So we left the Cenote and our first adventure of the trip behind. Juan continued driving his breakneck pace and I struggled to keep up. Thank goodness for the many topes along the way that forced him to slow down. B and I were getting just a little irritated by this point. We had envisioned a leisurely journey to Akil, stopping along the way to admire architecture and scenery and to take photos. This was, after all, our first trip together off the island to explore Mexico. Juan simply wanted to get home. We eagerly took in the small villages that we passed, admiring or gasping at the living conditions in each.
Some towns (and I use the term very loosely) had small concrete blocks home with Romanesque arches and pillars decorating the front porches. It seemed so strange to see this kind of architecture here. Others were simply made up of palapa roofed shacks. The construction was interesting though. They seemed to be put together of sticks, mud and straw. Like something out of Africa. Some of the villages had no visible electric wires. Some had satellite dishes on their roofs. There was no rhyme or reason to it. Some of the villages had stacks of concrete blocks and piles of sand in front of the houses. Juan later told us that it was part of the government project to help people build new houses that would withstand hurricanes, should another ever hit the Yucatan. We thought that this was a great idea. Juan grumbled that he had to pay taxes to help these people. Again, the difference in our cultures. We see poverty and think “we have to help these people.” Mexicans see poverty and just move along. It has nothing to do with them.
On we drove, turning onto M184 at Tzucadab. We passed the tiny village of Ticum and then through the slightly larger town of Tekax. Ten miles further down the road, and we saw the first tope of Akil and a sign claiming that Akil boasted a population of 9465 inhabitants. Population signs are very new in Mexico and the cities that have them are very proud of them. Just past the public market, we turned left onto a dirt street and, after a few twists and turns, arrived at Juan’s house. Juan pulled into the little driveway on the left and motioned me to pull in to his right, under the carport. Before unloading anything, we stepped the short way back to the street and surveyed the house.
It is not much to talk about in the front. It sits towards the front of the lot and the front is still a work in progress. On the left, where Juan parked, was going to be a front patio under the already constructed roof. We were parked in the carport area with a giant arch entrance and an open arch to our left, which we walked through to get to Juan’s car and the main entrance. No paint and still some construction debris lying around.
To the left of Juan’s, and occupying the corner lot, was the house of Maria’s brother, Wilbur. To the right was the house of another one of Maria’s brothers, Jaimie. This house had a small store in front which B found to be quite handy to keep his 3 pack a day habit going.
While we were unloading the Jeep, Maria and the kids had gone on into the house. Maria returned to the door and greeted us with the typical gracious Mexican greeting of “Bienvenidos. Mi casa es su casa.”, or Welcome, my house is your house. We thanked her and stepped in. The front of the house did not prepare us for the interior at all.