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Olivier's Pilot Log: South to South Adventure

The Mango Cartel

We met Ricardo Gomez at his farm outside Tapachula, after we kind of cleared our papers and paid some permits to operate our flying mopeds in the entire Republic of Mexico. We actually did not get all done properly as the customs and immigration office was closed by the time the slow process of typing the permits was over. I tried to take over the old Olympia typewriter from the officer's hand but did not succeed. The guy was enjoying filling out these modern forms with the 30-year-old script machine. We became illegal in Mexico for the time of a night and would get plenty enough "kak" the day after, when flying back to get our passports stamped.

Ricardo was waiting for us in the air, sitting comfortably in his small trike.

For decades his father had set up a solid mango farming business for the family.

The runway was a sharp cut in the centre of a huge forest of mango trees. I never thought mango trees were so big and pretty. We tasted the famous "Ataulfo" mango that is the speciality of this particular region.

The yellow "Ataulfo" mango is one of the best species that grows on the planet, and in big demand on the world market. Very tasty, easy to peal and eat without wearing a bib, and last but not least, it is free of those annoying fibres that take ages to be removed from the teeth.

There are hundreds of varieties of mangoes in the world and the best known are the 3 reddish species, "Atkins" "Keith" and  "Haden" and the yellowish "Manilla" of Asia for which you need to get huge amount of floss and aprons before processing. In the opposite, the Ataulfo is a great delicacy and I could eat one without messing everywhere. The name of that formidable fruit comes from Ataulfo Morales, the guy who just by chance found this new cross-pollination variety in the middle of his plantation in 1966. The Gomez Clan produce 56 000 tonnes every year, mainly for export to the U.S. Ricardo explained also that mangoes are a good fruit to do business with because they only grow from February to June and therefore give him time to fly and do f.. all the rest of the year. That made sense to me.



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