Our first night in Zapata...we arrived via camioneta at approximately 4 pm and learned our first bit of trivia...they go by Maya Time here, which is an hour behind regular time. As we learned, many Mexicans call the different times "Tiempo de Dios" and "Tiempo de Fox"...this is because Mexico never recognized daylight savings until President Fox introduced the concept about 5 years ago. There are many chistes (jokes) about this, and people in general don't seem to like the concept...thus, we have Maya Time, which doesn't recognize Fox Time. It was quite confusing at first!
We were shown to our cabaña and I was somewhat nervous to realize we were the only people staying there and it was some distance from the town. I did not feel safe at all, despite Manuel's assurances that it was fine.
There are no restaraunts in Zapata...and only the 6 little cabañas for people going to the Laguna Miramar. We ate with Manuel and his wife Manuela. There is also no electricity in Zapata, so the people cook over fires and wash clothes in the river. At night they use candles for light. After dinner, it was dark and I asked Manuel to walk us to our cabaña because I was nervous. When we got there, there were some men there which made me more nervous, but he assured me all was fine. I prayed that God would keep me from having to use the bathroom in the middle of the night!!!! Thankfully, He did! This is a big feat for me as I normally have to go potty in the night about 2-3 times. Okay...I guess that was TMI (too much information).
The next day dawned bright and early, and we were supposed to go to the lake via horseback. We went with the guide, but there was only one little pony for Sierra. My ankles were swollen and in a lot of pain from twisting them (again!), and the terrain to the lake is deep mud, rocks and tree roots and steep up and downs. I said I would have to have a horse. We decided to go the next day.
At this point, I was ready to leave. I had decided I hated Zapata. The people kept making comments about how HUGE I was....even Sierra is bigger then most of the people there, but I was getting really offended by it and all their interest in how big I am. Manuel's wife seemed to be a penny pincher and out for every penny she could get...she was charging us 30 pesos per person per meal for rice and beans and tortillas. She seemed unfriendly at best and said I was too big for a horse. I was so mad!!
Sierra begged me not to leave...she really wanted to see the lake and give it one more day. I reluctantly said okay. That day, without much to do, we ended up walking around the small town a bit and all the kids were looking at us. We finally went to the center area where there was an open air building. While there, about 50 kids and several adults showed up just to watch us. They were all peering at us and giggling. Sierra started acting silly and they just laughed and laughed. Then she began chasing them and playing tag and it was all over...50 kids were running all over playing and laughing. We tried to get a game of Duck, Duck, Goose started, but it ended up being a new game we called Mono, Mono, Mordida (Monkey, Monkey, Bite!!)...it was lots of fun...Sierra would tag the kids and make them sit down and when everyone was seated, she would say Mono, Mono, Mordida and point to someone to be the next one to be "It"...they even got the adults involved, and the ice was broken, I started to make friends.
Manuela still didn't seem very friendly, but I decided to ignore her unfriendliness. After the game, everywhere we went the kids would yell out "Mono, Mono!!" whenever we would pass by. That same day, some more people came into town to go to the Lake..they were all from Italy. I felt much better about being in the cabaña that night with some neighbors and some friends.