Campeche is a state of the Yucatan peninsula. Most of the streets in the cities are numbered. Therefore it is easy to find your way and hard to impossible to get lost. It is also easy to guess the distances.
14th April 2018
I entered the state of Campeche by ADO bus just after high noon, coming from Villahermosa via Frontera (both Tabasco). The landscape did not change, but there were more cows and more horses to see as well as there were sheep. My destination was Ciudad del Carmen.
Irene, my host in Ciudad del Carmen, picked me up by car at the bus station. It was actually hard to find a host for this town, though I made my itinerary for it public. Irene was so kind to invite me. I had to wait for some minutes, before she arrived, what did not matter for me, but she apologised for being late. She told me, we will have lunch, when we left my backpacks at her home. She lives together with her boyfriend Robby. He had to take a shower, though he could follow us. I thought, he knew, that we were coming and could have done that already. In addition to that, I expected a meal at home at Irene, but we were going to a restaurant. While on our way to town, Irene asked me, if I like seafood, therefore I had to tell her, that I am allergic against fish and seafood. Instead for going to a restaurant at the coast, we did go into town and they found a restaurant in the centre, close to the cathedral. From the car to the restaurant we saw black squirrels in a tree and even an iguana.
While Irene helped me to choose and we both had a “biff Mexicana”, which was not hot spicy. Robby had a salad as a starter and a “Cordon blue” as main meal. I paid my own meal. By the way he is American, but speaks Spanish very well. He lives in Mexico for four years now and told Irene, that he speaks Spanish with me, because we are in a Spanish-speaking country. I am happy for it, because it helps me to become better in Spanish. Irene also helps me with the language. She corrects me, when I use wrong termini or conjugation.
After the meal at the restaurant, we were going home and Irene as well as Robby took a rest, while I was on the Internet. In the late afternoon, Irene asked me, if I will follow her. She needed to buy paint. When she had done it, she drove to the “Playa Norte”. We also left the car for a short while. The playa at this side of the island is around 30 km long, but not all is managed for using the beach. Back at her home, she did paint some flower pots.
In the evening she asked me, if we will go out and eat or go to the supermarket and eat at her home. I told her, the supermarket will be fine. We’ll there I bought some things as well. As usual, while following people to the supermarket, I could not find all I needed. I did not find tissues in that hurry. Back at “home” Irene cooked Hamburgers. I had one, Irene two, Robby three. He needs a lot of food and eats very fast, but he is very tall.
Irene also prepared for a picnic for the upcoming day. She planned for a stay over somewhere close to the archaeological site of “El Tigre” and had asked me, if I could pay 300 or 400 MXN for a night in a camping hut. She also told me, that friends would follow as well. We were to bed soon afterwards.
15th April 2018
Before we were going on the trip for “El Tigre”, Irene served a big breakfast including omelette with ham and a homemade tomato sauce on the top. The sky was already grey and it had been raining during the night as well as the friends had cancelled, but Irene was packing and we were leaving, even it started raining now. During the trip it became worse and worse. We were close to Candelaria, when Irene and Robby discussed, if we should go further. Being so close to El Tigre and checking the weather rapport, which stated, that on Monday it would be sunny again, we continued to a camp ground with huts. It was really difficult to go there by a usual car, because of the flooded private road. Well there, there were neither a hut with almost three beds nor two huts close to each other, which were available. There was a hut with an extra air bed, but Robby was not willing to pump it up. Though I have been told, the price of the huts (1 hut, 1 night = 300 MXN) was very expensive. I tried to tell them, that I could pay for both huts, but they did not understand me. They also explained, that it was not possible to buy charcoal at this place, though we could not prepare a meal. We went back to Ciudad del Carmen. Halfway it was no longer raining. Anyway, I had seen something of the countryside. There were birds, looking like the parrots in Australia – the white kind of them with the yellow head feathers, but these did not have yellow head feathers. There were lots of cows, some sheep and quite many horses. Outside villages and small towns were one and another ranch.
There were controls of the police as well. When we were going back, Robby had to show his driver’s licence, but that was all. Back at home, Irene prepared the Hamburgers we should have had in the hut. She was going to sleep afterwards, meanwhile Robby and I had a chat in Spanish about my time in Mexico. Soon he was also going to sleep for a while. Though I used the Internet again, updated my blog somewhat, was on twitter and was looking up hosts.
As well Irene as Robby awoke late. We had a light dinner. Irene stayed with me in the living room after dinner. I was working with my blog again. It became really late – between 1am and 2am. I just did not feel tired and did not feel how time was running. When I was to bed, though Irene felt free to go to bed, I continued with my blog for an additional hour, using my head lamp instead for switching on the light in the room.
16th April 2018
Irene expected customers this day, she works with artificial nails. Though it was a good opportunity for me to see the city my own way. On my way I bought a bottle of water without bubbles in one of these countless small shops. I had ask the cashier, if it was agua naturale, what means, that it is not carbonated. The owner told me, that it is agua naturale, but it was not. When I later opened it, one-third of the water was bubbling out of the bottle all over my arm. Though it was a new experience for me, that some Mexicans even lie for tourists for selling their items.
