Bacalar, the lagoon of seven colours
After leaving the more widely visited parts of the Yucatun we felt very lucky to come across some unexpected surpises in the small town of Bacalar.
The Bacalar lagoon which has been long described as the lagoon of seven colors has been inhabited since Mayan times when the local population believed it held special powers. Then in the 17th century, pirates sailed the lagoon using it pillage the usually isolated towns. These days Bacalar is a humble town sitting on the most breathtaking lagoon of vivid clear blue water.
We arrived in Bacalar on 15 September, which is one of the most celebrated days on the Mexican calendar, Mexican Independence Day! During the day we walked around town listening to 'viva Mexico' being screaming from passing cars. In the evening the fiestas began.There was dancing, singing, and drinking. We had a great night watching the Mexican girls dancing in their colorful traditional dresses while drinking sol beers for 15 peso and eating delicious freshly made tacos and tostadas.
With the fiesta starting at 7pm and not finishing untill the early hours of the morning some took things too far and we witnessed a couple of local drunkards being carried away by the police after a few too many cervezas. VIVA MEHICO!!
We had noticed a few strange blonde haired people lurking about town, occasionally passing us on a horse drawn buggy. Who are these people wearing old fashioned straw hats and overalls? They did not seen to respond to 'hola' and certainly didn't resemble the average mexican we had come to know. After some investigations we realized that the people belonged to a Mennonite or Amish community which was located close to town.
After speaking to our new friend Fernando, from Mexico City he told us that the group's original decendants originated in Germany and have been living seperated from mainstream society since the 1920's. He mentioned that the community have only been in this part of Southern Yucatun for 10 year after leaving Northern Belize in search of more land. Fernando kindly offered to drive us to the ranch where the community lives to buy some of their homemade cheese.
Upon entering the community it felt like we had time warped going back a few hundred years. It was a hot, humid day of 35 degrees and the men wore long sleeved thick shirts and long pants while working the land and the women long thick dresses revealing no skin. What a bizarre sight, Amish people living in the ancient Mayan heartland.
After a surreal 15 minute drive down a dirt road, we decided to take our chances and pull in to one of the ranches. When we reached the front door about 8 children with very curious faces and one very weary mother came towards us we then attempted to communicate our desire to purchase their homegrown cheese. After the first phrase of English was spoken we realized there was a strong communication barrier. Luckily Fernando was educated at a German school and could understand their German dialect!
After Fernando's conversation with the mother he explained that the cheese could be bought from a ranch 10km's north of the pine trees. We set off on our search for this glorious cheese once more. After trespassing on three more ranches, one communal food stop and recieving a dozen confused looks by the stern blue eyed men we realized we may have overstayed our welcome. Empty handed but enlightened by the experience we realized we had now gained so much more then the cheese we had come to find.