Mon March 05 2018  —  e-mail Manfred

Chichen Itza to Rio Lagartos, Yucatec Maya, Cowboys and Flamingos.

Flag Mexico Great Pyramid in Chichen Itza.

Sunday, July 24 2011

7 years, 2 days

Rio Lagartos, Mexico

About Travel Photography,
Colors of the World.

Manfred is creator of, travel photography, a travel blog and a photography blog (a journey from 2004 to 2013). 'I set out to see the colors of the world, always I try to capture the colors'.

Seeing, is understanding, so I report and photograph, but formost enjoy and live those different conceptions of life (all that TV [and the web] cannot give). I reject jealousy, animosity, bigotry. Be free!

Manfred in the desert of the Western Sahara

The mind, when pondering at night and always asked those questions. What am I doing in corporate wonderland of bank, university, office or church? Who is the other animal asleep deep inside, the thinker, punk, creative, or Indian, vagabond and healer, maybe artist, writer, photographer, traveler, globetrotter? Oh God, dare you to think. When I saw the lies, gambles and manipulations I follow the old dream and set out for the journey of life lived, the journey to see the colors of the world.

During years on the road I have taken the turns as they came along, and realized one thing: Only such a small part of the planet can be explored and such a vast land and sea mass will always remain unknown, to me; many swamps, jungles, deserts and oceans will never be traveled. But then I am father of twin boys, Daniel and David, my most important, and I show them some of the wonders and colors out there.

ThisFabTrek, Photography and Journey, the Stories from the Road and Life around the World, stopped in August 2013 after more than 9 years, Love and Peace.

Last vehicle.

G20, Chevy Gladiator.

Chevrolet Gladiator G20, The boys in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
The boys and Chevy van, Peru.

The G20, the vehicle that came to me for the Americas adventures.

6 wheeled Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender 6x6
Link to Foley

The vehicle of the Africa adventures, a Foley 6-Wheeled Land Rover Defender.

Before, the MB307.

Manfred and MB307
Journey, Middle East.

The vehicle of the Middle-East and North-Cape Journeys. See all vehicles.

Daniel and David with nanny Aisha, the best we ever had, black African Woman carrying white twin babies, in Bamako, Mali.

Current Vehicle 24,486km

Trekking 750km

Ferry 2,778km

Train 7,015km

Land Rover 73,588km

Other cars 164,034km

Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden.

"Photography enables you to grasp a place first time round. ... Photography is a means of exploration, it's a vital part of travel, almost as essential as a car or a plane. " - Wim Wenders.

"The worst prejudice we acquire during our youth is the idea that life is serious. Children have the right instincts: they know that life is not serious, and treat it as a game..." , Egon Friedell.

"How far you gonna go. Before you lose your way back home" - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Achtung Baby, U2.

"If you want to be a hero well just follow me." - Working Class Hero, John Lennon.

"When I think of all the things I have done, I know that it's only just begun." - I love you, Lou Reed.

"One does not escape the Sahara - the Sahara let's you go or not" - Touareg.

"Planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do" - This is Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie.

"Glory for the crazy people/in this stupid world" - Ahmed Fouad Negm. > journey > north-america > mexico > 20110724-rio-lagartos

This-Fab-Trek turns 7.

Map, Chichen Itza to Rio Lagartos, Yucatan.

Download GPS (KML) track/waypoints.

Tourists cramming in small space in visitor's center seeking shelter from rain Chichen Itza.
Tourists in visitor's center.

We arrive early afternoon and the skies open for a massive thunder storm, 1000s of poor unknowing tourists, carted in on busses from Cancun, cram inside the visitor center, almost kill each other as lightening strikes right above. I cower with my back against a concrete column on the floor, my little boys Daniel and David on my two legs, watch the strange folk push like lemmings into the gusts; we wait and contemplate immediate retreat.

Boys take a break walking Piste town, near Chichen Itza.
In Piste, near Chichen Itza.
Boys take a break walking Piste town, talking their world.
Boys take a break...
Daniel explains to David, their world things, while walking Piste town, Yucatan.
Talking their world.

Little town Pisté is near, soon later dry, the junta office is happy to provide me with their wifi code, later we go for a walk, the boys started talking to each other so much recently, in German. Later, after dark they run around the main place and hunt hand sized moths, I watch content, drink beer, celebrate as my little project This-Fab-Trek has turned 7 today.