I walked further in the direction of the city centre, asking in pharmacies, if they sell Cuachalalate tea, because I was running out of my medicine for my stomach. The most did not know, what it is, but then I found a special pharmacy, which sold a lot of herb teas etc. When I asked for the tea, the pharmacist dit directly know, what I was talking about. Anyway even I had asked for the tea, she asked me, if I want the tea or the root. She even showed me both. I think the tea is easier to handle and told her, that I will have the tea. By the way even the tea is 100% Cuachalalate root, nothing else added. A box with 30 teabags was for 60 MXN (2.70 EUR). It is a way cheaper, than my medicine has been – and I think even healthier. Happy, to have found the tea, which not only does not harm the kidneys, the bile and the immunity system, it also helps them to recover, I hope I will soon feel even better, than I do now.
Reaching the city centre, I saw a nice t-shirt. I had lost one, though I needed another one in any case. When I left the shop, I had bought two, both in a pink colour 😊. On the way to the cathedral I bought an agua de Horchata and minutes later I enjoyed the sun on the plaza in front of the cathedral. A “flying” seller sold fried banana strips. I bought a small bag of him. Those together were my lunch. By the heat I did not need more and it was delicious. Meanwhile I was sitting there, I observed the surroundings. Some women in different ages (I think it was a mother and her children and maybe also grandchildren) did feed the pigeons. There came so many, it was like on the Plaza de Marco in Venezia. I have not seen so many at the same time before in Mexico. After a while I took photos of the place and the cathedral. I went inside as well. It was very different to the cathedrals I have seen before and very small for a cathedral.
Short time afterwards I went to see more of the town, though I was to the old town, the Malecón and last but not least to Playa Norte. The reason for visiting the places, I have seen before, one more time was, that I finally could take photographs. At the Malecón I found a tourist information and took some leaflets. I actually could not pick them myself. An assistant, who only spoke Spanish, did hand them out to me. Coming from a for me unknown side to the Playa Norte, I saw interesting trees, which I had not seen before. One kind of them were the Cocos palms. They grow here beside the streets. It is amazing!
The other trees were the “Uva del Mar” (Grapes of the sea). I checked them up on the Internet. They are edible, but have a strong, kind of bitter taste like a grapefruit. By the way, my host dit tell me the name of it, when I showed her the picture.
I had walked far away from the street, where I easily could reach my hosts home, when she sent me a message, asking when I will have dinner. When I finally was back at her home, she had a customer, but the meal (rice and minced beef with vegetables) was waiting for me on the stove. Irene works with her customers in the room I sleep and I feel the smell of the acrylic nails (I think it is the glue, which smells) very strong. When I told Irene, she cared about to open the window. This evening we went to bed earlier – already around 11pm.
17th April 2018
I was up around 8am. Even this day it was only possible to take a cold shower. – Irene makes also the dishes with cold water. The house is always locked, though Irene had to let me out. Unfortunately I had to wake her up (her first customer’s appointment for the day was at 11am). I walked downtown to the central bus station, which is in another part of the city centre as I had been the day before. Close to it I bought avena (that oatmeal I liked to have in the North of Mexico), but what I got was very different. It was cold and the oats not soft.
The day before I had got a leaflet about Palizada, a “pueblo magico”. I was interested to go there. Unfortunately I dit neither check on the Internet, where the village is situated nor check the bus schedules. I was around 10am at the bus station. The next and only bus for the day was at 2pm, though I changed my mind. I walked instead to the “Museo Victoriano Nieves” (the museum of the city). I paid the general fee of 11.50 MXN. I did not ask for the reduced fee. I paid 12 MXN and actually got change. The museum was not big and did not have a lot of items. It seemed, it was mostly for children, but there were also a lot of text about the history and even in English! After a while I have got tired of all the facts and did not read so much anymore. By the way, they had different departments. Some of them were “The City”, “The Pirates” and “The Petroleum Industry”. The pirates have really been a big problem for the town. Regarding the petroleum industry, I feel strange. They are writing about the co-existence of tourism and that industry and state, that it matches well. Actually I have not seen so much of that industry, but I think, without it, there would be more tourists coming. On the other hand side, the highest taxes are probably coming from the petroleum industry.
From the museum I walked back to Irene’s home the shortest way, but I was hungry and did look for something else to eat than tacos or elotes. I found a restaurant serving the “dish of the day”. It looked clean and there were to main meals to choose about. When I entered, one of the waiters spoke to me in English, which surprised me. I did not expect that anymore. I also was shown the chicken and the “beef” dish (the beef was actually pork). I was talking all the time in Spanish with her, but she continued in English. The best was the soup. When I was served it, I saw, it was pumpkin soup. I have not had that before in Mexico and it was tasty.
The pumpkin cream soup was delicious:
For the main meal I chose the pork dish, because I had eaten chicken too often. I forgot to ask if it was hot spicy. It was a little spicy, but not too much for me. There was a jelly dessert as well. From the water to choose, I chose the “agua de Horchata”, even it is sweet. It was served in a bottle with a straw. Later I saw, that another customer also chose “agua de Horchata” to the meal. Though my choice was not so strange. When I had left the restaurant I also saw a sign, which dishes were the main meal.
I also got a menu, when they saw, that I took a photo of the menu at the wall. By the way, it seemed to be a family run restaurant. Grandma the cook, the mother as the cashier and a son the waiter, but I am not sure about the waiter. The dish was for 85 MXN and it was really worth it. I also left 10 MXN additional as a tip.
