Beekeeping in La Mancha

We set out around 9:00 in the morning for La Mancha on the coast a bit north of Veracruz.  We were with Norma, a young woman with boundless energy, Directora of Pronatura, a scuba diver, para-sailor and who knows what else.  The project is to set up beekeeping and promote tourism.  They were having a training class, and we were going mostly just to see La Mancha and the bees.  First we went to Veracruz so Norma could return a wet suit at her friends scuba shop.  I only took one picture there, this scene near the scuba shop.

Veracruz

Veracruz seemed pretty nice, at least downtown and near the wharf.  Norma said there was a nice aquarium.  We will definitely return to check it out.

We headed north on the coast highway and soon came to a vista overlooking the Laguna of La Mancha.  Here is what we saw:

Laguna de la Mancha with the Gulf of Mexico in the distance.

We turned down the dirt road to La Mancha, which I thought would be a small town, but we never saw a town.  Norma said there was one but that the whole area there was called 'La Mancha'.  Presently we looked out the car window to the right and saw a field with several birds.  Here are Ibis we saw:

Ibis

A little further along we could see Mangrove trees along the far edge of the Lagoon.  Pretty soon we came to the Pronatura place which consisted of seven or eight large round thatch-roofed huts.  Each had maybe eight fairly comfortable cots, electricity, and round windows covered with mosquito netting.  These were for eco-tourists, but I wasn't sure if that was the plan or if it was operational already.  There was also an older more rectangular building which was a kitchen.

About ten people, some Pronatura staff and a few students, were suiting up with white bee-protection gear.  They were about to head to the hives and we walked there with them.  It looked like this:

Pronatura bee hives at La Mancha

Here is how we looked:

Learning about bees.  Esther is closest.

The guides were very knowledgeable and answered all our questions and explained much about bees.  All was home made, including the smoke makers.  Bees retreat from smoke.  We were told that each hive might have as many as 30,000 bees.

Soon our bee excursion was over and we walked back to the Pronatura site where a wonderful fish lunch awaited us.  Here are the people we ate with.  Norma is on the far left and Esther on the far right :-).

 

Fish lunch

Here is my fish.  The red is a tomato sauce.  (Esther says the picture makes it look like blood.)

The fish I ate

After lunch, which in Mexico is the big meal of the day usually eaten around 2:00 or 3:00 p.m., we were entertained by Daniel, a friend of the instructor.  Daniel played classical music for us, starting with selections from the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.  We all relaxed and listened in one of those round thatched-roofed huts.  Here is Daniel:

Daniel, classical guitar

Norma, who was still energetic, then took Esther and me to the beach, where the La Mancha Lagoon meets the Gulf of Mexico.  This was a couple of miles further down the road.  There were some restaurants to one side in beach buildings with thatched roofs.

Restaurants at La Mancha beach

The beach itself looked like this

La Mancha beach

La Mancha beach, another view

Walking in the sand back to Norma's car we saw these little guys busily cleaning house:

Sand crabs

Then we headed home, which took about an hour.  And that is how we spent Sunday July 23, 2006.

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