Mexico Spring 2007 Day 2
Trip Start Mar 09, 2007
3Trip End Mar 19, 2007
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Where I stayed
The rule for eating breakfast: be at the chuck wagon and finished eating by 7:45 am or go hungry. Dr. B can usually be spotted opening the wagon around 6:30 and responsible people (like my roommate) try to get down there to help him. Despite Kay's early rising and morning shower, I slept with my ear plugs firmly in place til 7 am.
Without realizing it, I started noticing who was an early riser, who arrived on time and who didn't make it for breakfast. Since I was one of the 'makes it on time' ones, it was several mornings before I felt that I wanted to get to breakfast early and help with those preparations. Some of us were okay after we had our morning coffee, some of us didn't come alive til our first bathroom stop mid-morning, some of us were night owls
Our second day's breakfast found most of us enjoying coffee, tea, hot or cold cereal and fruit. I use Rice Dream on my cereal and located the cooler where I had put my one box of the stuff. I also mostly drink green tea and plenty was on hand.
Various ones of us pitched in during the entire trip with meal preparation and clean-up. We all learned the routine and often surprised Dr. B being ready with a task just as he was ready for it. Everything had a place. (I eventually labeled certain containers "sharp knives", "large spoons", "forks"--because I myself couldn't locate them easily. I am definitely a type "A" but I accept it. It can be helpful, so there it is.
It was so great to be in a warm, humid climate. El Paso had been cold and dry and I had a cold and cough for weeks. I was hoping to rid myself of the long lasting cough on this trip. Kay had a cough, too, and we commiserated. Little did I know that by the end of the trip, many of us would come down with a major respiratory illness requiring antibiotics
While others were involved in the clean-up, I snapped photos of some of us, hotel signs, and whatever. With my digital Nikon and a 512 MB card, I have yet to come up against a full memory card. I also have this Pure Digital camcorder with 512 MB or 30 minutes of memory; it's about the same size as my camera. When it gets full, it has to be uploaded to my iBook. This little tool turned out to be just that...in San Miguel Tzinacapan--a very useful tool on Day 5.
Today our schedule calls for 275 miles, a second day of mostly driving to reach our main cities. The huge perk is a go at a beach with palm trees at Costa Esmerelda (or is it Esmeralda?)--either way, it must mean Emerald Coast. And it was indeed that. We reached the beach location of El Corsario (signed with a WWI or II pilot with scarf in the breeze) at 3:45 pm.
But before that at about 1 pm we went through the small village of Alamo in the state of Veracruz. The entire town seemed to consist of fruit stands displaying the most amazing colorful stringed up fruit. We spent quite a while there both examining and buying fruit, taking photos, visiting as our Spanish allowed, and just engrossing ourselves in the Mexican culture
I was fascinated with the strung-up recycled brown bottles of beer which now contained bee pollen. Also, miel--honey. I wasn't sure what I would do with a bottle of bee pollen though I craved one. I managed to restrain myself.
On this stretch of 2-lane highway we saw so many vehicles 'in tow'--many small trucks, Toyotas, Ford Rangers, etc. Pablo says they are on their way to Guatemala and farther south to be repaired, repainted and resold at huge profits. We counted twenty, eventually thirty of them along our same highway.
There were few mountains to drive through yet, so at the gas station at Gonzales when I figured our mileage, the 1996 Mercury Sable station wagon had gotten a bit better than 25 mpg. Later on I heard that our little group had a very economical trip--we even got a bit of a refund from our $100 apiece kitty. Even before the trip began I had paid for insurance ($85 for 10 days) and vehicle registration ($30). Thanks to Bill's and Kay's records from a previous trip, it was estimated that each of the other three should contribute $100 to the group kitty--which was to be used for only gas, tolls, and parking
For the entire trip in my Sable, Pablo drove, Michelle rode shotgun, I rode behind Pablo, and Pinky rode behind Michelle. Aside from Kiro's family car, all the other vehicles rotated drivers frequently. It was a blessing that Marc, a first time traveler with Dr. B, liked to drive. Even after we got turned around in Mexico City, he later reported that he enjoyed it. Wow. I was impressed. Drivers of the three vehicles (besides mine and Kiro's) rotated among Mike, Kay, Marc, Rosemary and Bill. If I have this wrong, please email me. The CB radios enabled us to stay in constant touch, allowed for aids in passing on two-lane highways, and allowed us to know what what was happening in Mexico City. Kiro also was so helpful in so many ways--he connected with a Mexican truck driver whom we followed to get us through Mexico City. I will write more about what happened in Mexico City on Day 8, the low point of the trip for me.