When I came back to Irene, I asked her for scissors. I already wrote about the dress, which I bought too small in El Tajin. I have got the idea to have the sides open and wear it like a tunica to my hot pants. For that I had to shorten the dress. I also needed to fold and stitch the sides. Irene did not only give me the scissors, she also took out her sewing machine and did make all the work needed. Furthermore I did make my laundry at her house this day (with her washing machine). When I put my laundry on the cloth lines, Irene was going to sleep again. By the way she does not like the warm weather at all.
She was awake again for preparing dinner. It was a light meal again. I had a Mexican omelet and Irene as well as her boyfriend had hotcakes. Irene had asked me before, what I prefer. Soon after the meal we walked to the Playa Norte – the beautiful beach. We did take a long walk, but not far from the start there was a stall selling “Marquesitas” (there were more of them). A Marquesitas is a kind of crepes – very thin and very crispy. It will be filled with your choice like cheese or chocolate. There are many other choices. Irene took one with cheese, I took one with chocolate. Afterwards I thought Irene made the better choice, because these Marquesitas are served warm. Irene paid for both of us, even I tried to buy mine.
As I wrote before, we walked most of that part at the playa, which is nicely prepared for citizens and tourists. We did not walk the beach itself. We passed the sport grounds and ended up at the amazing sandcastle. Unfortunately I did not have my phone with me, though I could not take a photo. Irene’s was low on battery, though she did not take any either. At this point, Irene told me, that her muscles hurt. She is not used to make long walks. I was fine (my muscles did not even hurt, when I was hiking in Urique, even I do not hike so often any more, but I am keen in walking). Halfway back Robby met us by car and took us home. Well there, Irene cooked another meal for Robby, she had a coffee and I a tea. We sat in her “garden” (the ground is all cemented, but she has flowers in big and small pots to make it look like a garden). In here leisure time Irene works with the flowers and flower pots, paint her furniture or did crochets. Because of the painting I asked her, for how long she is living in this rented house and she answered me: “For five weeks”. Though I was more thankful, that she opened her home for me. She had even told me, that she lived in the same area before, but in a very big house. I did not asked her for the reason, why she moved. I think, that is her privacy. Before going to bed I did take down my laundry, it was already dry.
18th April 2018
This morning I am up at 8am, because Irene has an appointment with a customer at 10am. I had a coffee at 9am. Irene came soon and made hotcakes for us. She told me, that the customer had cancelled. My plan was to go to the “Island de Aguada” to see dolphins. Though I asked Irene, if there is a collective bus for it. Her answer was, that there is from the Malecón, but for to see dolphins I have to attend a tour for around 1,000 MXN. On the map I have got the impression and even by what is written about it for tourists, that it is possible to see dolphins from the beach. I have seen dolphins outside New Zealand. Even I would like to see more of them, I have to be careful with my money, therefore I did not go to that island.
We were enjoying each other this day instead. Most of the day we were in the garden. Part of the time, Irene made some more painting. I updated my blog and came quite far. The paint dried very fast, though before the next meal I was happy to help Irene to put back the doors to the upper part of the cupboard. I actually only hold the doors in the right positions. The meal for the day was chicken breast – these thin cut, like I have seen at Archie’s and Rosi’s home and one always get served in restaurants, when ordering chicken breast. As side dishes she served quesadillas and salad. Robby joint us during the meal. Irene took a siesta after the meal, Robby was going to work. He is an English teacher as well.
Irene did not sleep for very long this day. Soon she took her crochet craft out again. She makes very nice crafts. I continued with my blog. Mosquitoes were irritating me, though I used my “jungle oil” and got rid of them. Soon it was time for dinner. Irene told me, she had invited friends for the evening, she knows from CS. She asked me, if 10pm would be too late for them to come. I told her, for me, they are welcome. At the end, one of them could not come at all and two others came even later than 10pm. One of them was between 35 and 40 years old and a freelancer in human resources. He tries to explain for companies that happier employees work better and how to satisfy employees. The other one was younger (25 to 30 years old). He is working as a clown. He has been leaving in Mexico City and other places. He even worked in Guatemala and El Salvador. I did not understand his pronunciation at the beginning, but it became better, after I had told him. The elder one did sing for us. It was heavy music, but he had the voice for it. Unfortunately I felt, that he made a fool of me, because I am not so good in Spanish yet. Both guys left after midnight.
19th April 2018
I was up early and made my coffee at 8pm. Irene came soon and made hotcakes for me. Both Irene and Robby did bring me to the bus. Robby was driving. They waited until I had bought the bus ticket and meanwhile even cared about my big backpack. When we took good-bye and hugged each other I tried to give Irene 500 MXN. I had got the feeling, that she was short on money, but she declined and told me, that she has enough money. Anyway I have got of her an extra wonderful warm hug for the offer.
For more photos of Ciudad del Carmen click here.
