*I meant to post this a week ago, but then my laptop died. Anyways, here it is…
The main reason we went down to Huatulco was to meet up with Sarah’s sister Holly and her friends who were on a cruise and stopping in there for the day. So we woke up at our usually ridiculously early time (I don’t know why this is happening lately but we always seem to be awake early these days), jumped in the car and headed out to where the cruise ships dock. We picked a restaurant near the pier and watched people disembark from the ginormous ship. While we waited for our breakfast and forced ourselves to drink the hideous coffee, Holly and Co. popped off the ship and headed down to be greeted by a gift and smile bearing Sarah.
After much hellos and nice to meet you’s we ushered everyone into the car and loaded her up. Two in the front, three in the back, and two more in the boot, which is ample and quite capable of handling more, which is usually what happens in Mexico.
Not having sussed out any sort of plan after arriving really late the night before, we drove out to a beach on our map and crossed our fingers it wouldn’t be shit. Luckily it wasn’t. The beach itself was pretty magnificent, all Jungley with clearish greeny blue water (it looks better than it sounds) inviting us to escape the sun. We first however had to escape the crazed restaurateurs who bum rushed us on the beach to go to their restaurant. This is a cruise ship town, and because of that prices for everything are double, and sales mania reaches fever pitch.
We picked one of the shouting waiter/owners and tried to ignore the looks of dashed hope in his fellows eyes (it was surprisingly easy because of how picturesque and relatively deserted the beach was). To cut a long story short we swam in the beautiful water, ate ceviche, caught up on the goss from the ship and before we new it, it was time to say goodbye. We loaded the ladies up in the car, drove them back to the ship and waved them goodbye as they continued on with their journey. It was lovely to meet them all, and the fact that they would not let us pay for anything, not even fuel, makes me like them all even more (as they say, “The best way to a misers heart is through his pocket”).
It was time now for the return journey home. We ate, slept and rose early the next morning for our second to last day of driving. What should have been a 5 hour drive according to Google took about 8 as the roads were shocking with potholes that could swallow a car and more speed bumps than road (I hate speed bumps, or as they are called here, Topes). Not to mention the inordinate amount of trucks which seem to infest the roads from Huatulco to VIllahermosa, our stop for the night before the final stretch home.
The drive was fairly unremarkable as was the destination. Villahermosa I am sure has hidden gems, unfortunately we only found the compost which might one day constitute a gem. The town is for lack of a better term, lacklustre in the extreme. I had managed to find us a good little hotel for about $50 a night, and we surprisingly managed to find the hotel quite easily. Unfortunately the hotel location wasn’t great. That is not to say that this particular hotel wasn’t in a great location, more that any hotel in Villahermosa is not in a great location. I am probably being too harsh and in the daylight this town might be nice, but our brief wander around the hotel area did not lend itself to this possibility.
Another broken nights sleep thanks to locals who use outside voices inside (I have to say this is a trait I have experienced over and over again in Mexico, and is one of the things I don’t particularly like about the culture) and we were up at the crack of dawn for the final stretch home – Villahermosa to Playa del Carmen. This was going to be a big one. Google said about 9 hours, and if previous Google estimates were anything to go by, we could add half that again.
So I donned my drivers cap and off we went. After a little bit of a slow start because the roads were still bad, things improved remarkably. The potholes became fewer and the speed bumps stopped appearing out of nowhere while I was doing 140km an hour and had no hope of breaking, although over confidence is not suggested here as just when you think things are good, one of those car swallowing pot holes shows up and causes all manner of manic swerving.
The drive was long as was expected, but it seemed to actually be taking less time than even Google thought it would. We were all starting to perk up as the home stretch became evident. First the signs saying welcome to Quintana Roo (our home state) appeared to a round of silent cheers. Then the signs to Chetumal which was where we would turn North on the final stretch home. We were almost there, at least we thought so.
About 2 hours out from our home town of Playa del Carmen we came to an abrupt stop as a few trucks seemed to be blocking the road. It kind of looked like one had jack knifed in the road and I did my customary drive past the crowd to have a look. I dodged around a couple trucks and then all of a sudden a few of them started moving! Two pulled in front of me and when I tried to pass started swerving to block my way. I think that is when I knew this was no accident. We stopped dead in our car, with the rain hammering down and watched as the two trucks ruined any chance of passing. Another goddamn protest.
I got out of the car and asked a truck driver what was up. I was told the road was blocked and would be so for three days. By the way they lie like there is no tomorrow, these things tend to last the day at most and then they go home to bed having achieved their goals of pissing me off. I walked around the trucks to see what we were up against and was confronted by trucks angled across the road for as far as the eye could see. Rather than “I hope their protest is successful and they get what they are asking for”, the only support I could muster was for whoever it was that wasn’t giving them what they wanted, which I think should be protesting 101, don’t piss off your would-be supporters.
After watching a policemen do a u-turn and disappear, we decided to turn around and take another route along the backstreets, hoping they had not blocked this off as well. They hadn’t but the new route took us back through Valladolid where we had started, and in the end not only cost us an extra 4 or 5 hours of driving time, but also saw me kill a vulture with Senor Squeak (our car). The car was fine, the vulture not so much.
The long and short of it all is after 13-14 hours of driving we pulled into Playa del Carmen, home. It then became eminently clear to me that Playa del Carmen had indeed become home. I wanted my bed, in my apartment, with my aircon. And I wanted to sleep without having to get up the next day and face a billion potholes and a billion of their anti- equivalents, the tope. Wish granted.
My next post will be a round up with photos from the actual Camera and probably a video (all the photos thus far have come from my phone alone). It should be good. Peace out.
to read the previous parts of this Episodic marvel, look below…
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