The Pink Flamingoes Story
Río Lagartos, Yucatán - Mexico
In 2006 I travelled around the world for two months. One of the most eye opening experiences I had was when I was staying in the Yucatan peninsula, north-east of Mexico. My mom and I travelled from the ‘Americanized’ five star hotels of Cancun, to a tiny and poor little fishing village called Rio Lagartos. We travelled to this village so I could take photos of the Pink Flamingoes.
We got lost the along the way, and instead of being a four hour, it became an eight hour trip! When we finally got there I was told that it was not flamingo season and that I would be lucky if I saw more than 100 birds. It progressively got worse before it got better…. A huge storm was expected that night. The fisherman said that this might impede us from setting out to the biosphere by boat the next day. I was really upset to say the least! All that travel for nothing…. All we could do in that stormy afternoon, was to sit, wait and watch mexican “novelas” (soaps) with an old man that was sitting in the motel.
A few hours later, around dinner time, that humble old man, turned out to be the cook. He went to the kitchen and made us the most delicious and unforgettable meal. Fresh fish and prawns. We sat in the run down diner of the “motel” and ate our meal while we heard the roaring sea and felt the strong wind hit hard against the windows. This made me extremely anxious, as the year before there had been a deadly hurricane that swept the whole peninsula. 
The next morning, we woke up to complete silence. I stepped out of the room and saw the twilight of the white moon and the soft light from the un-risen sun. We decided to drive to the next village and met our guide, a local fisherman, who said “You are extremely lucky, the sea is perfect for your tour today”. We set out and were able to witness the most amazing sunrise. The rays of light streaming down through the heavy storm clouds from the night before. The golden rays catching the reflection of the water. At this point, I forgot about all the anxiety and frustration I had. Nothing seemed to matter anymore, only what I was experiencing. We finally got to the flamingoes area and as expected, there weren’t many. However, they were still so majestic wondering around the water with their long legs that I could not stop taking shots.
The fisherman began to tell us about the hurricane that totally destroyed the village a couple of years back, bringing massive amounts of debris to the biosphere. He proudly told us that all the fishermen from the village set out to clean it all up. They cleaned for months, also trying to find animals that where caught in the rubbish. He stated “If no one else, cleans this mess, who will”.
If such a humble and impoverished community takes action to help the environment, imagine what others in a better position could be capable of.
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