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Adios Veracruz

June 28, 2017

On the Road Again. 10.7.17

Its exactly a month since pulling into Cartagena and starting the shipping to Mexico process. It was a blessing to once more head out onto the road again today. Veracruz was a very pleasant city, we stayed at two good hotels both overlooking the main plaza where it all happened every night. Plenty of restaurants to choose from, pleasant places to sip a sundowner watching the world go by. But two weeks was a bit too long.
Arranging to get the bakkie off the docks was such a long drawn out 5 day process. Some days it was a case of signing some papers, other days it was hours in the Banjercito arranging the entry permit. Waiting while the poor lady tried to contact people by phone with poor connections. Then watching her having to crouch down under her desk to change connections each time she needed to use the printer.
Then on Thursday, when everything seemed to be finally working out we are told that, because we shipped the cars in a container instead of RORO they were suspicious of perhaps drugs so had to get clearance from Mexico City. That finally came through 12.30 Friday. But even then there were problems: there are two check points for all transport leaving the port. At the first one, after studying the paperwork for 15 minutes Ben is told that we had clearance for the vehicles but not for what was in them! Another interminable wait while Victor the agent is once more called on to sort this one out. Finally at 4pm we drive the two vehicles out of the port and to the hotel.
So here we are, away from the sweltering Caribbean coastline, in a pine forest at two and a half thousand metres, far enough off the road not to hear the passing traffic. We both feel exhilarated being let loose after a month in hotels & Airbnb’s, eating out all the time.
Last weekend, knowing nothing could be done until the following Monday we hired a car and drove 300kms north to the ancient Totonac city of El Tajin. One of the better preserved sites and little visited by foreigners. The temples were set out over a grassy field with the higher authority on a raised level. All the buildings are in great shape.
Las Lambreras Balnareno, Ajacuba 11.7.17
The sign on the autopista said Ajacuba and had the symbol of someone swimming. It was getting late and the alternatives on where to stay in iOverlander were not appealing. We were tired. What would be better than to find a free camping spot on the edge of a lake or river that emptied of locals as dusk fell leaving just the two of us to enjoy a tranquil evening. But not the case. Hot springs flow from underground at this village, there are a myriad of hotels all having their own balnareno or hot pool. Nary a lake in sight. But the parking lots were big and after one refusal we found this place and yes we can stay the night and no there would be no charge. ‘Please make use of the facilities and take a plunge if you feel like it.’ Nice people.
Working out distances tonight came to the conclusion of us having to do 2600kms in 12 days to get to the border in the Mexicali area. That would give us time to find a storage facility. Another two weeks would have meant a bit of sightseeing and that might be the case if we push it on some days. But not a preferable situation to be in. Though the roads are pretty good apart from the speed humps and the drivers not bad at all.

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