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Published: April 5th 2011
I set up camp on the shore of Lago Bacalar after a long drive from Palenque. It wasn't a particularly difficult drive in spite of two army checkpoints and a state police checkpoint. The roads were good and the cops didn't want to deal with my horrific Spanish. There as tame as pussy cats after their ears start to bleed.
This is a undeniably a beautiful place. Bacalar is a freshwater lake that is everywhere a perfect shade of turquoise. The Maya believe that a most magnificent automobile known as the Mighty Colt inspired the gods to make it so. My camping spot is unbelievable in the sense that it's just not quite right. I belong here, I'm afraid. It's really a balanerio (swimming place) that accommodates campers and anyone else who will pony up $6 to stay the night. The people who run this circus live in a shack on the premises. They have among them several children, a dog with three and a half legs, and a whole slew of chickens milling about smartly. The toilet is just a bowl with no tank or seat (there's never a seat in Mexico, it seems) set in a cement floor
about 4 feet square that is surrounded by concrete block walls about five feet high. I think it odd there there is no roof. I fear that somebody zooming in too far with Google earth could get a really nasty surprise if they aimed at this spot. The toilet is flushed by pouring in buckets of water that are stationed just outside the door.
I am more concerned about the motley balenario clientele than anything else. My chief concern being that I am one of them. When I arrived, I was greeted by very nice Canadian couple "camping" in a rather large trailer that they towed behind a rather large van. It boggled my mind to think how much gas they must have burned to drag that thing so far south. I think it boggled their mind that I drove such a dinky little car so far all by my lonesome. They served me up a Margarita and a little dinner so that I could be spared the indignity of eating top raumen and lukewarm coca-cola light. That was nice and they were nice but the neighborhood went downhill after they left early the next morning. The folks that remained were a strange lot. They kept to themselves and I kept my distance. I think that the majority of them were locals camping there to enjoy the lake like I was but there were some other from I-don't-know-where who just seemed to be lost there. I went for an early morning swim and turned around to see some guy on the edge of the lake standing on his head in some kind of funky underwear that looked like a diaper. I assumed that he must be practicing yoga or some such thing so I didn't give it a second thought. That's the part that worries me. I think I lost a few more marbles somewhere along the way. If it seems normal that there should be a dude in diapers standing on his head in your campground, one must be running dangerously low on marbles. I think I don't want to know what happens after one has lost all of them. I had originally thought that the risk of running out of funds would be the biggest challenge of this trip. Now I'm more concerned about running out of marbles.
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