Cactus Emergency in the Desert

So we were having a good time. At least this is what it looked like. Remember the gif of me on my quest for firewood? Funny, right? Not. The quest wasn’t very successful.

Markus on his quest for firewood in the desert

After I had tried to rip out the dead Agarve flower with my bare hands I ran back to the car and grabbed my machete to show the plant who the boss is. So while I was trying to axe the thing down I was attacked by a small Cholla cactus nearby. This stopped my machete madness. I had to limp back to the car. Leaving the Agarve and the cactus basically unscarred and I’m pretty sure I heard them laughing at me on my walk (or rather limp) of shame. My foot and my self esteem were in agony but the whole scene must have looked pretty funny. Since Lotti, loving concerned wife and all, comforted me rather than filming me, the incident wasn’t captured on film.

mgif1So when we drove by the cactus the next time we figured we’d re-enact the scene for future generations. While mock-chopping away at the Agarve with my machete I brushed by the same Cholla Cactus. This time, quite a few stems detached from the cactus and attached themselves to me. I started laughing. Haha, we were trying to imitate the scene and then it actually happened again.

Then I wanted to move my leg. And I couldn’t. The cactus spines were blocking my two joints, the knee and the ankle. It felt like the spines went all the way though my patella and into my joint. I lost my balance. And stepped into another Cholla. As I tried to rip out the Cholla the barbs went into my hand. I tried to flip one of the stems off my leg with the machete and it just rolled over and left some more barbs. I lost my cool. The pain was unreal. I did not know what to do.

DSC00955-2Charlotte rushed to my aid – and ended up stepping in a Cholla. So her cool was long gone too. Then we heard a car crawling along the dirt track. Really? This usually happens once a week. Of course, we were blocking the road. I was about 200 meters off the track and I could not move. Charlotte limped back to the road and said: “Can you somehow drive around us? We have a cactus emergency!”

Then she got all the tools we have and hobbled back to me. First we tried tweezers. They went through the cactus like butter. Later we tried grabbing the stems with two stones. Bad idea. We weren’t thinking straight. It took us way too long to come up with the idea to just cut every single spine off the stem and afterwards remove the barbs one by one. Painful but at least effective.

And I had considered Scorpions, Bandidos and the police the main threats of traveling Mexico.

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