Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/147

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THE glassy surface of the aguada, soon after dawn, reflected the rosy hues of the sky, the sun crept slowly up, dissipating the coolness of the night, and before seven it was very hot. The sand-flies came out and enlivened us, while the birds commenced their cries. I dressed and went out. Coffee was ready, and cigarettes, and, after taking breakfast, we were ready to start for the coast. We were to have started muy temprano,—very early,—but the sun climbed higher and higher, and still the horses were munching their corn, and my friend still unprepared. It is always mañana—to-morrow—in this country; mañana temprano, early to-morrow; but it is ever mañana and never temprano. The people lose the best hours of morning, and work in the heat of the day.

Across the aguada there was a strange bird, called the marinero, or sailor, that uttered a succession of harsh cries for hours. The woods were full of birds of certain species, such as orioles, flycatchers, blackbirds, doves, and a host of others. I shot a very beautiful trogon, with a yellow breast, and parrots were crying out all the time. Temprano meant ten o'clock, when the sun nearly blistered our backs; yet even then Alonzo wanted to know if I would not like to wait till later.

Many of the trees that composed the wood we first entered supported great nests of the white ants, which looked at a little distance like black bears. We passed through a broad area covered with wild henequen, showing whence the plants come with which the plantations are stocked. Near some lovely aguadas was a new rancho, with a nice-looking girl preparing