On we went, passing through more villages. Again, we marveled at the architecture in these small towns. The Spanish and French influence was everywhere. Columns on front porches seemed to be the way to go.
We passed many plantations on the route back to Juan’s house in Akil. Mostly oranges, but a scattering of banana, avocado and limes. Every time I drink a glass of orange juice now, I think of those poor, hot, sweaty men laboring away in the blistering heat. It was so hot that none of them could wear shirts. Even while driving by you could see the sweat glistening off their bodies.
As we approached Akil, Juan turned off and stopped at a roadside restaurant. It was a very pleasant place....at first. A single large room with a cement floor, the standard array of plastic tables and chairs with Coca Cola advertising on them. The walls were of woven lattice and the ceiling was a large palapa. Shortly after we were seated, the rain hit. And I mean hit. Once again, it had been so hot when we started on the day, we had left the windows for the Jeep behind. The rain came down in torrents and the fierce wind was blowing it sideways. It did not take long for the interior of the restaurant, and us, to all get wet and miserable. The poor Jeep turned into a swimming pool. Thank goodness again for floor plugs so that we could drain the water out.
Once the rain stopped it turned stifling and muggy. Then the mosquitoes hit. Not the normal kind we are used to. The mosquitoes in the Yucatan were devilishly small little things. Like our no-see-ums or knats. You did not know they were there until the itching started and then it was too late. I almost scratched myself until I bled, such was the magnitude and ferocity of the bites. It would have been tolerable had we had a good meal. Everything we wanted on the menu was not available. Seems our only choices were chicken and pork. I opted for the chicken, which was not very good. There were nine of us in our group and each person got their meal at a different time. It took forever to get through lunch.
Finally lunch was behind us and we headed back to Akil. On the way, Juan pulled over across from some kind of factory. He came back to the Jeep and pointed out that this was an orange juice processing factory. It supplied most of the juice for the Yucatan peninsula. It hardly seemed likely since it was not a large place at all. But I really had no reason to doubt Juan so we appropriately oohed and aahed at the information since he was evidently very proud that this important factory was in his area.