Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wilma 23

Rebuilding the wooden bridge to the Avalon Reef Club

Today is Saturday, October 29, 2005. We took the ferry across to Puerto Juarez today to get our car where I had left it the day after we got back. (was it only just last Monday night? It seems like a lifetime ago!) I was really worried that all the gas would have been siphoned out so we brought the gas can with us. My fears were unfounded though. I had parked it in the same guarded parking lot that I had used when I evacuated the car from the island during Emily last July. We wanted the car on the mainland then in case we had to make a run for it. Also in case the car ferry stopped running and to avoid any damage from flying debris or whatever. The tank was still full and the people who own the lot did not overcharge me or try to gouge the price. How nice to find trustworthy people.

We collected the now very dirty car and drove into the city. We found a gas station that was open and running on generator power. After a short wait in line, we topped off the tank and filled the gas can. Our goal was to make our way down Avenue Bonampak and get to Plaza las Americas. This is the shopping mall we passed on the way in. It looked then like somebody had dropped a bomb on it. We had heard that the grocery store there had reopened. We found this hard to believe but wanted to check it out and see what we could find there. Plus L was flying to South America on the 31st and needed to talk to Mexicana Airlines. Their office is right across the street from the mall so we were killing two birds. We have heard that the airport is still closed, or at least the terminals are. All flights are taking off and landing visually since the control tower has been so badly damaged.

We got to the grocery store and were very disappointed. It looked like it had been looted. Lots of empty shelves, no meat, no vegetables and no bakery. We couldn’t even restock our fast dwindling wine supply because there is still a no alcohol ban in effect. We found a few items and headed straight back to the car ferry. Cancun is still very dangerous and not a place to spend a lot of time in. Besides which, driving is a nightmare. No traffic lights, power poles still lying across the streets with lines still attached, and cars drive anywhere they want, even the wrong way on one way streets. Everybody is just trying to find a way to get to where they need or want to go. After a slightly stressful drive back to Punta Sam, we were safely loaded onto the ferry and on our way home again.

The ferry has been interesting since it started running again. Until the ferry started, all supplies were being brought over from the mainland by helicopter. They were taking off and landing all day. It made me feel like we were really in a disaster area with all the airlifted supplies coming in. Mostly water. The car ferry was operating on a strictly supplies only rule. No construction material was being brought over yet unless there was room. First priority to load were island residents trying to get home, then any trucks with food or water and, of course, the wonderful CFE trucks!

CFE stands for Commission of Federal Electricity and is Mexico’s one and only electricity provider. Lots of monopolies like that here. Basically any company that ends with the word MEX is federally owned. Like the gas stations are all called PeMex. (PEtroleumMEXico) I want to say just a bit about CFE in the next chapter.

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