After the blockades, rough highways and jungle ruins of Chiapas, we were ready to head for the touristic coastline. We arrived into the still, humidity of the city of Villahermosa (located in the state of Villahermosa) late in the evening. Our campsite for the night was a museum parking lot. We planned to tour the museum in the morning. However, it was closed for remodeling! So we took the dogs for a walk around the lagoon which is located just outside the walls of a zoo. This is an interesting place to walk, because a few animals have escaped from the zoo and now live in the lagoon. We saw one fella while we were walking! There is even a sign that warns you not to hunt the animals that you may encounter!
The walk also revealed a local drum corp competition and several schools sharing a stage which was set up for graduation ceremonies. Perhaps a summer training program was finishing their certification programs, because the graduates were wearing white medical smocks. But with no museum to tour, and not being big zoo-attendees, we were ready to move towards the ocean.
Driving along the coast was beautiful. And it made us very thankful that we now have air conditioning in the cab of the truck. We could view the sparkling blue seas from the climate controlled comfort of our front seats listening to podcasts on the sound system. Meanwhile the dogs were able to sleep peacefully in the back. We reminisced about the HOT days in the VW van, cruising down the highways with all windows open. The wind noise was so loud that we could not talk without shouting and playing music was pointless. There are many things we love about Alta, our VW hightop Vanagon. But driving on miserably hot days is not one of them!
Somewhere along that coastline we crossed into the state of Campeche. We decided to stop at Isla Aguada, Campeche. This small, sleepy fishing village is connected to land by a long bridge. The campground is managed by a spunky, political, outspoken Mexican woman who lived in the USA for 40 years. She and her American husband had planned to run this park for their retirement years, but he passed away a short time ago. So she is here trying to manage a full service hotel, restaurant and RV park. She was quite entertaining, and the ocean campsite was beautiful. We stayed extra nights just to enjoy it! With the speedy wifi from the camping area we were able to research some fun stuff to do in Merida. So we peeled ourselves away from this peaceful location and drove on to Merida in the state of Yucatan. Here is our route map thus far! As we crossed between Villahermosa state and Yucatan state we encountered the first military checkpoint that actually wanted to do more than lean on the window and chat. They asked Mike to go around back and open the door. But I think they were overwhelmed once they peered inside, as they did not enter or look any further! The campsite in Merida was at a seemingly abandoned RV park. Although few people use or even know about the place, it is still operational. We were the only campers there for nearly a week. Yet we had running water, hot showers and electricity for the camper air conditioner! And it is a large, beautiful, garden-like setting. The dogs loved it. Each campsite had hookups, including a sewer dump. And living in each sewer dump was a huge iguana! Zeb spent hours and hours at the iguana process. He would see them from a distance and dash towards them. The iguana would quickly disappear into the sewer hole, leaving a tail sticking out. This would really bother the dog. Zeb would then lay down next to the hole and wait for the iguana to come back out, which it would not do with him there. But shortly another iguana would pop out and he would dash to that hole. Later he discovered that they also sat on the nearby rock pile. He had to add that location to his patrol duties! He was quite busy at the Rainbow RV Park in Merida! He even modeled a large piece of iguana skin (they shed a few times a year) on his paw, and then ate it as a chew-toy after the photo! Mango thought the iguanas were interesting from a distance. But since they were bigger than her, she did not stalk them as intensely as Zeb did.
Merida is a large, commercial city. The Rainbow RV Park is located near a Costco, a museum and a shopping mall. The two-story mall included a food court, fancy restaurants, name-brand clothing stores and even an ice skating rink!
Geneva felt compelled to rearrange the rocks in the mall landscaping. The mall had an enormous Mexican flag flying. We could hear it flapping in the wind from our nearby spot!
Merida has many fun activities for tourists. Street dancing, a lively mercado, bands playing and street-side cafe’s. One night we went to the historic central part of town and enjoyed live music in front of the church.On a different night we took the free, guided, cemetery walking tour. Although it was all in Spanish, we understood a little and loved looking at the structures by flashlight! Check out the dogs that sleep on the cool, marble slabs at night!
One of the night events in Merida is a live, costumed and narrated demonstration of the Mayan ball game called Pok ta pok. Because we had seen so many ball courts at the ruins, we were interested in learning more about the ancient game. The next blog post will share what we saw on that last night in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.