It's always better to avoid being downwind from pigs. My Maya friend Poot had our permission to put a couple of pigs in back of our village hut. Somehow Poot took couple to mean six. A smelly six at that...especially downwind.
The bad news is the pigs he bought are of the 'Americano' variety and not the Mexican variety. The Americano pigs eat a special feed that Poot later found out make his pigs more costly to raise and so subsequently he will make nothing.
Bad business. The good news is that when they grow a bit more he will sell them and get out of the pig business; forever, we do all sincerely hope.
The bad news too is he can't let them out of their pig pen and he has to clean the pen twice daily. The other bad news is we all have to smell what he cleans up.
He laughs that only the Americano pigs smell bad; the Mexican pigs smell sweet. He says they smell sweet but that is not the case.
Better yes, but sweet no. The Maya do have a sardonic sense of humor and living amongst them one occasionally has to bear the brunt.
In Mexico there is a dark skinned pig that can still be seen in many rural villages and ranchos. These pigs eat corn but mostly roots and weeds and garbage. In fact, these pigs will actually clean up a weedy lot and keep it clean.
And because they are not kept in confined pens, they really don't smell that bad or have to have their pens cleaned twice daily.
The owners keep giving them corn so they won't walk away to another village. Pigs aren't stupid; they follow the corn.
Recently we drove to several Maya villages deep in the jungle with these free range pigs running throughout the village. Even though these pigs aren't marked everyone knows whose pigs they are.
We even remarked how cute the little ones looked if loose pigs in the streets can indeed be called cute. Actually no one pays them any attention except for the senoras that are always shooing them away.
No matter what pigs are dirty and make a mess. It's a pig thing.
My first night many years back in rural Veracruz was spent inside a hut with a dirt floor. In back there was another 'room' which must have contained farm tools or such. Later the truth was revealed.
At about 2:00 in the morning there was a very loud noise. Pigs. A bunch of them. Maybe ten little ones and four or five big ones. What a ruckus!
If you have never had the pleasure of sleeping with pigs then you probably don't know they sleep in a pile at night. It's a pig thing.
Several times a night they get up and run around in circles and change positions. And make quite a bit of noise in this social bonding process.
No need to try and figure out what's going on because it happens to be a pig thing.
To make matters more perplexing the next morning it was clear someone had smeared my motorcycle with mud. In broken Spanish I questioned why someone would do that?
The answer was 'puercos' or pigs which I misinterpreted as thieves or bandidos. They all had a good laugh. Silly Gringo. What kinds of thieves go around smearing mud on motorcycles?
Of course the pigs had wallowed in the mud as pigs like to do and found my motorcycle a good place to scratch themselves, hence the mud.
That skinny Gringo ended up marrying that family's oldest daughter and to this day they love to tell the story of the skinny Gringo teenager who thought thieves came at night and covered his motorcycle in mud. Silly Gringos.
Needless to say when considering what types of animals to put on my jungle ranch pigs were not a consideration.
They smell, get sick, get stolen and my resident jaguar would kill them off with great regularity. Domestic pigs are so much easier to catch and eat than wild pigs. No match for Mr. Jaguar.
Besides, it might be tempting to just give up on them and have a barbecue. Good eating but not much of a ranching business.
Yet there really is no doubt our paths will cross again. It's inevitable and it's fate...along with an occasional BLT or barbecue ribs with the ball game.