Friday, 22 August 2014

0088 21st Aug - Coatzacoalcos to Ciudad del Carmen

While I was packing up, someone let the cows out, and they were obviously very surprised to see me in their” field.  But they made a beeline for the recreation room, so I was correct – That was where the cows spend a lot of their day, in the shade of the building !!

Off down the road fairly early, as there was no reason to hang around in the field.  As before, the road is long and flat, so jumped on the toll road and headed towards Veracruz, crossing lots of bridges over waterways en route. Coming into Villahermosa I suddenly saw the M-I SWACO office – The company I used to work for for so long.  In fact, back in early 2008, my first trip after my throat issues was to come down to this office and work with them on their logistics, and also to do a presentation for their Ciudad del Carmen field office, down the road, so I know the area a little.  I didn’t bother to go into the office because the company has now changed hands, and I am sure the people have all changed too, but it was nice to see something familiar in a foreign country.

Driving into Villahermosa I had some time up my sleeve, so went exploring looking for some shops to do some grocery shopping, and generally have a drive around.  They love their statues in Mexico, and most roundabouts and road junction have them – Although some have got a bit engulfed by freeways as time has passed.  Having got my veggies, and found a banco to change some money, I headed out of town, and hadn’t got far when there was an almighty traffic jam, mostly of trucks just lined up down both sides of the freeway.  I tried to ask what was going on, but most drivers just said it was some kind of identification check and seemed resigned to it.  So I opened up the back and started making myself some lunch !!  Suddenly a pick up came past, weaving his way up the side of the road, and the drive said “Follow me, Follow me” in English !  So I through everything back in, and followed him, along with a bunch of other cars, and we turned up a little dirt road and ended up wandering through this little village where it seemed to be their market day, but they suddenly had all this traffic wandering through !!  Anyway, cut a long story short, within about 5 minutes every single car in front of me had turned off in one direction or another (whether they were locals going home, or just each determined to find a different route, I don’t know) and suddenly there is just me in the back streets of this little village – And Tom Tom “recalculating route” – ie having a
fit !!  Oh bugger.  Maybe this traffic jam was caused by some kind of serious police check and they were going to be waiting for us rat runners on the other side of the village, guns at the ready ?  Maybe there was no way through and I would have to find my way back ? Well, Troopie came to the fore again – When I found the main road again, it was separated from me by a dirt strip and a kerb – No problem, Over we went, bumped out back on the main road, and headed on our way !!    What traffic jam ?

For the next 75 kms to Ciudad del Carmen it was more flat land, water and what looked like ginger growing, but not sure. Several land rigs drilling beside the road as I passed too.  Eventually we came to the long stretch of road right beside the ocean where, in 2008, we had had to run back to Villermermosa because a big storm was
coming in, and down here, because it is so flat and low lying, big storms mean the whole area can be cut off for long periods.  (When you have lighthouses right beside the road, you KNOW how low lying it is !! )   In 2008 it was some 2 weeks before the roads reopened.  And way back in 1972 when Janet and I were last here along with friends Joe and Steve from college in Exeter, it was all ferries along here !  Now of course there are these immense causeways along the coast line, and we crossed the first of these into Ciudad del Carmen. Ad at the other end of the bridge was a Police checkpoint !!  Third one today, but all had been very friendly – This was no different – I told him I was going to the Isla Aguarda “por acampar”, and he told me it was another 25 kms down the road, and let me go.

But I was not through yet – 2 minutes up the road, another traffic jam, and this time, I just followed everyone else up the side streets, and eventually I got back on the main road, although as usual, half the other people disappeared en route !!  On down the road, over another causeway (replacing yet another ferry from 44 years ago !), and the camp site was right there where it was supposed to be, for a change !!  Such relief when at the end of a hard and hot day you don’t have to start wandering around asking if anyone knows where the camp site is !!

Lovely camp site, right on the water’s edge, and little German RV parked there, so after a quick chat with Peter and Christa, I started to get set up as there were VERY black clouds coming over.  But I was not quick enough, and ended up sitting in the driver’s seat for an hour or so reading my book whilst the most amazing rain and wind storm, together with thunder and lightening, raged
around us.  Coconuts and palm fronds dropping everywhere (but I know not to park under coconut trees !!) and eventually it blew itself out and I had some supper before hitting the sack.  I might add that my supper was an absolutely delicious piece of steak – Most of the meat here doesn’t look too enticing so I have tended to avoid it, but had found some yesterday and it seems I hit the jackpot.  Now I just have to remember what it was and see if I can find some more !!

Have decided to stop here for at least a couple of nights as it is such a lovely spot.

Pics here : -

1 comment: