RETURN INTO MEXICO. APRIL – MAY 2017
Backtracking because we cannot go further. We are RHD, “right hand drive” its over for us. Central American countries of Nicaragua, Cost Rica and Panama. We cannot go there. Great shame but there you have it. Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, were ok. Such wonderful memories of people and landscape. Further south? Its no way Jose!
Now back in Mexico. Getting very hot and humid we traveled up to Tulum, a Mayan site that is awesomely beautiful on the waters edge. The most touristy destination for Mayan ruins, Exorbitant entry fees!! Magnificent but pails a little in comparison to the Mayan ruins at Pelanque and Tecal in Guatemala. Maybe because it’s close to the Tourist Mecca of Cancun (if you want to see Mexico, you will not find in Cancun). Tourism is the industry in these parts of Mexico, Quintana Roo and the Yucatan Peninsula are honey pots for Europeans, North Americans and well heeled South Americans.
So we are on the final leg of our trip to Central America and Mexico as we head to Veracruz and a ship that will take Wiggy to Cartegena in Colombia. We shall leave Wiggy in the hands of a shipping agent. We have to fly to Cartegena and wait a couple of weeks. We have booked 2 weeks at a Spanish School, where we shall learn a little bit more of Spanish. We have managed very well with the little we know but we both feel our experience would have been enhanced if our vocabulary was a little “fuller”.
So, It’s almost time to say ciao. Our 1 year in Mexico has been such an amazing journey and experience. Despite dire warnings whilst in the USA from well meaning folks we have found the people of Mexico and Central America warm and helpful. Even an Honduran local said he would never go to Mexico! A fabulous country marred by its still present violence, drug cartels, kidnapping and corruption. We didn’t wrap our selves in cotton wool, neither did we venture at night to “hot spots’ or drive at night time. The roads are poorly lit, people and animals walk them, there are no footpaths. Topes (speed humps) of which there are literally thousands are not always marked and pot holes abound.
So, really a thank you to special friends and locals we have met (many who are now Facebook friends). Fellow overlanders from whom we garnered many tips and information on special places to see and experience.
Big day going to pick up Wiggie.
Off we walk to the last day of Spanish school this morning.
Just 5 minutes into walking and dripping. Hot? Sure is.
IAN: Oh sh…t Pen, have you seen the keys since we have been here, to the padlocks into the house part?
Pen: No. ( imagine, tone is low, controlled).
No keys in our rented apartment.
That evening after Ian has spent 5 hours at the port, we still have no Wiggie.
We hope they release her tomorrow morning and we will saw off a lock or two to get to the missing keys. We must have left them inside the truck! Wiggy has a few extra security measures. Padlocks on doors, lockable metal grill from cab to living area. External metal plates over windows. Story’s abound of items missing when you get your vehicle returned. RORO (roll on roll off) means a starter key has to remain with the vehicle.
Take it easy, relax, chill, don’t worry. Yeah right!!!
Cartegena, Columbia. Day 1.
Finally get here at 2am. Cancelled flight, then on again. But we here in Sth America. Our room overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. We wait for a couple of weeks for wiggy to join us, from Veracruz. We take a 2 week Spanish course on Monday and learn a little bit more.
How does one say in Spanish “you F&&*cking little fu&**^ers” as they speed away on a motorcycle after drawing alongside and snatching my gold chain and ripping away from my neck.
I’m ok, all happened within 2 seconds. I did quite like that gold chain though. Had it for 20years or so.
Finally got Wiggy back from her Port holding today. Breezed along with Alexander (our French pal whose vehicle made the journey with Wiggy), paper work in order. One hour later, Alexander was on his way! I was to stay because the computer said “No”.
Usually Vin (Vehicle Identification No’s) are checked against paperwork and off you go. Usually!! Apparently and at random customs do a vehicle check, guess who drew the short straw? You already know who hasn’t got keys to open anything!
So, waited 2 hours then customs needed to look at personal effects.
“No keys” said I.
“Where is key” said he.
“NFI” said I.
So cutting a long story short. A pair of bolt cutters were found in the Port somewhere.
“Can I break Lock”?
“Sure” said I. “Be my guest”.
Wiggy was opened, in stepped customs guy (he was a nice guy). Opened 1 drawer, took a pic on his smart phone and said “Ok, all is Ok”.
So, I knew that after retrieving Wiggy I would have to find (or buy) a pair of bolt cutters so we could get in and retrieve keys.
Silver lining to a cloud day, 2 burly port guys, one handle each on bolt cutters busted a high tensile lock, to take a peak at Wiggy.
We were freed!
Our Wiggie has landed!
We are no longer stranded
In a city we love to see.
Our home is arriving,
and we will be driving
all over the place, you’ll see.
The weather is summer and
we need a plumber to fix the humidity
In our fridge which is cactus,
to ensure our lack of longevity.
Life is an adventure, you betcha,
and more we have to see
We are old and still moving,
things keep improving,
and so much of of the world to see!
I am entirely responsible for the poem, Pen.
Couple of amazing things also happened . I needed some batteries for my (now) only one working hearing aid. “Producto número, tres, uno, dos..” i said. Amazement No 1. He understood!
“Cuanto cuesta” (how much) said I. Amazement No 2 he understood and replied. “Veinte cinco” (25 million Colombian pesos. Yes 25 million!). Amazements 3&4 together here, I could actually hear what he said and what it meant!!!
PS 25 million Colombian pesos is about $8.
A walk to the locals market. Mercado de Bazurto. “Tripadvisor” warn of thieves and pickpockets. A warning from a market vendor to wear backpacks on the front!!
Colours amazing, the meat market was pretty iffy but interesting. First time we’ve seen pig eyes for sale!
The video is a bit jumpy as I was trying to not be mown down by Pikipiky Taxis (motorcycles where the rider carries a spare helmet for his fare paying passenger), hundreds of them. Tried to capture the noise of music, people and produce.
So, we are back on the road. Heading South in Colombia. Maybe 4 weeks till Equador where, hopefully the new part for our now very dead fridge will await us.