Luis packs up his Discovery
in the parking lot of the Hotel San Antonio
Day Three began early for us. The morning started
with a hotel parking lot oil change for Camel. It
had been over 3,500 miles since it's last oil change,
and I knew that if it waited until we got back to
the states, this batch of oil and filter would have
close to 8,000 miles on it.
Tracy woke up feeling a bit under the weather.
Perhaps it was nervs, or maybe the fact that she
had accidentally washed her mouth out in the shower
with a bit of water the night before and was feeling
nauseous when she woke up. Three tablets of Pepto
and a trip to worship the porcelin god later and
she was right as rain.
Stuart's sister and co-pilot parted company with
us to spend the week with some friends who lived
in Tampico. One of these friends, a local named
Bruno, arrived at the hotel and guided us out of
town. It was a good thing he led us out- the convoluted
route out of the city was compounded by rush hour
traffit. Without his help, we may not have been
able to make it out of town as a group.
I can't begin to express how helpful radio communication
is on expeditions. Whether you use CB, FRS or Ham
radios, their vital communication pervented us from
leaving someone behind to wander for all eternity
through Mexico. On the trail it's helpful to keep
everyone it touch and aware of what's going on-
on expedition, it is an essential. We used it to
communicate when the group got separated at lights,
what turns to make and even to help synchronize
One of the most interesting
sights of the day had to have been the bathroom
at one of our fuel stops. Perhaps they took the
term "hole-in-the-wall" a bit too literally,
as that's all the men's facilities consisted of.
tests out the first-class bathroom facilities
For lunch we stopped at Tajin, an
Indian ruin (not Mayan). It was pretty much a tourist
stop where the main focus was on the local performers
who do a pole descent hanging upside down and spinning.
As the pole spins around, it lets out more rope
eventually lowering the performers to the ground.
Evidentally this type of performance is somewhat
popular in parts of Mexico, and most of the good
pole dancers come from Tajin. There were lots of
locals with booths selling all kinds of souvenirs
and foods. Likewise there were hordes of kids following
us around every corner holding out water bottles
and vanilla for sale. The area around Tajin is reknowned
for its vanilla.
File under "Things
that sound dirty, but aren't": The famous
pole dancers at Tajin.
After the lunch stop, we bid farewell
to Antonio and Elena as they were continuing on
to stay with family in Mexico. We pulled out of
Tajin; the group now down to nine vehicles.
lunch in Tajin: "En ingles, como es 'huevos
After paralleling the coastline all
day, we finally had a chance to see the ocean and
some stretches of beach. The scendic area, known
as La Costa Esmeralda, was at one time volcanically
active and the landscape is dotted with dormant
volcanoes, covered with dense jungle. The combination
of volcanoes and tropical forest makes for truly
breathtaking scenery that reminded Tracy of her
home in Hawaii.
gets out to stretch his legs at a Pemex rest
We arrived in Veracruz just before
dark and somehow crammed all nine vehicles into
their secured parking garage. Most fit in without
too much trouble, but the two tallest vehicles,
White Rover (Ben and Pat Bibb) and Camel, barely
fit. In order for Camel to make it into the garage,
the roof mounted jerry cans dug into the ceiling
at one point leaving two deep gouge marks in the
Hotel Colonial is a very nice modern
hotel located on the Veracruz main plaza. We walked
out the front doors of the hotel to be greeted with
the sight of mariachi bands seranading diners at
the restaurants surrounding the plaza. Although
it seemed like a hodge-podge of music with every
restaraunt's band trying to out play the others,
it was quite remarkable. Amazingly, despite all
of the noise out in the plaza, the hotel rooms were
completely silent and we fell right to sleep. A
good thing too, tomorrow is going to be another
long day on the road.
packed in like sardines at the Hotel Colonial