So what is it that I wish, just 7 more years and the same amount of luck and blessing? I still have so many plans; am just a little bit calmer about where to go and when and how? The world just will always remain a damn big unexplored place...

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Chichen Itza.

The sunny sides of great Pyramid in Chichen Itza, Early morning. South side is not restored.
The sunny sides.
Front, west view of great pyramid, Chichen Itza, Yucatan. Watch the the snake like shape of the shade on the steps.
Front, west view of great pyramid.

Chichen Itza, Great Pyramid. Early morning. View on the two restored sides, one in shade.
Early morning we are back.

Chichen Itza and early bright morning we are back, I am the first car to enter before any of the busses, the space in front of the Temple of Kukulkan or Feathered Serpent or El Castillo as it is called is completely empty and peaceful, I am really happy now.

Chichen Itza was a major economic and political power from 600 to 1000 A.D. Chichen is a mix of many of Maya and (Central Mexican) Toltec styles (read wiki); who influenced whom? so much of pre-Columbian history is still being debated.

Detail of Pyramid.
Detail of Pyramid.
Chichen Itza. Western reconstructed side.
Western reconstructed side.
Detail Chichen Itza. Steps.
Detail Chichen Itza.
Detail west steps, Chichen Itza.
West steps, Chichen Itza.

Plaza de las mil columnas. Chichen Itza.
Plaza de las mil columnas.

But Chichen Itza is more, a lot more, some plazas have thousands of columns, send greetings to Athens and Rome, there is a Great Ball Court, not just the little one (just closed when we are here). Also El Castillo is more, has another temple buried underneath, but since a Japanese tourist fell to her death climbing the Great Pyramid is a thing of the past, that's better.

Chichen had fallen as early as 1000 A.D. though nothing is established with any certainty to the why. The site was also never completely abandoned and I wonder what must it have been like to live 'primitively' within a thousand columns, in between gigantic monuments, by 1588 after the Spanish conquest it had become a cattle ranch.

Late in the morning a steamy heat drowns our enthusiasm, the twins who only had a banana this morning demand ice cream and I wouldn't mind some liquid, preferably beer; we completely forgot to bring water. From the entrance a steady stream of tourist, or really by the bus loads spills in, soon they have gone to the farthest corners of the site, everywhere the Indio vendors now have rigged up their stands selling Maya busts, calendars and amulets; the peace is gone and I release my brave boys. I've now been to Chichen Itza... Ticked. Just why did my D700 stop working? The light meter is running completely crazy.

We get a beer and ice cream in Piste, it is a lot cheaper away from the site and drive off a bit frustrated about the camera, not far is Villadolid and we arrive in time for lunch just about when the big pouring starts again. The D700 I manage to reset in Tizimin. So happy again.

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Rio Lagartos, we come un-knowing, un-expecting, late.

Boys inspect the pier. Rio Lagartos, Yucatan.
Boys inspect the pier.
Sunset over Rio Lagartos.
Sunset over Rio Lagartos.
Rio Lagartos, boats in evening.
Rio Lagartos, boats in evening.
So nice people, nice little parrot. Mexicans in Rio Lagartos.
So nice people, nice little parrot.
Parrot sits on Daniels hand, David watches on, Rio Lagartos.
First time a parrot.
Vintage cars roll into Rio Lagartos.
Old-timers, roll in.
Relaxed pier atmosphere, Rio Lagartos.
Pier and vintage cars.
On carrousel.
On carrousel.
Fries at a late hour.
Late fries and still joking.

Yes - to Rio Lagartos we come late and totally un-expecting, un-knowing of our luck. I park right on the wharf by the river, the lagoon and boats glitter in sunset, the boys run around on the pier and climb into boats. Soon a parrot fascinates, they never had a parrot sitting on their shoulders and these nice people here are family people, the boys follow them in their house. Later while I still figure out what to make of the place, cowboys and horses parade, the place buzzes a bit, but we are still on the bay promenade. People inquire about my boys, a cowboy lets each, Daniel and David, join for a short ride.

