06 April 2016

Tecolutla - Part Four

Zocalo rehabilitated
It was November the last time I was there. Slowly over several years the town is recovering from the flood. But Hector was bedridden and the hotel had that sad look of seen better days. Daughter Sylvia was here more often. The hotel is not up to snuff because Rosario has her hands full looking after Hector and her (by now) two small boys. A Boyfriend appears to be living in; what was his name? Ostensibly he is here to help run things, be a practical resource, a strong pair of arms.
And new ventures for high season

Juan Carlos took us to meet Turtle Man: Fernando "Papa Tortuga" Manzano. For years the man has been rescuing and nurturing the seasonal eggs of an endangered species Tortuga Loras, or Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles. Juan sees a future in eco-tourism for Tecolutla. He is contacting biologists and government officials. [In fact, the Tecolutla Turtle Preservation Project became a reality a few years later, with programs and an education centre now underway.] One of the regular El Rincon patrons suggested Mr. Gringo might enjoy going to a cock fight in Poza Rica, which he might have ... nasty repellent idea. Thankfully that never materialized.

Typical Teco restaurant flyer
One day The Boyfriend is on a ladder at the side of the hotel with Rosario desperately wringing her hands. Our hydroelectricity has been cut off. Unpaid bill, it seems. Boyfriend tinkered with things on the hydro pole; at any moment we expected his hair to burst into flames, charred body plummeting. But he managed to make it work. Otherwise he made himself scarce and Mr. Gringo became the default handyman.

We went to a parade in Zamora after enjoying the weekend bustle of its market. Sure as fleas on a Mexican cat, I've forgotten which feast day or festival was being celebrated. We found "my" restaurant too. One time Tecolutla erected a stage on the beach for a night of music and dancing, with fireworks as a highlight. It was a bit unnerving to watch showers of sparks falling into the dry thatch of the palapas. But when Tecolutla has a party no worries spoil the boisterous fun. 

Novel advertising experiment
November was not a good month to be there. The weather was cold at night thanks to el Nortes. I was attacked by sand fleas, not knowing they flourish at daybreak and dusk on the beach. Our friend thought there may be bedbugs!
Cristobal, magic mechanic
Plans were afoot to convey some used cars from Canada to Tecolutla whereby Mr. Gringo and Juan would Make a Profit. Here we must acknowledge that neither's language skills had improved vis-á-vis the other. Small old pickup trucks were highly valued and with the attentions of an excellent mechanic would keep running forever. Lord knows, Cristóbal kept our old car in working order. Mr. Gringo set out southward on his own one day in such a vehicle, towing another, to end up stranded in Reynosa. The incoherent story received on my end involved an intermediary in the Reynosa jail and an impound car lot. Don't ask. I immediately dropped the cross-examination.
New highway sign at the turnoff near Zamora
  Then life intervened as they say, and contact was intermittent. Sadly, word came that Hector died. Instead of being described as a fishing village now, I see that Tecolutla has indeed morphed into an eco-tourism destination. The place has grown exponentially; I scarcely recognize the size of it now. Garabatos is still on the hotel directories ... brava Sylvia!

© 2016 Brenda Dougall Merriman

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