Unfortunately I had chosen the next bus, an ATS. I did not know, what the difference was, which made it cheaper. I had to take a seat in an outside area, because this bus was going from the front of the bus station. The bus arrived early, but I was not allowed to enter, though I did not see in time, that the bus did not have a bathroom. The departure time for the bus was 11:30 am. The ride to my next destination for three or four hours, though I bought a sandwich and ate it, while I was waitIng for entering the bus. When it finally was time, the helper for the luggage was not there, therefore I tried to manage it by my own. The utensils were laying in the bus compartment. When I started with it, the helper finally arrived. He wrote as usual a shortening of my destination on the sign for my luggage, which was the only one in the compartment. This was a kind of commuter bus. Most people did not go so far as I did. The bus was not fully occupied. When I entered, another woman sat on my seat. She moved, but told me, that her seat is occupied of another person. She was sitting on the side of me for a long while. When the row (2 seats) behind me got empty, did she move there. By the way, she was singing most of the time. She sang after the radio, but not very high. Maybe it was only I, who heart it. Though we both had lots of space and I put my legs (not my shoes) on the other seat. It was very comfortable 😉. I even fell asleep for a while. I was happy, that I made it all the way without a bathroom. I awoke, when it started raining. We were in Champotón, not far away from my destination. I also bought a cocos ice cream of an ambulant seller, who entered the bus with many others at this bus station. They left before the bus was going further. Yes, this is very common here in Mexico. From Champotón I could see beautiful hills as well as the seaside. Before this city it had been flat and wetland.
Arriving in Campeche, my destination for this day, it was raining cats and dogs. I did not care so much. I was dry in the bus station and my first thing to do was to find a bathroom. There were two bathrooms for disabled people (one for men, one for women) on the first floor. On the second floor were bathrooms for “plus”-passengers (like first class). The stairs up there were steep, neither an elevator nor an escalator to come upwards. In addition to that, I would not come through the gate with my backpacks. Since I bought that little bigger one, I can’t force those gates anymore. I felt disabled and went to the bathroom for disabled people. More women in my age and my condition, that means without wheels and walking stick, were queueing there. After using that bathroom I bought something to eat. The name was Volovan. It was like a Copenhagener, but with different, not sweet, fillings like ham and cheese, champions and more. By the fillings it became more fat, though I won’t buy this again.
Done all this, the heavy rain was still ongoing. Therefore I queued for a taxi. Unfortunately there were not only a few taxis, but they did not care about the line either, even the taxi stand was well organised. Two girls offered me to share their taxi, when they finally got one, but I had too much luggage. This is one of the things I am wondering about in Mexico: Most of the taxis cannot transport more than one passenger and a lot of luggage. If you are four people in the taxi and all have only one normal sized suitcase or backpack, it does not fit. Maybe it will fit with three and everyone has a carry-on bag for flights. Some taxis has no really trunk at all, though you can only be one, for the luggage has to be placed on the backseat.
Finally the rain did end, but I was still waiting for a taxi and many others as well. For my gps, it should be a half hours walk to the hostel, though I did it. In between it started raining again. When I had put on my big rain cape and got it over the backpack on my back it stopped again. I took it off again. By the way rain clothes seems not to be common here. The problem was the flooding. Many streets were flooded, especially the junctions, but also elsewhere in the streets. My pants got wet, therefore I took off the lowest part of it. They look like Capri paints now, but are not so sexy 😉.
I had booked this hostel by booking.com again. It had got great reviews, but when I entered, I could not share them. The area, where it is situated is dirty with abandoned houses directly close to it. It is not a street I would walk by night. The house itself should have been refurbished years ago. The paint on the walls is falling off. I think there is humidity behind the paint. The kitchen is just a stove, a freezer box and a table. Ok, there is a sink, but it is very small and full with locks (from the owner(?)). I cannot see a water supply for the sink either. Also it is not looking really clean. There are two showers, only one is for warm showers, though there is a long queue in the morning! The shower head seems to be of copper and is covered with verdigris! The hosts are kind – I also got free coffee in the morning, because I booked for so many nights, but that is not enough for choosing that hostel one more time. In addition to that, the host put the AC on after 8pm or maybe later. The other time of the day only a fan under the ceiling is used and the room really hot. I had booked a bed in the room for females only, but got a bed in the mixed room, even the other room was not occupied at all. When I told the host, that I had booked a room for females only, she showed me the other room and told me, it is Ok for me to move. I decided to stay in the mixed room, because the other room was worse. Furthermore it has been problems with small ants and I also found a (dead) bug in my bed one morning. The ants I first saw in the bathroom – only a few running on the walls, but when I had bought bread and peanuts I had hundreds of them showing up. Though I had to throw away all of it.
I walked the coast including the Malecón (pier) this day. Between 7pm and 8pm I was on my way to the historic city centre, but did not come so far. There is a place not for from the “Puerto de Mar”, where life music was played open air. People were dancing to the music. Unfortunately it started raining, though the musicians had to save their instruments.
I was very hungry now and looked for something to eat. There is a street straight ahead from the “Puerto del Mar” with lots of restaurants, but all expensive – some of them are very expensive. I ended up in the Beer Box. It was still raining. I ordered a Guacamole and a light beer. When I was chosing the beverage, an English-speaking waiter thought he needed to help me and read the beverage menu for me, though I told him, that it would be easier for me to decided, if I could read it by myself. He did not look happy. Anyway this evening the beer was for the half price.
Back at the hostel I paid for my room, because I have not had enough with cash, when I checked in. Finally in the room, there were four youngsters there as well. One was from the French-speaking part of Switzerland, the other one from France. The two girls came from Israel. This young travellers had temporarily met somewhere and was now travelling together. It was late, when we switched off the light.
