An Adventure in Mexico Part 2

“I’ll give you a ride to the station,” the officer said, motioning for the hamster to jump up beside him.

“Thanks to you and your friends here,” he added, “we can get these books back to their rightful owners.” We waved goodbye and promised to keep in touch, then headed back to the airport to pick up our travel tunnel.

We had no trouble taking off from the Guanajuato airport. As we soared over the beautiful Mexican countryside, we reminisced about our adventure with the hamster and the stolen piñata. “I’m sure glad we were able to help get the antique books back,” Panda remarked. “They have to be worth lots of money.”

“Speaking of lots of money,” I said, looking down at a beautiful beach resort, “It must take a lot of money to be able to stay there!”

Panda looked at the travel book he had bought in Guanajuato. “Oh wow!” he said, amazed. “That’s Tulum, on the Yucatan Peninsula.” He studied the map for a few minutes, and then he added, “Umm…two things. Guanajuato is north of Tulum, and Fresno is north of Guanajuato.” We looked at each other, our eyes wide. “We’re going the wrong way!” we exclaimed in unison.

“So isn’t Yucatán where those two explorers discovered the Mayan ruins in the 1800s?” Panda asked, as he continued to study his travel book. “Doesn’t Mom have some books by them in the front room?”

“Oh, you mean the ones on top of the vintage trunk?” I said after a moment of reflection. “I think you’re right! She really likes them, too. Incidents of Travel in Yucatán by John Lloyd Stephens, I think they’re called.” Panda nodded. “Yeah, she likes that kind of stuff,” he remarked. “Do you want to stop and see the ruins, since we’re almost there anyway?” It sounded like a good idea to me, so we started looking for a place to land.

It didn’t take long to find the airpot at Tulum. We were amazed to find that the ruins weren’t too far away from where we landed.

“These ruins are ancient!” I exclaimed when we arrived to check them out up close. Panda agreed. “This would be a great place to play hide-and-seek!” I wasn’t convinced. “I don’t know,” I replied cautiously. “I think it could be a little dangerous. You know there’s always an element of risk.”

“I guess,” Panda said. “But this view is breathtaking.” Then he added, “Hey, I’m hungry. Let’s go look for a snack.” We climbed down from the ruins and headed toward town.

It wasn’t long before we came upon a small restaurant. With his Spanish-English dictionary, Panda was able to decipher the sign. “Ewww!” he exclaimed. “Mondongo is the same as tripas! That’s gross!” I looked at him quizzically. “What’s tripas?” I asked. “It doesn’t sound so bad.” Panda made a face. “It’s Spanish for animal intestines. I don’t know about you, but I’m not having any!” I had to agree with him this time. “What does the rest say?” I asked. When I found out it was “fried pork chops, fried fish, and beef,” I felt better about the place.

When we went inside, we saw that they also had delicious tamales, so we ordered those instead.

We had a little trouble finding a good place to sit, due to the decorative plants they had everywhere. “I can’t see over this,” Panda said, sounding a more than a little frustrated as he peered through the greenery. It was then that something else caught my attention. On the floor of the restaurant, there was a strange creature I had never seen before.

“I jumped down from my chair to get a better look. “Who . . . umm. . . what are you?” I demanded. “And what are you doing here? You do realize this is a restaurant, don’t you?” The creature sniffed, and I thought he sounded a bit offended. “I happen to be an iguana,” he replied. “And yes, I know this is a restaurant. We iguanas are everywhere in Yucatan. I suppose I can be in a restaurant if I want to.” I felt a little embarrassed. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said politely. “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” The iguana laughed. “No worries,” he said. “I get that a lot from tourists. And hey – ” he lowered his voice, “don’t get the mondongo!”

After we finished eating, we decided to go for a walk through the park. Imagine our surprise when we ran into a gecko peering at us from a branch of the first tree we came to. “Who are you?” the gecko asked in a curious tone. “My name is Foster,” I replied, “and this is my best friend, Panda. We’re visiting from Fresno. We’ve never met a real gecko before.” The gecko looked surprised. “Then how did you know what I was?” he asked. “Oh, that’s easy,” Panda replied. “We have them in our kitchen and on our back fence. Our mom likes that kind of stuff.”

Our new friend’s eyes widened. “There are geckos in Fresno?” he asked incredulously. Panda and I both laughed. “Well, ours aren’t real,” I replied. “They’re just for decoration.” The gecko shrugged. “Well, I guess you learn something new every day,” he said. “Here in Yucatan, it’s not unusual to see us in people’s houses. We’re not harmful to humans, and we eat pests, like insects.”