Then I push with the twins beyond the horses and trailers into the town's center. A small luna park surrounds the square in front of the church, folkloric dances are being performed while crackers and fireworks go off, maybe following a beauty contest earlier, what do I know. My boys disappear through the crowd, join other kids running about the ground. I don't see them for a while. No need to worry here; I feel absolutely safe. And there they come back out from nowhere and I lure them away to the carrousel, then buy them French fries with lots of catsup (is how it's spelt here). And then there is a huge trampoline other kids inside, my wild rackers want and get almost an hour, next to it a blurring ranchera combo plays, some bizarre table dance enthuses an all male crowd, beer is sold cheaply. That's cool I can watch the boys while having a few drinks.

It has gotten late, I convince my sweaty sons to move on for some Fanta. Back on the pier, a dirty bar, amazingly nice people, it is a huge family fiesta here, Fanta for my boys and beer for me. They spill their Fanta and I can see they're tired, that's great! We were never before out together, all night. I enjoyed it so much and think they did.

But there is still so much more to come, here in Rio Lagartos.

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Colorada Beach.

Colorada Beach, blue clear water, crisp sky. Logistics, conveyor facilities for near-by salinas. Salt loading. Yucatan, Mexico.
Colorada Beach.

So the camera works again, am so happy, after morning eggs and milk we leave Rio Lagartos for Colorada Beach. I stop to buy water, tell the boys to stay in the back, of course they don't, instead climb to the front and play with the mirrors, they figured lately how to manipulate the switches that move the outdoor mirrors.

While I drive off and try re-adjusting the mirrors I forget that I parked extremely close-up to a pole on the right. While on top of all a big bus closes in in my back I crash the two flapped out side windows on the right. That's a great start in the morning I think, so much glass is just about everywhere. Just how do I convey to my disobedient boys that it is actually their fault? Better not at all, just fume and clean the dangerous mess.

Colorada Beach then shows extremely deep blue colors. The beach is white and almost empty, the windows aren't there anymore, a gapping hole, open for anybody, but I don't fear much will happen here.

Boys with hat sit on beach far, white and untouched.
Beach far, white, untouched.
What is here to do?  On Playa Colorada, boys search on white sandy beach what to do.
What is here to do?
Or how abut this? Fill sand in hats? Twin boys Daniel and David fill sand in their hats on Colorada Beach near Rio Lagartos, Yucatan.
Or how abut this? Fill sand in hats?

Blue water lures.
Blue water lures.
Chase me in blue water, twin boys, Colorada Beach.
Chase me.
Treading water, blue Yucatan sea.
Kids on the run.
What a game, twin boys in ocean.
Catch me water.
Clear ocean, boys wanna play.
Drop me in the water..

We return to Rio Lagartos late in the afternoon, on leaving the beach the boys have gone straight to deep sleep. I let them sleep another two hours, just open all windows for additional air, then sit in the cafe opposite. It's the old parking spot on the pier and I work my computer, a beer and some ceviche snack. The monsters wake late, sweating, demand food and drinks. I wonder what tonight will bring as we set out, headed for the town's center.

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Rio Lagartos fiesta.

Cowboys, prepare for a bullfight. Rio Lagartos.
Prepare for a bullfight.
A la gran corrida de toros. Fiesta Santiaguito Apostolo.
A la gran corrida de toros.

Horses, riders, cowboys, amidst a buzzing, huddling crowd of women and children, drunken men, all quiet, friendly, lively, smiling, embracing. There is a rodeo, an arena which I didn't realize the night before, all made out of wooden poles, I pay the dues, we go into the sticky dusty space under the tribunes, where the combo of brass and drums plays. There are actually two orchestras, one on each side and they take turns. What we are getting into becomes clear now, a bullfighting arena, hundreds, almost all, have come and the bullfights are about to start, my two boys are just about everywhere, the beasts are being let out in the ring right beside us, stabbed in their necks prior, must be what makes them wild!

Torero, Bull fighting arena, Rio Lagartos, Mexico
Torero and small bull.
Bullfighting Yucatan.
Bullfighting Yucatan.
Bull stabbed in bullfighting Yucatan. Cruelty of the game, Bulls are not killed but it obviously hurts them. Just stabbing them should be banned too.
Cruelty of the game.

Boys watch bullfight.
Is facinating for boys.

This is obviously maltrato, cruelty to animals and all the same when the bull isn't killed, 'only' harmed and repeatedly stabbed. The crowd here doesn't care, screams and yells, the bulls' pain? Who gives a damn flyin g f@ck? We observe and too stay till the end.