20th April 2018
I was awake at 8am, but most of the young travellers were still sleeping. When I left the hostel at 9:30am all of them were still in bed. I was on my way to an Oxxo to get a kind of breakfast, but run into a coffee shop. They announced waffles with different toppings. That sounded great for me. I ordered a waffle with fried plátanos and cream. When the waffle was served, I was so disappointed, because it had no real colour. It seemed, it had not been long enough in the waffle maker. Maybe that is the Mexican or American way, but for me this, together with bad service, was the reason, that I for the first time in Mexico did not give a tip. I continued downtown, bought a bottle of water at an Oxxo and a little later an “agua de horchata” in the kiosk/restaurant on the place close to the cathedral, the “Parque Principal”. The tables were not really fitting the chairs, by trying to come closer to the table, I run my legs into the table. Some of the agua de horchate came on the table. The waiter did look at me, like this had never happened someone else before.
I tried to walk all the way to the “Fuerta de San José el Alto”, but the heat made it difficult, though I stopped a taxi for the last third of the distance. By the way, here in Campeche the pedestrians way are mostly horrible – up and down, high steps and small; light poles take their space, too. It is really hard to use them and I think, it is one of the reasons why Mexican parents do not use prams and buggies. During the drive I became happier and happier, that I had chosen to take the taxi, because the fort is on a very hill and the road up to the hill very steep. The taxi was for 35 MXN only, because I already had walked quite a bit out off the city centre.
At the fort I had to pay 45 MXN, like all visitors without that special card for elderly or disabled people. The fort had six rooms. It was possible to go onto the roof top as well. Even I read most of it, it was soon done. Unfortunately there was only one room out of the six, which had information about the Maya people. Walking down the hill was much easier, of course, though I dit. I walked all the way down to the seaside. It does not smell good here, probably by the Mangrove swamp (which is protected). I found the restaurants at the pier. They had a few guests, but by the prices I think they do not need a lot of customers.
When walking back to the Puerto de Mar, I have seen a galeria. One of the shops was “C&A”. I know that one from Germany, but had not expected it in Mexico. I actually walked all the way back to the Puerto de Mar. Close to it, I bought an artisan ice cream, which had an artificial price. On the same place like the day before, the music played this evening again, but this time without any rain. I enjoyed to see people dancing salsa. What I was surprised about, was the fact, that some people were wearing gold jewelery. Though this town must be a really save one. This impression I also have got of the police, because driving around in their cars, there was none on the open space in the back. I did not see anyone with a machine gun either. It was the opposite: There were big posters in town, that the police cares about the people and in real, once I was crossing a street a police officer gave me a smile. There were also small electric cars crossing the historic city with only one police officer.
My dinner was “papas especiales” (potatoes with sausage and cheese), which I finally had at a street stall, even selling Mexican hotdogs. It was already around 9pm. My GPS told me then, I should walk the Street no 16 (Calle 16), but that one was very dark, though I took a taxi back to the hostel this evening as well. From the place, where I was, it was only for 30 MXN.
Back at the hostel, the two guys and two girls I wrote about before, were still there. That surprised me a little, because they had told me the evening before, that they will go further this day. In addition to that, they were not happy. It seemed, that the girls had expected more of the boys. I did not care about them and was going to bed.
21st April 2018
As usual I bought a bottle of water after I left the hostel around 9am. I have already had a cup of coffee. I actually had asked for milk. The owner filled a lot of milk and would fill more, but I told her, it is enough (it was already too much). I was surprised again, that she did fill the cup with milk and did not give some milk to me to decide, how much I would like to take. She also got angry with her brother (?) and told him, that coffee with milk should not be for free. They speak Spanish only and I think, she thought, I did not understand her. It is that, what people only speaking one language, often not recognise: Speaking a foreign language is much harder than understanding it.
With the bottled water I walked further to find that coffee shop again, offering organic breakfast. Crossing the nearby park I have seen a group of women on an open stage, training a dance.
The breakfast comes with fruit and/or vegetables and fair trade coffee for 60 MXN I had read the day before. Unfortunately I walked first the wrong street, but found it after a while. It was already time for a brunch, but I was happy, that the breakfast was still served. There were four different choices. I do not remember all of them, but all had the same price. I ordered a breakfast with a healthy sandwich with avocado and more.
Later I bought a drink yogurt, because I still felt hungry, but was more interested in something to drink but eat. I was now on my way to another fort. It is in the opposite direction as I have been the day before. It is named “Fuerte de San Miguel” and I have been told at the tourist information, that it takes twenty minutes by car to go there. I tried walking anyway. Even this fort is on a hill, but the road and pedestrians way is in serpentines, though I made it all the way by walking, even in the heat. This fort had an admission fee of 55 MXN. Well paid the fee I asked the assistant for a chair. I needed a short rest for being able to walk the museum. There were no other chairs than for the assistant and in some rooms for the guards. The assistant not only offered me his chair, but also his fan. After 5 to 10 minutes I started the visit of the fort and here were lots of items of and explanations about the Mayas. I also entered the roof, where one still can see canons for defence. There were also a lot of birds, I guess they were cormorants.
