Mexico Week 1: Hurricanes and scorpions (not the alcoholic kind)

A restive sojourn in the Yucatan jungle to reset, relax and re-establish healthy habits were my intentions for the next several weeks. Mother Nature had other intentions.

The primary intention was to say “wake up lady, you aren’t in Chicago anymore,” and she more than delivered on that. Within 36 hours of my arrival, the biggest storm in 15 years (that storm being 2005 Hurricane Wilma) slammed into the Yucatan, with my area taking a direct hit.

Tropical Storm Gamma started raging around 6 p.m., Friday night and continued pretty much non-stop for the next 24 hours with torrential rains, winds up to 50 mph and temperatures in the high 80s. Sixteen hours into the storm, power and internet were lost. Two hours later running water was lost (including toilets).

With the sun setting on Saturday night, I was plunged into utter hot and humid darkness. No flashlight (beyond cellphone light). No candles. My internal debate: keep one door open to allow airflow and let who knows what inside, or turn my lodgings into a pitch black sauna. I opted to keep the door open. Thankfully power was restored a couple hours later, which prevented a sleepless night (and allowed for me to close the door).

Aftermath of Gamma

Just as clean-up from Gamma was underway (literally 2 days later), Hurricane Delta became the fastest developing storm in Atlantic hurricane history. And it had the Yucatan in its sights.

My anxiety was now on full alert. If a tropical storm can knock out power, internet and water for 10+ hours, what the hell can a Category 4 hurricane do?? I googled Hurricane Wilma and its aftermath. HOLY CRAP! I felt my future was going to be an amalgam of Naomi Watts in the tsunami movie and a solo “Lord of the Flies.”

It was time to head to Chedraui (local supermarket chain) to stock up!

My hurricane stock up included: frozen pizza, ice cream sandwiches (my last pre-hurricane meal), bread, peanut butter, granola bars, hard seltzer (never had it, so figured why not), rose wine, lavender scented candles (the only options, and I read that mosquitos don’t like lavender, so…).

By the time I was leaving Chedraui, it was dark (6:30 p.m.) and the rains had started. During my very dark, very rainy and very fast moving 15 km highway drive back to my jungle retreat, I almost hit a: person crossing the highway, stray dog, car and frog.

My shelter during the hurricane was a single-story cinderblock construction abode with lots of windows including a glass ceiling (about 20’ x 10’), none of which were boarded or taped. The bathrooms had clearstory windows, that didn’t close. The safest place was the bedroom closet, and I stockpiled all the pillows and cushions to serve as some sort of protective barrier between me any potential falling/broken glass. If need be, this sliding door closet would be my emergency bunker.

Since Delta was expected to really hit around 1 a.m., and I didn’t want to accidentally die, get maimed, etc., while I sleeping, I laid in bed awake as long as I could…waiting…and binge watching “Outlander” on Netflix.

Then I looked over to my right and saw a four inch long black scorpion walking under a suitcase that I had removed from the closet. A scary AF scorpion was now in the direct path between me and my emergency bunker.

This place wasn’t big enough for the both of us. The scorpion had to go. Now.

Using my trusty large bug removal technique: glass and paper, I captured it and threw it out the front door. The scorpion was so large I distinctly heard it hit the ground underneath the shrubbery.

Now back to more important things: fretting over the impending hurricane, post-storm/apocalyptic scenarios, falling glass, having to go to the hospital, contracting COVID in the hospital. There was a lot of fretting.

Delta came and went. Lost power and internet for 40 minutes, and all windows and glass were intact. My area was on the periphery of the storm. Thankfully!

Now I can focus on relaxing, resetting and re-establishing health habits (note: the hard seltzer and rose were unopened).