Monday, February 23, 2009

Part One - Catch-up post

Yesterday was a terrible, awful day.

First, it rained. That started in the middle of the night. I got up and closed vents, but there was no rain coming in my high window, so I didn't think to close the lower windows. Things were pretty damp in here by the time I got up.

It was raining so hard that I suggested we stay put another day, but Robin didn't agree. I worried about pot-holes hidden under the water, invisible topes, poor visibility. Driving in Mexico is a challenge even in good weather. He still disagreed. We were in a hotel parking lot, and that wasn't his idea of a vacation spot. He just wanted to get going. So we left at nine o'clock. Robin drove for the first hour, and by the time my turn came, the rain had stopped. At least I didn't have to drive in the rain. I do dislike that.

We had a long drive ahead of us. The major obstacle was the city of Tampico, which has a reputation for being difficult to get past, especially without getting a ticket. We managed somehow to find the correct bypass road for heavy vehicles, although the road is not marked. At all. It looks like a farm road. You have to do a U-turn in a Pemex station to get to it. We took that instead of the marked bypass, because we had been warned that taking the marked road would surely get us a ticket. We had almost made it past Tampico. I was driving. There was a place where the road forked. A traffic light brought to a halt the traffic taking the left fork. It appeared that the light did not apply to the traffic turning right, as all the vehicles around us were going through. I went with them. A policeman standing on the median let everybody else go, pulled me over. Why hadn't I stopped for the traffic light? Well, it appeared that it didn't apply to me, as everyone else going toward Ciudad Victoria kept going. Well, it did apply to me.

I shall not go into detail here. I'll just mention the word “extortion” in passing. This is our sixth year of driving in Mexico, and it is the first time we have ever had such an experience.

Shortly thereafter, Robin took over driving and I got to do some serious fuming. I needed talking down, but Robin was just as tightly wound as I was, so we just had to do lots of deep breathing and keep on going. If we had been able to cross the border last night, I would have been ready. I wanted out.

The highlight of the day was when we passed the sign reading “Tropic of Cancer”. We had Officially Left the Tropics. Hallelujah!

We were originally headed to Ciudad Victoria, but the approach to the RV park looked like a hassle, which we definitely did not need, and our bible mentioned an RV park in the village of La Pesca, east of Ciudad Victoria. We decided to go there, instead. It was fifty kilometers off Highway 180. We finally arrived at the park at 7:30 in the evening, having done the last thirty kilometers in the dark. There was a five kilometer long construction zone, but most of the road was very good, unlike the highway.

The park's managers helped us get settled into a space. There were lots to choose from, as we were the only guests. I cooked dinner, and we ate. I spent the rest of the evening reciting my mantra, 'I love Mexico, really I do.' and wondering whether the demonstrations we had heard about were still going on at Reynosa, the city 300 kilometers away where we were to cross the border. I still needed talking down, but I didn't get it.

After a fitful night's sleep, I woke to a beautiful sight. Our RV was in the middle of a huge expanse of lawn. There were three buildings on the property. I think two of them were part of the hotel/resort that constituted the main operation. Beyond that was a wide river. The third building was the house where the owner/manager lived. The oddest feature was a court on the other side of us. I went to investigate it. It was a sort of winding concrete river, lined with indoor-outdoor carpeting. At intervals there were keyhole-shaped protuberances. Around the perimeter were palm trees (five) and black iron lamp posts (three) Each lamp post had five round white bulbs. There was a sixth palm tree right in the middle of the court. I presume it is a court for some sort of miniature golf. While I was out exploring, I checked the temperature on our outdoor thermometer. Ten degrees. Perfect waking up temperature. We both felt slightly chilly, but we were infinitely cheered.


The Unbreakable Child said...

Ugh, sorry about the police. Glad you're safe. Enjoy reading about your journey.

Sandra Leigh said...

Thanks - as I said, in the six lengthy trips we've made to Mexico, this is the only time we've encountered anything like that. The folks at last night's RV park made up for him by being very kind and helpful and restoring my faith in humanity. ;>)

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