On my way back to the hostel, which was easier, of course, I bought a cold drink chocolate at the same shop, where I had bought the yogurt. There was a little park with shade not far away, where I sat down for a little while. A young man started talking with me. We had met before – in the city center. He had asked me that time, where I come from. This time he told me, his name is Jorge Luís and that he comes from Honduras, working here. He also told me, that he is married and has two children as well as his wife and children would be in Spain. When I told him, that it is my plan to see Honduras as well, he recommended me to go to the turist areas only and that I have to see Copan, even a Maya area. He even offered to accompany me to Edzna, the historic site I will visit the upcoming day. He told me, he knows where the bus to Edzna is going from. He was one of the few without a cellphone and asked me, if he may use mine calling his friend in Campeche. I agreed. I heard, that he told his friend, he had only 5 MXN left. Some minutes later his friend arrived by car picking us up, though I have got a ride downtown, but the friend did not look happy at all, when he picked us up.
Downtown again I bought postcards with views. They were for only 8 MXN each. I never have got postcards in Mexico for such a low price! The shop also had postcards from Edzna, but I thought it is not fair to by them in town, especially because I have not been there yet. This day I actually ate at a Burger King. My meal with chicken nuggets was for 49 MXN. There was an elderly man, looking very poor, at the desk, counting all his coins, but they were not enough for a meal. Though I asked him, how much more he needs and gave him the 10 MXN. Surprisingly he did not get a meal anyway, but his money changed to a 50 MXN-note. He left with his money. If I will come in such a situation again, I will order the meal for him instead.
By couch surfing I had an appointment with another user in the evening, but he never showed up. He sent me a message, 30 min. after the agreed time, that he is on a party in the neighboring commune. Though I went back to the hostel. It was already dark, but I had found out the uplifted street I could use. It was aside of the little park as well, where I have seen the female dancers. In the dark there are still Mexicans out there, playing ball etc. Though it is a really save way to the hostel and I do not need to take a taxi. There is also a little shop at the end of the park, where I bought something to eat for breakfast. From there it is only around 100 m left to the hostel. Well there I tried to update my blog. Unfortunately there was a problem with the Internet. I was happy, that I could get a blog post online, telling about that problem.
22nd April 2018
I was already up at 7am, anyway the bathroom was occupied, though I had the breakfast before the shower. Finally I left at 8:30am. Jorge Luis, the guy from Honduras had not shown up yet, even he had told me, he will meet me at the hostel at 8am. I tried to rent a car, but this day only cars for around 1,000 MXN were available. Therefore I went to the area, where the taxi buses (combis) are going. I asked a driver close to the mercado and he explained, where I have to go to catch a bus for Edzna. I found them after his description. They were filling a bus, when I came and I was in. These buses go not only to the Maya site. In the contrary, they also stop at the Maya site, but on many more places as well as they go further to the village of Edzna. I did not know that, when I entered. Though I nearly missed to go off in time, but Mexicans are fantastic. They asked the driver to stop one more time – he had already stopped for a man, who was leaving here. The bus ride was for around 50 minutes and the fee was 40 MXN.
The Maya site in Edzna is not so touristic like many other Mayan sites. I was also lucky that I made this trip on a Sunday, because there was free entrance this day – even for foreigners. There were no stalls, no kiosks, no restaurant. As usual I had water and even something to eat with me. The site was very interesting, off and on I could listen to a guide, who explained for a group. The groups came with these guides. I thought I read, that it was not allowed to use the stairs of the Mayan buildings, but the guides told their groups to do so. I actually asked one guide, if I may do that and he told me, it is allowed. There are several buildings around the “Great Acropolis”. This site is especially important for the main temple, which is in an unusual good condition. There is also a sign for the “Hecheria”, but there is not much to see. While I took a rest in a shadow of a tree, I had a short conversation with other visitors. I think, I was the only solo traveller this day. By the way, there were mostly people in my age visiting this site, but even families with small children and pairs in their thirties. Even insects liked the area, mostly bees, but also others. I was dressed in my yellow t-shirt and had them all the time around me, even I had used my “jungle oil”. Before leaving I was interested in to buy some postcards with views, but the same cards, which was for 8 MXN in Campeche, they sold here for 20 MXN and the cashier seemed to be proud of it.
It says, it is easier to go to the Maya site of Edzna than coming further from there. I thought about to hitchhike back to Campeche, but before I could hold out my thumb, a couple in their thirties, just leaving by car, asked me, if I want a hitch. Happily I entered the car. By the way, the man, who came with the same combi with me, where standing beside the road, trying to get a hitch, but the couple did not stop for him as well. The young woman was so far only used to drive in the town and now practicing driving at the countryside. They also planned to visit a Hacienda. I had nothing other planned for the day and was thankful for the offer. Unfortunately the Hacienda was closed, when we arrived there. Anyway I could see the buildings from the outside. They seemed to be built in different periods. One was a total ruin, another one was still in a better chick, but even no longer in use and partly destroyed. The newest building was used as a restaurant. The name of the Hacienda is Uayamon.
Back in Campeche the couple let me out at the Malecón. I have got the impression, that they thought to visit a restaurant close to that place. I continued downtown, had an agua de horchata, bought postcards of Edzna and walked to the Maya museum, close to the Puerta de Mar. I had tried to visit it earlier, but that was not possible for a new installation being made. I had to pay 45 MXN for admission. I told them, that it was for free in Edzna, even for foreigners. The cashier told me, that is only for foreigners, who live in Mexico, not for tourists. I have never heard that explanation before in Mexico! It is not written somewhere either.
Before I went back to the hostel I was to a restaurant close by the museum. I had two “tamales” (they are usual small) and a papaya/melon smoothie. That was for 105 MXN. At the restaurant nearby you could not get a meal – without the drink – for less than 150 MXN. I could not eat both tamales and had the other one in a doggy bag home. Also this time I was walking home.