“Well, that’s handy,” Panda remarked. “Our Daddy had a pest control business. Maybe he could have hired some of you guys to help out.” The gecko chuckled good naturedly. “Maybe so,” he agreed. “But to be honest, I don’t think I’d move to Fresno when I can catch as many insects as I want right here in Yucatan.” We had to admit he had a point. After chatting a little more, we said goodbye to our new friend and continued on our way.

After walking for what seemed like forever, we came across a primitive hut in the middle of a clearing. Since we were getting tired, we decided to stop and rest for a while. It was Panda who noticed the pile of books outside the door. “Oh wow!” he exclaimed. “These look like antiques!”

We were amazed to see that the inside of the hut was much nicer than the outside. The furniture was comfortable, and there were piles of antique books everywhere. Upon closer inspection, we found that they were all stamped with “Biblioteca Pública de Guanajuato”. We looked at each other, and for a moment we were speechless. “Guanajuato Public Library!” we exclaimed in unison.

The Guanajuato public library was where we had found the stolen piñata with the antique books hidden inside. “But those books were stolen from Bariloche, in Argentina!” Panda mused, and I nodded in agreement. These weren’t the books from the piñata! But what were they doing here? And who could have brought them? “I think we should try to contact the hamster and see if he knows anything about this,” I said. “Do you still have his number?” Panda nodded. “But let’s get out of here,” he suggested. “We’ll have better cell service outside anyway. This place is giving me deja vu.”

As soon as we got outside we thought we heard footsteps. Immediately we ducked into the bushes, trying to be as quiet as possible. We were not prepared for what we were to see next.

The men in orange jackets! We held our breath as they walked right past us like we weren’t even there! They seemed to be looking at something on their phones, and they didn’t notice us. After they went into the hut, we breathed a sigh of relief and headed back toward town. We wanted to find the police department so we could report what we had seen.

We were in the suburbs of Tulum when we came across an abandoned bicycle in the middle of the street. “Hey, Fos!” Panda called. “We could probably borrow this bike! It doesn’t look like it belongs to anyone.”

I joined him to investigate. It looked abandoned, all right. Panda climbed up to see if he could reach the pedals. “I think you’re going to have to drive,” he said. “I’m a little too short.” Reluctantly I agreed. I climbed up, and with Panda behind me we rode off on the bike. I’d never been on a bike before, but I had driven a police motorcycle back when Panda and I had temporarily joined the Fresno PD. It wasn’t too much different, actually. Before long we were downtown in Tulum.

We paused for a moment to figure out where we were in relation to the police station. Just then we heard someone calling to us from a nearby police car! “Hey guys!” It was our hamster friend from Bariloche! “What are you doing here?” he asked excitedly. We stared at him in disbelief. “We were just going to try to contact you,” Panda explained. ‘We thought the Tulum police might be able to put us in touch with you in Argentina.” The hamster motioned for us to get in the car. “Hop in,” he instructed. “We can talk on the way to the station.”

As we drove through downtown Tulum, we related the story of how we had found the hut filled with antique books, and how the men in orange jackets hadn’t even noticed us hiding in the bushes. The hamster listened attentively, nodding his head now and then. While we waited for an officer to come downstairs and let us into the station, he filled us in on the information he had. “Somehow they escaped from the Bariloche jail,” he told us. “They were spotted at the Guanajuato library and traced here by the penguins. They called me in because of my previous experience with them.” We were impressed. “We knew they were here, but we didn’t know where,” he continued. “If you guys hadn’t found them, they might have gotten away again!”

After giving his supervisor our information, the hamster invited us upstairs to meet his police dog friends. They were really nice, and together we watched the entrance below so we would see the officers come back with the men in custody. We all cheered when we saw the men in orange jackets being brought into the station with handcuffs on! Once the prisoners had been booked, the officers invited us to stay for dinner. We enjoyed visiting with our new friends, but soon it was time to head for home.

“Be sure to go north this time,” the hamster cautioned as he waved goodbye to us at the airport. “Don’t worry, we will!” we replied. It wasn’t long before we were flying over the beautiful Yucatan peninsula on our way back to Fresno.

Mom was already asleep when we got home, so rather than wake her up, we decided to tell her all about our trip in the morning.

Author’s note: The background pictures for this adventure are from, a royalty-free photo site. Were they all taken in Tulum? We’ll leave that up to your discernment.

10 thoughts on “An Adventure in Mexico Part 2

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