Chido has been the main ticket-taker/guide at the cocodrilario in La Manzanilla for the last couple of years. The name 'Chido' is actually a nickname meaning 'cool' in Spanish, as in 'wow, that's cool!'.
Chido was born in El Grullo, Jalisco, 40 years ago. He has lived in La Manz on and off for around 23 years. In fact, he has a 23 year-old son and a grand daughter (18 months-old) who live in Jaluco.
Chido speaks pretty good English and actually spent some eight years in the U.S. He was undocumented, and was eventually caught, thrown in jail, and deported back to Mexico.
Chido wanted me to say that, even though some people may know him from his days as a drug-addict and a drunk, he has been off drugs for 13 years, and completely sober for the last 3 years. He says he had a lot of help from his friend and crocodile expert Pepe Martinez (subject of a future HOLM).
Chido says he has learned some hard lessons and his life has done a 'vuelta completa' - turned around completely. He has a new wife of one year, and a baby girl, and he says he is a very happy man now.
Chido also wanted to clear up any confusion about the project in the mangrove to extend the 'Crocodile Walk'. They have already started to install a raised walkway along the south (town) side, which will take visitors much further - about 300 metres back into the swamp - where it will connect to a second (to be constructed) suspension bridge across 40 metres of the lagoon. Then another 170 metre walkway will connect to the existing viewing platform to form a complete circle tour of the mangrove.
There will also be a 'Mini-Museum' installed on the walkway near the entrance, showing information about the crocs and the mangrove.
All materials used will be natural and of lowest possible impact to the Eco-system. They have ordered over 700,000 pesos worth of wooden posts and slats.
In the bottom photo you can see the work progressing today on the posts for the new walkway.
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