I’ve just passed the ten month mark since my departure from Mexico. I’m hoping, even with a worst case scenario, that I’m beyond the half way point. There’s less time to go till my return to Mexico since my leaving the place. The UK has had its ups and downs for us. But truth be told, we both rather wish we’d stayed out. I’ve even started buying lottery tickets for the Saturday draw. The jackpot would be nice, but I’m not greedy. Just £5,000 would do fine. Even as little as £3,000 would do. And we’d be on a plane in a jiffy.
If my mood seems sombre, there’s a reason for it. When I said goodbye to Mexico, I also had to say goodbye to my turtles. All ten of them. There are those who think my (our…Paola is just as besotted) passion for turtles a little strange. But like most things, once you get familiar, get to know your subject and spend time appreciating the subtle little intricacies that would be missed at first glance….well, you know what I mean. Maybe. But I spent the best part of six years with them. You grow attached. Form bonds. That sort of thing.
The turtles were divided into two groups. Six of them went to a new home in the south of the city, to a family who needed a pet or two to spoil. We’ve just recently found out, to our distress, that three of them died in September, of reasons unknown. Homer, Mr Patel and little Florecita. All gone to turtle heaven. The last photos I took of them are below, from my set on Flickr called, aptly, Turtles Final Photo Shoot. Or you can just enlarge the image below. From left to right, Florecita, Homer and below them Mr Patel.
They all had their own unique characters. If you took the time to observe them. Homer, along with Bob, was the first turtle we bought. We’d always thought Homer the loveable simpleton of the group. Just like his cartoon namesake. Mr Patel spent most of his existence living in a perpetual state of unnecessary terror. Until, perhaps, the end, when it may have been necessary. And then there’s Florecita. Dear Florecita. Rescued when she was no bigger than a two peso coin, and in a terrible shape. Her legs were so thin you could see her bones, her shell was sponge soft and falling to pieces and she was too weak to even eat. I spent a month hand feeding her with tuna, and shelled out $100 in vets bills when she had to spend a few nights in turtle hospital to recover from a respiratory infection. But she got better, and turned into one of the friendliest and most boisterous of the bunch. Poor Florecita. She even starred in my last turtle video, the Pond of Eternal Stench – she’s the one posing for the camera at the very end.
Alas, turtles are sensitive creatures, and easily succumb to infections and predators. I never had a turtle die on me, not one. And I’m proud of that. But I was also lucky. Bob nearly died of a respiratory infection when he was a babe, because we mistook his pained wheezing for an ability to speak. Then there was the time I got a shock when I put a finger in their water – the electric heater had broke and was streaming a light current through the water. Mr Patel had more than a couple of close scrapes, including being accidentally thrown out with the dirty water once. That was Mrs P’s pops, not me. I always do a headcount. You can never be too sure. But anyway. We found Mr Patel buried in the flower bed when we got home the next day. They all managed to survive whilst in my custody. And Angus, Rosita and Angel are still alive and kicking. One hopes.
The other four, Bob, Baby, Itchy and Scratchy all went to one of my friends, a chap who’s experienced in keeping turtles. More experienced even that I. One day, in the not too distant future, we shall return to DF and bring them back home. Along with Angus. One day soon we’ll be able to come home and see them outstretched, posing superman-style, on their basking rock in the yard. One day soon. Till then he’s one more photo of Homer. When he was but a few days old. He’s the one on the top. To finish on a positive note, Homer did make it to a grand age of six. Which was well short of his 30 to 40 year potential. But a whole lot better than the miserable, short and often painful existence of most poor turtles sold in pet shops in Mexico City. Adios for now, my little green amigos.