Campeche

February 22, 2016, Trip:
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Monday morning we headed off early out of our campsite at Palenque to the propane place to see if the mechanic could diagnose our leak issue. He was actually there and although he checked the lines and the regulator, he could not find a leak. We had him fill the tank to be sure it was under enough pressure but still he found nothing. Doug now suspects the regulator is venting too often and we’ll order a new one for him to bring back from the US.

We hit the road and headed north towards the Yucatan Peninsula. It is really beginning to feel like our time in Mexico is short! Our vehicle permit expires April 2nd so we have just over a month left before we have to leave or forfeit our deposit and possibly ruin our chances of returning with a vehicle.

The roads heading in this direction were a pleasure to drive after our drive between San Cristobal and Palenque; highway speeds, shoulders again for the most part, no windy mountain roads and best of all: hardly any topes. We made great time.  We picked up a fellow who was looking for a ride to Escarcego where we planned to get gas enroute. If not for the palm and banana trees, you could almost think this was part of Ontario or the northern Midwest states.  We have left the highlands behind and although there is still the odd rolling hill, for the most part, the land is getting flatter and flatter.  There are farm fields but mostly brush.

In order to get from the state of Chiapas to the state of Campeche, you pass through a sliver of the state of Tabasco – we will not be putting that state’s sticker on our map since we did not spend any time here or visit and all we did was pass through a tiny portion of it – for which we had to pay a toll of 20 pesos, believe it or not!  Kinda reminded us of driving to the Maritime provinces and “passing” through New Brunswick (no offence to our NB friends!).

When we got to the Gulf Coast, in the state of Campeche, we checked out the little beach town of Seybe Playa – it was pretty obviously not a tourist town; small streets, many buildings in disrepair or never finished, small sidewalk malecon along the beach mostly taken up with fishing nets and the like, only small tiendas and it seemed the circus was in town as the big top was out with what looked like “carny folk RV’s” around it. We parked Tigger to walk along the beachfront as the water was a pretty sea foam green but it turned out to be pretty only from a distance; was very murky and lots and lots of garbage on the beach; so sad. We strolled a bit and saw the circus was in town.  Doug was hungry so he stopped at a side walk “restaurant” and ordered fish tacos which they made from a fresh fish they showed him first and then Fran went across the street for a couple of cervesas (the large 473ml ones for 15 pesos each {less than $1USD}.

SAM_1471 the circus is in town

After getting back in Tigger, we continued north to the state capital of Campeche which is also called, you guessed it:  Campeche, where we squeezed into a big parking lot near the malecon and went for a stroll to explore the town.

It was a pleasant surprise. This city was founded back in the 1540’s and used to have a wall surrounding it to protect it from pirates. Parts of that wall still remain and parts have been restored. The streets in this part of the city are kept very clean, the buildings are all painted different colours and it is quite a tranquil place to walk around. We checked out the Zocalo at which there actually was a tourist information booth (very rare) and the man spoke English and the map of the historic centre was actually half English. Surprise!

We walked over to the part of the wall that is open to climb up on to and see the view. Up there we discovered that some of the colourful buildings/homes we’d seen walking around were only fronts! The interior walls in behind a number of them were either demolished or falling apart and they were now just for display! Many of the people have moved out of the “walled city” and live in the burbs but they keep the town looking as it did back in the day. Afterward, we did notice that many of the doors have bars on them and no doorknobs. Clever.

SAM_1511 pedestrian street

It was now late afternoon so rather than move on and drive in the dark, we decided to stay in Campeche. It is quite muggy here on the Gulf Coast so we decided AC was in order so we looked on iOverlander and found the only RV Park that offered both power and Wi-Fi. We received an SMS from Christine and Mark that they were contemplating coming to Campeche as well and “where were we?” so when we told them, they joined us. They had taken a slightly different route to get here from Palenque and it was nice to see them again.

After we had a swim in the campground pool and a shower, Christine and Mark arrived and we settled into happy hour before a late dinner. We were glad to have the AC that night as it also muted the traffic noises outside.

Tuesday morning, Doug had his weekly call and Fran got some supplies at the nearby Soriana. The big “chain” grocery stores here in Mexico are: Soriana, Mega, Wal-Mart (sometimes it’s smaller version of a Wal-mart called a Bodega Aurrero) and Chedraui.  There also lots of smaller shops that are larger than tiendas that sell groceries and you can find these in most towns and villages.  The larger aforementioned grocery stores are only found in cities and sometimes just one of them.

Around lunchtime, we were “kicked out” of the campground unless we wanted to pay so actually went down the block to the Burger King for more Wi-Fi and then we hit the road and headed northeast into the Yucatan state and the ruins at Uxmal.  Christine and Mark were going to skip these and headed in a slightly different direction but we agreed to meet up in the little town of Celestun Wednesday night so we could hire a boat on Thursday morning to go out and see the flocks of flamingos in season there.

 

Note:  we are having issues with photo uploading so please bear with us while we slowly update the photo galleries!  thanks.

 

 

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