Wed, May 30th - 7:06PM
Traveling through Mexico
To travel by road through Mexico can to say the least, be an adventure on its own. Three years ago My wife and I traveled from Monterrey to Cancun by car.
We decided to travel by the gulf route, which I understand is the main route the North Americans choose from east of Laredo to the coast. I really did not know what to expect as my wife is a bit of an alarmist and I had thoughts ranging from driving on dirt tracks (proved true in a few places) to being attacked by armed gangs or having numerous accidents (nearly one or two ! )
We drove to join the coast at Tampico. Like many dock areas is was a congested mess and took us a good hour to be on our way again. We tried wherever possible to take the coast roads and in general they were in reasonably good condition. We had a few scary moments as the roads have no curb stones and the very hot weather had caused the roads to crack and subside. There were times when we were almost driving at a 45 ° angle. Our first stop was Tuxpan which was full of holiday makers, we were worried about getting somewhere to sleep but eventually found a small hotel by the sea.
The next day we continued to wards Vera cruz and found a side road (hadn't got a clue where we were heading ) but by good fortune led us to a toll road, that was in theory not open, however (it was) we had a brand spanking new toll road all to ourselves , sheer bliss.
Now two things that I will always remember happened in the state of Vera cruz. I have traveled to many countries and seen some beautiful sights, but for sheer colour Vera cruz is out of this world!! The vegetation, the people, the houses, just everything was colour at its magnificent best. For countryside artists it must be paradise. As we drove out to the coast again we arrived at a stretch of coast called the Costa Esmeralda. I fell in love with this place and this is where I want to spend my eventual retirement. The beaches compared to anything the Caribbean has to offer, houses just 200 feet from the sea, the sand was whiter than white. This was the first evidence I had seen of this route being used by the N Americans as there were a lot of RV rest parks (in fact the first I had seen)
We then went on to CD Carmen. The approach to this city was 2 mile bridge of what appeared to be a gigantic ocean (OK so I exaggerate) but a wonderful scenic route. Unfortunately the city was having a very,very bad time as the whole sewer infrastructure had collapsed and I will not begin to describe the smell and sights.
After that began the last part of our journey to Yucatan (one more night stop at the beautiful city of Merida) and then on to Cancun.
Cancun is Cancun, a mixture of different nationalities from all over the world. Sadly our stay in Cancun coincided with 10% of the whole annual national rainfall. My sister in law (who lives in Cancun swears that whenever I visit there the same thing happens again and again. So far on my 3 visits I have been on the verge of (2) 5 rated hurricanes and now this latest episode. At least I cannot be blamed for the one last year which actually hit Cancun as I was in Monterrey!! Although weirdly the same hurricane veered north and hit Monterrey (the first one in 20 years) so maybe, just maybe there is a strange coincidence :-(
The highlights of our journey back was the extremely high climb from Cordoba to Mexico city. At the bottom we where in shorts, at the top we were in overcoats!!
Has anybody reading this driven through Mexico city ? if so how are your nerves ? 3 years later and I still have nightmares . I then drove for 19 hours solid through light rain, heavier rain and then sheer horrific thunderstorms. I kid you not that lightning was hitting the ground 50 feet from us. It was black as black can be an my only way of navigating was to follow the traffic (mainly lorries) but they were going to fast and often it was driving blind.
We arrived home exhausted, shattered and miraculously alive but on reflection 'was it worth it ? the answer is a resounding YES.
Mexico is a conundrum, a potentially very rich country with some extreme poverty. I passed through a jungle, and a red flag tied to a tree was the only sign that someone livid just there 'in the jungle' For people traveling through you will see very good toll roads and some bad tracks, sometimes one following into the other. I personally would never drive at night (as a stranger) I prefer to see the hole or topjes (sleeping policeman)
Points of interest: Vera cruz, a paradise of colours, Costa Esmeralda, I want it all for myself so please give it a miss :-) Cancun is Cancun . As an aside there was a bridge in Vera cruz that seemed to be heading for the heavens, it just went up and up and up with no visible sign of what was on the other side. Just like a roller coater.
I do tend to go a bit so my apologizes.