Chetumal to Coatzacoalcos

<done from memory on 8/30/10>

After my uneventful night in a Chetumal, I woke up early and put on my freshly laundered clothes.

On the news was word of tropical depression/hurricane heading this way, so I was going to see how many miles I could do.   Once you’re out of Chetumal, there is but one way out.

OK, that’s not quite true, as I could have gone around the coastal route, but two things prevented me.  First was I was tired of ruins.  I’d seen over a dozen, and was thinking that I didn’t really want to see any more.    The second was the loneliness.   One day I’ll come back with a partner and make a nice vacation – rent a car, spend a week looking at the ruins. It sounds very nice.

Like I said, I got an early start.  Pretty close to Chetumal, I found a nice turnoff to some new ruins – I forget the name now.   There was an entrance building, and I paid my fee.  I had the place to myself, and it was kind of neat.  Relatively small, much more overgrown than everything I’d seen so far (except for parts of Tikal, but Tikal was maybe 100(?) times the size of this.)  Nice, interesting, etc.  From there, I drove pretty leisurely to Coatzacoalcos.

Leisurely might not be the completely correct word.  I was never stopped by any sort of authority, outside of today.  Three times there were Federale road blocks, and three times I was pulled over.  Most interesting to me is that each time I was stopped, they only looked in my right side bag.  On my BMW, the kickstand is on the left, so when you’re on the kickstand, the right bag is quite a bit higher than the left.  Now, I wasn’t always on my kickstand, but the right bag was the only one searched 3 of 3 times.    Everyone I dealt with was professional, spoke english, and seemed a bit embarrassed to be stopping me.   Being embarrassed was a bit odd considering how much firepower they had.

I arrived in Coatzacoalcos during rush hour.  I don’t remember too much about the trip, or the arrival, except for a few things that have been seared into my head.  First was the horns.  In Mexico, when the light changes, cars four or five cars back will start honking their horns.  It’s crazy.  I like Mexican drivers much better than any American drivers I’ve ever seen.

The second part seared into my brain was when I was in traffic, trying to find a hotel.  It was rush hour, and traffic was like most traffic at that time.  As the lights changed,  I heard something behind my bike.  I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a cat doing some sort of Ballet dance of death.  He was hit by a car, and then another, and I was transfixed.   A completely black cat, and it was seemingly vertical the whole time, almost like it was dancing.  It was hard to watch, and took almost no time.  I found a hotel that had some sort of parking, but it just meant I got shitty hotel room next to where I could park my bike.  I consider it a win.

After getting a shower, I decided to find something to eat.  This little town was quite nice.  There was a small square where a traditional Mexican band was playing, with dozens of families walking around, both watching the band and watching their children.   Other than a cool breeze off the ocean, it was American writ Mexican.   I spent a bit more time walking around the city and ended up with a somewhat early bedtime.