m a man now, not a boy anymore so with all the strength I could gather together, I pushed my tears back behind my eyeballs. My nose though dropping them out! Habaneros… an experience on its own. We laugh about it and enter a nice evening of sharing experiences ending in some sunbeds watching the stars and having a nice chat.
We wake up quite late, have some breakfast and decide to go to a bathing place with the kids. Just for 15 pesos entrance, we spend a relax day of bathing, buy some lunch (a delicious shrimp ceviche) and play in the water with the kids. Later on the day we witness two grasshoppers falling in love while “vecchio” has finally managed to get the cheap china-made-wind kite air born. For dinner we eat pizza in an Italian restaurant and go home late. We end the day with funny stories from Tania and each one hilariously commented by “vecchio”. With pain in the muscles from the laughter we go asleep. It is our last night with them as tomorrow our paths separate. We will miss them and the contagious happiness of their children. Goran and Naima will be in our hearts forever.