Meanwhile, after leaving Altamira and crossing a high toll-bridge over the Panuco River at Tampico, we passed through a small town of Cerro Azul (Blue Hill). I snapped endless photos of what I thought to actually be the blue hill--to me it looked like a lying-down George Washington, but then in the Franklin Mountains in El Paso we have Anthony's Nose--a similar lying down character with an obvious nose. We were to take note of other mountains/volcanoes named for their supposed reclining position.
We arrived as the Emerald Coast, palm trees, sandy beaches, palapas and all at 3:45 pm. We had earlier eaten lunch at a Pemex station where we observed three sedentary bulls in the community of Arenero, Veracruz
I noted that my odometer read 71879 at El Corsario, meaning I could back track and figure exact mileage from Kingsville. Of all the places we visited, this one seems the most likely where I'd like to spend a couple weeks. It was really magical, not over built, and not completely touristed. I like to camp. Showers and nearby eating facilities were available.
We arrived at our night's destination, a spiffy motel (Hotel Eguia) at a Pemex station in the town of Zempoala, Veracruz at 7:30 pm, when it was still light. Hotel Eguia was obviously one of Dr. B's 'finds' from past reconnaissance trips. The very friendly desk clerk Adriana, and the security-guard-on-bicycle, joined us at dinner. I took some of Rosemary's barley meal and left-over chicken salad and pesto from the previous night to the bicycling guard. He returned to the chuck wagon for some additional salsa and then thanked us for the meal. When it appeared that too much of the barley dish was left to cool down, we searched around for someone who might want it. When no one was found, it was offered to Adriana who agreed that yes, she did have a dog, pregnant, who might like it. After huge laughs, Rosemary decided to name her barley dish after the pregnant dog: Perro Embarrasada. Surely this will become one of those 'inside jokes.' Rosemary swears that Mary demanded that the dish be made a part of the menu for the trip. Actually, it was simply delicious
This was also the same place I awoke in the morning with the sounds of a jet plane warming up on its runway. Even with my ear plugs i could hear that jet. Once again in a responsible mode, it seems that my roomie had volunteered to take the coffee urn into our room, plug it in so it would be ready early, perhaps thus enabling Dr. B a few extra minutes' sleep. Somewhere in my dream like state I finally identified the sound. Later on it turned out the big coffee pot was not 'levelled' and only hot water resulted from all that noise.
Kay and I had each paid another economical $175 pesos for our room. I got a huge kick out of the hand-written sign on the door which cautioned renters to not "paint of the wall", and a long list of other cautions.
Mileage for the day was 275 miles. Gas costs were $27.23 (US) and we paid 5 tolls for a total of $10.48 (US).
By now, we have traveled about 18 hours together. In our vehicle we have had non-stop visiting. Pablo and I have been on numerous trips with Dr. B, including the 1984 trip to Peru and Bolivia. He knows me by the name I used for many years "Kathie" but which I changed over twenty years ago to "Sibyl", actually my first name and also my mother's first name. I think it must always be complicated when someone changes names. For me I simply adopted one of my given names. One of my sisters adopted a completely new name. Why ever it happens, the reasons are complicated and very personal. As for me, I answer to both 'Kathie' and 'Sibyl.' The onus seems to fall upon my friends and for this I am deeply sorry. Long time friends like Bill hardly know what to call me. It somehow sorts itself out, I guess. My mom addresses my mail to 'Sibyl' but calls me Kathie. My husband calls me Kathie but is used to answering phone calls for 'Sibyl.' Two of my sisters manage to call me 'Sibyl' but one knows me only as 'Kathie.' I've just accepted the dichotomy. It's who I am.