One torero in bullfight in Yucatan, Mexico, goes down, twilight.
One goes down.
Huge bull in arena, Rio Lagartos.
Huge bull.

Traditional fiesta Mexicana, Rio Lagartos, Yucatan, Mexico.
Traditional fiesta Mexicana.

Dusk has fallen completely when we quit, outside we stumble onto a procession with a cross and women with flowered and feathered heads dancing in white dresses. Somewhere later we purchase some fries, then I let them jump the trampoline while I get a second chance to watch the obscure table dancing and ranchera combo while downing a few cheap beers. This is a real feria mexicana, I smile inside. It is midnight or beyond when we're back to the van, the gapping holes of windows haven't lured anybody to take any of our stuff. Mexico is a safe country I want to believe. I explain the boys what tomorrow will be, that we'd get up early for a boat ride to see the great birds. I have prepared them before. We all fall asleep immediately while disco and techno hammers on near-by, all night long.

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Flamigos on Rio Lagartos, early morning boat trip.

I get up when dawn is well underway. Cold outside and inside and I am a still dizzy, afraid to be late I search my phone and glasses to read off the time; still 10 minutes till 6. I wake the boys: "You want to go on a boat and see the big birds?" My superstars crawl out without another word, without complaint they put their clothes and shoes on. I grab a bottle of water, my computer and camera bag and we leave the van and its gapping holes.

Qué hora es? "Seis con seis", tells me our boat man. The boys yawn, take a long drag at the chilly morning air as we glide over the lagoon waters into sunrise. We follow the river at the edges close by the mangroves, look out for crocs, flamingos and all the other bird life. Soon sun rises and flocks of bids fly towards us in v-shaped formations, soon also flamingos, hundreds.

Daniel. Early morning, no food, cold, Rio Lagartos.
Early morning.
Breezing in the cold air. David, out at 6 on Rio Lagartos.
Breezing in the cold air.
Golden sunrise over the mangroves of Rio Lagartos, lagoon. Yucatan, Mexico.
Golden sunrise.
Soon the first flock of birds over Rio Lagartos.
First flock of birds.
First flamingo formation, Rio Lagartos, Yucatan.
First flamingo formation.
Flamingoes or not? 100s of birds fly in formation towards us as we ride out on Rio Lagartos, early morning.
And many more.
First flamingo encounter near-by.
First encounter near-by.
Line-up of pink and orange, male and female flamingoes. Yucatan, Mexico.
Line-up of pink and orange.

The rose of the flamingoes shines in the sky.
Certainly flamingoes.

We travel east and our guide knows his terrain. He explains a lot, my Spanish though just doesn't even get the basics, I am happy to just come close to these world famous flamingo feeding grounds and so are the boys, I suppose, as they approve with 'ohs' and 'ahs' their fascination. At our destination, we stop the engine, silently drift ever closer to a group of tall fragile looking pink, orange and reddish birds; it is the carotin diet of crustaceans, mainly shrimp, and algae, which is filtered out from the mud, their beak is a specialized tool. Males have stronger colors explains our man. We keep a silence otherwise but eventually what has to happen happens; one after the other take off.

Another group of flamingos, on a sand bank, blue Rio Lagartos.
Another group.

Red flamingo spreads his wings.
Spread your wings.
Flamingos on Rio Lagartos.
Flamingos so close.
Red flamingoes on a sand bank, Rio Lagartos, Yucatan.
On a sand bank.
Vibrantly coloured flamingos, an indication for healthy food intake.
Vibrantly coloured flamingos.
The redder the colours of flamingoes, the better and healthier their food intake.
Pink and red.
Take off on phoenix's wings. Flamingo, Rio Lagartos.
Take off ...
Group of flamingos taking off on Rio Lagartos.
... on phoenix's wings.

Boys visibly tired from watching birds all morning on a boat trip on Rio Lagartos, Yucatan, Mexico.
Heading home tired.

We watch for more than an hour until tiredness takes over my boys, by 9 we are on our way back when so many other boats with tourists head out. Now that sun stands high and already and the heat starts banging down the colors are gone.

We are back for a huge breakfast of eggs, milk and coffee. The car with no windows has been left untouched, - again in 'dangerous' Mexico; just about what I expected. > journey > north-america > mexico > 20110724-rio-lagartos

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