Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Driving the Jeep to Mexico - Part 21

We found a comfortable table just inside the door of the restaurant and ordered breakfast. Once again, I was amazed at how quickly and thoroughly Jaimie ate. He treats eating as a necessary evil; something to get over with as quickly as possible. He finished his eggs, pushed his plate aside and announced that he would be right back. He was going to walk back to the square we had passed and try to find caps for his construction workers. I doubted that he would have much luck finding any and, I knew, even if he did, he would again find some excuse for waiting and not purchasing them. I cautioned him that this was our last city stop so he had better look hard. With that, he was off. I was left alone to finish my breakfast, guard the Jeep and wait. And wait. And wait. Forty minutes later and totally overdosed on coffee, I watched Jaimie approach. I was not at all surprised to see him empty handed. He explained that they only had junk for sale and no caps at all. Remembering some of the things that he had found quite fascinating on our prior shopping expeditions, I could only imagine how bad the stuff must have been for him to consider it junk! I paid the bill and escorted a totally despondent navigator back to the Jeep.

Jaimie proved to be very resourceful in leaving Campeche. We had left M180 in our quest for breakfast and now needed to relocate it to be on our way. There were no signs for this or any cities to be seen. It looked like we would be forced to just drive around until we saw something familiar or found a sign. But Jaimie once again shone in his role as interpreter and navigator. We pulled over and asked a group of taxi drivers for directions back to M180. They were not familiar with this but did know the way out of town towards Merida. We followed a bumpy two lane for several miles along some railroad tracks. Jaimie was quite amazed. He did not know that trains were still being used in Mexico. After a bit, we saw the sign for Merida and turned onto M180 once again.

The road from Campeche to Merida is quite good and we made excellent time on it. We crossed the border from the state of Campeche into Yucatan at Halacho and were again just waved past the border guards with hardly a glance in our direction. I was amazed at the road from Campeche to Merida. Excellent condition, with a few road construction sites to navigate, but on the whole in better condition than any other we had driven so far.

We skirted Merida and entered the freeway system to Cancun. At last, home was almost in sight. This freeway is in excellent condition. But it is boring. Boring, boring, boring. The freeway cuts through the shrub jungle of the very flat Yucatan like a gray ribbon. Hardly any turns and certainly no hills. The jungle crowds up to the shoulder of the road and effectively shuts out any views. It is like driving down a corridor of green. It was so boring, I actually let Jaimie fiddle with the radio to his hearts content. In the past, he was allowed 20 minutes of going up and down the dial before my nerves gave out and I made him turn it off. After what seemed like hours of driving, we crossed the border from Yucatan state to our home state of Quintana Roo.
Half way between Merida and Cancun, in the area of Valledolid is a gas station and rest area, of sorts. There is an array of taco stands and souvenir shops. They mostly catered to the bus loads of people traveling between Merida and Cancun. We stopped and had a quick lunch of tacos. I bought a small bag of potato chips which prompted Jaimie to ask why Americans had to eat potato chips with everything. I became defensive and said we did not. He insisted we did and, except for firing back that Mexicans eat tortillas with everything, I gave up on trying to explain it. Mostly because I did not know why myself. As for me, I just wanted something crunchy to go along with the soft tortilla tacos.

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