Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I was cheered yesterday (Monday) morning by an e-mail from Tim telling me that another of my Found Poems has been accepted. It will be published on Wednesday at http://www.foundpoetry.org/blog/. I found it in a National Geographic dated February, 2003. That was a good start to the day.

We left Isla Aguada just before 9:00 o'clock, headed back to Villa Hermosa and its only RV park, Recreativo El Gordo y San Pancho. The ride was beautiful. There was a huge mangrove swamp bordered by trees that reminded me of lilacs. The blossoms were pinker than lilac blossoms, though. On a post in the middle of the swamp, a cormorant stood at attention, wings spread, completely motionless. A small heron flew past the windshield, apparently either taking off or landing, as its feet were hanging straight down. It looked incredibly clumsy.

Later, there was farmland. I noticed a cow with long, slender horns like half-screwed corkscrews. One horn curved up. The other curved down. The effect was very silly.

We were on a road that hugged the coast. The land was flat, all the way. We passed a peninsula border station, but nobody took our food this time. They don't care what you take out, it seems.

Speaking of food, we stopped for gas near Frontera at about 11:00 o'clock and saw that there was a Burger King next to the station – so instead of pulling over somewhere so that I could cook ham and egg sandwiches, we went into BK and had our brunch. I felt a little silly, and I could feel my arteries hardening, but I must say that my sausage and egg breakfast burrito tasted really good.

Some reports had the RV park, Recreativo El Gordo y San Pancho, closed, and some had it open, so we hunted it down – way down - a little dirt and pothole alley off Highway 180. It turned out that it was open, if barely. It was right beside a scrap yard, so Robin said security should be good, and it was. There was just one other rig there, a fifth wheel from Michigan. Its occupants were Steve and Sandra. They had been there for two weeks, waiting for a part for their fancy-schmancy diesel engine that nobody around there knows how to fix. We spent a very pleasant evening with them.

We were supposed to have electricity and water, but in fact we had only electricity. Had it been any day other than Monday, our 240 peso nightly rate would have included the use of the pool, but we chose the wrong day to arrive. Robin reported, uncharacteristically, that he would not be using the park's sanitary facilities, which made me suspicious of the pool anyway. Oh, and there was No Wi-Fi. If it had been at all practical to go on to one of the many RV parks along the Emerald Coast, we would have done so.– but we stayed, and then we headed out early this morning, leaving Steve and Sandra to await their rescue.

Things went pretty well for the first three or four hours, but then I noticed that a red warning light had gone on, indicating a brake problem. We pulled over when we could, and Robin checked the fluid level. It was low, so he poured in the bottle of fluid we carry for just such a situation.

We proceeded. The light went out, and the brakes firmed up. Shorly thereafter, the light went on and the brakes went soft again, then softer. Robin was driving by that time, and we were on the Autopista, the main highway. There was nowhere to stop, so he kept going, knowing that there was a Pemex station some distance up the road. I sat quietly in the passenger seat, closed my eyes, and tried not to think about it. The advantage to being on the Autopista was that there wasn't the need to keep braking for entrances and exits, other vehicles, topes – any of those things that make for slow going on the secondary roads. He just kept to a moderate speed and drove to the Pemex station, where we used pretty well the last of our stopping power to stop at the pump, filled up with gas and hired the mechanic to have a look at our brakes.

Robin is out there now, sitting by the RV, waiting for the young man to come back from Veracruz with a new brake line and connector. From what I could understand, which was not much, our brake line had been cut. We suspect that it happened when the tire blew, way back by Manzanillo, and that fluid has been slowly leaking away ever since.

Meanwhile, I am sitting in the air-conditioned Starbucks clone next to the Pemex, drinking decaf and eating a totally decadent cinnamon bun, hoping I understood what the young man was saying to me. I gave him 400 pesos to go to Veracruz and buy the part, and I'm pretty sure we were communicating, but he spoke no English at all, and I was picking up about every fourth word of his Spanish. A gaggle of Federales came into the coffee shop a few minutes ago, and I was going to ask them to give me a hand with translation, but only one of them knew any English, and he said he knew “un poco”. I decided there was no point in getting him involved, and I told him never mind. I got the impression he thought I was ever so slightly crazy.

All this is turning what was going to be a long day's drive into a very long day's drive. Unfortunately, there aren't any RV parks right near Veracruz (except the one we stayed in on the way down, which was awful and which is off our route this time, anyway). We were shooting for the Emerald Coast, where there are lots of parks, but that's quite some way off. We may just stay here for the night, or go on to the next Pemex station and sleep there.


Okay, well, that worked out better than I expected. The young men didn't go to Veracruz to get the part. They manufactured it themselves, then installed it. The whole episode took two hours and cost 900 pesos (about $90), including parts and labour. The brakes are working fine. We drove to the Emerald Coast and arrived just after sunset. We were looking for a particular park, which we understood was attached to the Hotel de Alba. We never did find it, despite going up and down the entire row of parks and hotels a couple of times in increasing darkness. We did find the Hotel de Alba, but the receptionist there told us that the RV park of the same name was four kilometers back. We will find it in the morning. In the meantime, we have checked in at the RV park attached to the Hotel Torre Molino. Much of our traveling this afternoon was on roads that were in disgraceful condition. Most of them were toll roads, giving us to wonder what happens to all those tolls.

So. This has been an expensive day, and a long one. We plan to stay here (somewhere in this little enclave) for the next several days, resting, recovering, catching up to our budget.


John Hayes said...

Congrats on getting another poem on the Found Poetry Project! Will look forward to seeing it.

Debbie said...

Your travels just amaze me. You are so brave! And I feel for that poor couple stuck next to that junk yard for 2+ weeks!

Angie Ledbetter said...

I'll check back later today to see your found poem. Isn't it the most fun form? And thanks for your comment about my Slow Cooker poem. :) (I'm following now.)

Sandra Leigh said...

Thank you, John and Angie. Yes, I love Found Poetry. I explained it to somebody as being like chipping away at a rock to find the sculpture inside. (Isn't that what Michelangelo did?)

Debbie, I'm going to worry about that couple until I finally hear from them. I was amazed at how calm they were. And of all the places to get stuck!

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