A few weeks ago, on a Sunday, I took my self off to Merida very early in the morning to catch a market that I had heard about. It only happens on a Sunday and starts around 7 am , located way behind the airport.From St Elena its a one and half hour drive ,more or less and I arrived at the market by 8 am . I didn’t want to miss anything by being late and thinking I could arrive back to St Elena by a decent hour, for work.
I,d heard it was quite a place, with lots of things to buy reasonably priced. Naturally my mind wandered off into thinking I could buy sheets and towels for the hotel and oh! maybe a picture or two or even reading lamps for the rooms. I got quite excited at this thought, as I had tried nearly every where to buy Queen size sheets but to no avail and not without spending a fortune.
Well, from the directions that were given me I found the place easily and was surprised to see SSSOOOO many people at this hour of the morning. I drove up and down the street awhile trying to find a spot to park . Eventually I managed one quite nearby in front of the women’s prison!That kinda looked scary !
Well off I charged, spending on my mind soon to be deflated as I walked all around the some 100 odd stalls . Nothing really caught my eye ,it wasnt as I had thought it to be (sorry Scott).
Lots of clothes, all synthetic of course, second hand tools all rusted out along with kitchen utensils , which I have thrown out better! Oh well, curiosity got me this time ! but I am sure for some it would be a great place……
BUT what did catch my eye were what I thought were live Cornish hens (turns out they are quails)! Mmm I like Cornish hens roasted ,this would really be a treat. So on impulse I bought four, asked the lady how to take care of them etc. She suggested that the wings needed to be clipped so they would not fly away. How does one do that, I asked,She proceeded to show me how so that when I got home I could do it myself… Yikes never done anything like this before.
So I left the market to head home with the birds tucked up in a box with some food that I had bought there too.
I dropped off at the hardware store here in St Elena to buy some chicken wire to make a temporary home just for the night.
I did the wing thing, built a home under a nice shady tree and felt happy with my purchase.Half an hour went by and I thought I had better check on the birds to see if they are O K .OH NO! One had already escaped ( he was a feisty one). I found him around the back of the restaurant but he ran so fast I couldnt believe it nor catch him.The next thing he was ready for hopping over the wall when an iguana lurched forward and grabbed him by the neck. I picked up a stone threw it towards the Iguana, he let go of the hen which was now bleeding by the neck. Oh you poor thing ,I shouted running after him but again he was so fast he just disappeared into the low shrubs of the neighbouring empty lot. Because of their colouring it’s very hard to see them once in low shrubbery.
So now I was left with three. I changed the house to inside the garden walls of the restaurant and made it more secure… so I thought. That evening I was busy writing on my computer when I heard a noise outside coming from the vicinity of the Quails . I rushed out with broom in hand so see what was happening and something whooshed by me so fast that I could only see a shadow… but I knew what it was….. I thought I had frightened the critter but no.
The next morning I went out to feed my new friends but now down to only two..Yes the critter came back in the dead of night and left only a few feathers behind.
Zacaria my gardener came to work the next day and I asked if he would build a new house strong and secure to which he did a great job. I was very happy and so were the two Quails that remained.Ahh now I can sleep at night without worrying about their wellfare.Unfortuantely this only lasted about a week before the critter came back, dug his way in under the fort and ate the other two. I now have a lovely hen-house but no hens! I felt sad at the loss and even more sad that the Quails had suffered…..Will I buy more? At this point I am not sure.
The critter is a Virginia Opossum but known in the Yucatan as a zorro(also zorro is the spanish name for fox.. confusing isnt it)The Mayan name is Zacoch.Its survival is helped by our waste dumps, agricultural areas and domestic fowl.Eats fruit (loves my papayas),reptiles,birds,eggs, and insects.
As for my sheets, I finished up buying material in Merida and making them.