23rd April 2018
I awoke again at 7am, but had the coffee (and the tamale from the evening before) first around 9am, because I checked my photos and other files on my smartphone. Unfortunately I thought I can delete all downloaded files, even my music, because I had saved them in other maps. The songs were all totally deleted, when I deleted the downloads. I was very sad about it, but worse things could have happened. Furthermore I looked for my second lock – the one I use for the smaller backpack. I could not find it.
On my way out with my laundry to a wash saloon, I bought a bottle of water. Soon I recognised, that I had forgotten my textile hat and it was very hot this day as usual. Though I went back to the hostel, picking up that hat, when I had left my laundry. Even here I could not wash myself. This time it was cheaper than last time, even it weighted more. For around 3 kg I had to pay 36 MXN only. The owner asked for a direct payment. I did not have enough with change and she could not change a 500 MXN-note. I paid 30 MXN, which she wrote on the receipt and also, that there was 6 MXN still to pay.
I walked to a Soriana supermarket, because I try to buy local. The reason for walking all the way to the Soriana was, that I needed tissues again. I only can get them in real supermarkets. This time I was disappointed. This supermarket only had Kleenex facial tissues. They only have two layers and therefore they are not strong enough. They also come only in boxes of 90 tissues, what is not possible to put in the pocket of my pants. Anyway I had to buy a box.
I was back at the wash saloon five minutes before three and the working woman just folded my clothes. There were still all my clothes I left, even the small lower parts of my pants. I paid the missing 6 MXN and went back to the hostel. There I listened to Mexican music, when I was working with my files. Counting my peso notes I felt, that those got wet, which I put in my back pockets, because I am sweating so much. Therefore I put them now in the same pocket like my passport – even I think it is not the best choice.
In the evening I walked to a Chedraui supermarket, which also is a Mexican one. Their I found the tissues I like in 6 X 10-packs. For dinner I had a queso fundido with champions and a papaya malteada (milkshake). When I ordered the queso fundido the first waiter told me, I could get that or champions. Fortunately another waiter came and explained for the first waiter, that it is meant like I ordered it. This restaurant was one of the cheaper restaurants at this street. Anyway the meal was for 100 MXN and the drink for 45 MXN. I walked home that night, using Calle 10.
24th April 2018
This morning I awoke around 7am, tog my medicine and felt asleep again. I dreamed about a big insect, but there were only lots of very small ants in a paper bag with sweet bread and in my backpack. I had put a bag with salted peanuts in there, which I had opened, but I had closed it by turning the empty part of the bag over the rest. It was not closed enough and it seemed, the ants did like the peanuts more than I. This peanuts had citric acid and I did not like the taste. Unfortunately it was only written in very small letters as a part of the ingredients, but it tasted strong. Furthermore I found a bug in my bed. I was happy, it was a dead one, but maybe it was alive, when I dreamed about that insect.
I had yogurt for breakfast, which I had bought the day before as well as cookies in a sealed package. I made my files before I was leaving the hostel for a late lunch. There is a restaurant not far away from the hostel. Its name is: Los Abuelos (the grandfathers). It also is also recommended by the hostel. The prices are not very low, but I found a meal for 60 MXN plus the bottled water, which was for 10 MXN. For the price I have got Quesadillas with egg and a starter, which were a kind of rolls. They were hard, but I tried to eat them with the cutlery I had been served as well. The two Quesadillas were parted in halves and also served with cutlery – clean one, but I decided to eat them with my hands only, like tortillas and tacos, because they are filled tortillas.
I went downtown again, but another way, because I was looking for a hair dresser. Usually there are lots of hair dressers, but not in Campeche. I found one open, which did not look the way I want to go there, the next one was “Salon Belleza” and really downtown. I asked for the price. It was 150 MXN, I thought it was a little high, because the first time I had been at a hair dresser in Mexico (in La Paz) I paid 80 MXN and in Villahermosa I could have got my hair cut for 20 MXN only. I thought, the hair dresser close to my hostel will not be so expensive. I would have been there already, but it opens first in the evening. Though I was to the “Chocolateria de la Mora”. I tried to get a tiramísu, but they had run out of it, though I asked for “cremitas”, but they had run out of them, too. Therefore I only took a cup of “chocolate coffee”. Unfortunately I became disappointed. This drink tasted very much chocolate and I could not taste the coffee. This cup was for 50 MXN, an expensive experience.
This day I also finally bought a hand fan:
If I understand it right, it is a model from the Mayas. I already have the “usual” kind at home, but they break easily, though I tried with this model now. It is not so easy to put in the backpack, but I can fold it. Afterwards I have to fold it back, though it becomes plain again.
Now it was time for the hairdresser. She did not have such a photo book with hair dresses as it is usual. I tried to explain to her, how I would like my hair, but she did neither really understand, nor had she a feeling for, what is nice looking. Now it looks like a child had cut my hair or if I had cut it myself. I took out a 200 peso note of my pants and asked her for the price. She told me 200 pesos was just the price. I tried to get it reduced by telling her, that I downtown in that fancy salon only had to pay 150 MXN. I also explained to her, that it is not fair to take more of a turist, but a Mexican. She did not lower the price. I think she did not have change. Anyway I learned, that I also at the hair dresser have to ask for the price, before the hair dresser is cutting my hair.
