The road changed dramatically after we left the freeway at Villahermosa behind. As did the landscape. We had now entered the flat, marshy bog lands that cover miles of land in from the coast. We crossed many little rivers and creeks as well as larger lagoon like areas. I found it fascinating that every single bridge, no matter how small, in Mexico has been given a name. Sometimes named after the river it crossed but mostly not. The weather began to change also. Although we were miles from the coast, the air was cleaner, cooler and there was actually a breeze. Part of the stretch was typical Mexican two lane roads. Narrow, badly torn up or worn out. There were parts where I actually had to straddle the deep ruts made by the multitude of trucks and busses that had passed that way before us.
Every dry space of land was occupied it seemed. Huts with little gardens were everywhere. This was a fertile land with plenty of water. I wondered if the many rivers that we crossed flowed to or from the gulf and if they were fresh or salt water. There was really no way to tell as there was no visible current. Besides, I had little time to gaze down into them as I crossed over. This was turning out to be the most pleasant driving part of the trip so far. Until we approached Frontera.
I hate the water. I hate being on boats and I hate crossing long or high bridges over water. I know, I live on an island but, believe me, I do not like crossing to the mainland at all. I just wish I could stay here and people would bring me what I need. And Mexico, at least the part I saw, has no drawbridges. Just before Frontera, there is a large bay and river leading inland off of that. One needs to cross this to get to Frontera and to continue on M180. Jaimie was lost in thought or just plain daydreaming because I startled him back to reality when I exclaimed, “Oh God!” and just silently pointed straight ahead. I couldn’t speak. I hadn’t told him about my fear of bridges before this because I knew he would have latched onto it like a dog chewing a bone and I would have heard “Bridge! Bridge!” every time we crossed even the smallest stream. Then he would have laughed his gleeful little laugh that he had made a joke at my expense. (and I was right because he did this the rest of the trip. Much to my annoyance.) “What?” he asked, “It’s just a bridge”. “Just a bridge” was an understatement. There in front of us loomed a bridge so tall and so straight up that I could not see the other side of it. It seemed to be a giant inverted V spanning the lagoon to allow large boats to pass underneath safely. But what about the safety of those who had to cross it? Oh, how I dreaded getting onto it.
Just like every other step of this journey so far, I had no other choices available and headed up it. It seemed like we climbed forever and were looking straight up at the sky. I felt like I was on some carnival ride that was taking me up for some death defying drop. I actually had to shift down to second gear to get all the way to the top! We crested the top and drove across a short flat span and then were faced with the descent. Remember the hill we had to go down that was so steep even Jaimie had to hang on? This was worse, Easily the second most scary moment of the trip for me. Down shifting again, riding the brakes, and we were safely down and back on flat land. Much to my great relief. Although the fear of another one of these bridges stayed with me the rest of the way through these marshlands.
The road past Frontera led us back to the Gulf and we were again traveling along the Gulf waters that pounded the shore to our left.