I walked back downtown again to see and listen to the “Martens de Tradicion y Folklore” (Tuesday of tradition and folklore) with the “Gran Ballet Folklórico Estatal” (Instituto Campeche). It started at 7pm and I arrived half an hour earlier and got a good place. The event was for free – even for strangers 😉. It lasted for one hour. There were two different dans groups and in between a small orchestra was playing some songs. They also had a vocalist. It was very interesting and a pleasure for both eyes and ears.
Here you can find a video of the dance of the first group.
On my way back to the hostel I bought another soft cake for breakfast, which I put in the fridge together with the yogurt, which already was there. I spent some time on twitter, though I heard about the attack in Toronto. I was in that moment thinking about Jane, my Canadian friend I met on Malta, though I emailed her in the hope she will answer me and I can tell you already, she did. She is fine, she has been at home during that attack. Finally I made my files before I was going to sleep.
25th April 2018
Another town, another train (ABBA), but actually there are no passenger trains here, though it is: Another town, another bus. I checked out off the hostel 10:30am and walked to the bus station for the bus company “SUR”. On my way I bought a bottle of “agua de horchata”. While walking further there were two or three men and a 10 to 12-year-old boy passing me. They looked like Mennonites for the clothes and had a very upright body. The boy looked at me like he could not believe, what he saw. At the SUR bus station are also ATS buses arriving and leaving. I bought a ticket to my next destination there and had to go by the ATS. Once decided to take a second class bus, I know how to handle it. I had asked as usual for a bus ticket for the next bus to my destination, but that was already in three (3) minutes, though I took the next one, which left half an hour later. Therefore I had good time to go to the bathroom.
It is more interesting to go by a second class bus, than by a premier class bus, because the second class buses do not use the highways, where toll has to be paid. These buses use the freeways and stop in every little village and sometimes also in between. This day I also could see men working on the freeway. The still do not have machines for lots of their work. This I also have seen in other circumstances as well as a lot of people (both men and women) carry things on their heads.
In Tenabo I became aware the first “rickshaws” – actually I do not know yet how they are called in Mexico. I have seen before similar “cars”, but it looked like the families are using it, but here there were so many and it was clear, that they were used like taxis. Maybe it is for, that the Yucatan peninsula is very flat. Anyway it should be a cheap alternative to taxis (the usual cars). Also the distances are shorter at the countryside. By the way there were many of them driven by motorbikes. In Pomuch I saw that the buildings on the pantheon had different colours like blue, pink and green. In Hecelchakan, a city with around 10,000 inhabitants, the panteon was called “Resido de Silencio”. There were also the small buses for up to 15 people, here called “combis” operating. Furthermore we came through Dzitbalche, Calkini and Becal. In Calkini “flying sellers” boarded and also left again in this town. They have a hard life, I think, no many people buy their snacks and drinks. In Becal I got the impression, that the places are so close to each other like the towns on Malta (the tiny island in Europe).
When we arrived in Halachó, we already had crossed the border to the state of Yucatan. Follow me further, please, by using the link for Yucatan.
For more photos of Campeche click here.
4th July 2018
We arrived in Escárcega around 6pm. During the trip I saw, that we were in the small city of Xpujil and also that Calakmul was not far away. I thought, that I should have known that, though I would stayed in this city instead. I was close to leave the bus and look for a bed, but at the end I did not. From Escárcega I had to go to Miguel Colorado, where I had booked a room with full board for 600 MXN. There was also stated, that there would be a shuttle to the hotel. I was never asked, if I needed the shuttle and there was not shuttle at the bus terminal either. I did not know, how far away that place was and also thought, that a “Collectivo” will go there. First I was told there is no Collectivo, later, that there is one to the junction to the village. A taxi driver told me, he will drive me there for 400 MXN, another one told me, he could make it for 250 MXN. Though I did not finish to look for a collectivo until I had found one. I had to pay 40 MXN and left at the respective junction. It was still around 9 km to the hotel. My idea: I try to hitchhike and I was lucky. A guy, born in Portugal, but with an excellent English, stopped. He told me then, that he had worked on the oil fields, is retired and has now a farm shortly before the village. At the farm (a very nice one of European precision) and, I think, USA style), his young wife took over and drove me to the place. She told me, that it is not a hotel, but cabanas and she was right.
I was welcomed of a couple, who did not give me the intention, they were professional. Anyway I was given the offer to choose a cabana, because they have no rooms. A little later I have got a chicken soup with pasta and potato for dinner with tortillas and two glas of Agua de Horchata. I was not happy in the meal, because of neither the kitchen did look really clean nor how the woman handled the food (fortunately I did not get sick). During the dinner I told them, that I only will stay for one night, because I will go to Calakmul the next day and think, that I cannot make it back to the place in the evening. They did ask me, if I won’t see the cenote (there is one three km away). I answered that I had been in Mexico before and set lots of cenotes, thoug I am not longer interested in them. They did not offer me a shuttle, but were afraid, I would not pay for the second night. Though I told them, that I do anyway – so are the rules. I also asked about the Internet. I was told, that I have to go to the shop and buy a card, with which I could get Internet. I checked my phone, because I already have a SIM-card for Internet – the one I topped up, but there was no receiving and Telcel is the company, which works, when all the other do not. Therefore I did not buy such a card. I was going to the cabana instead and prepared for the upcoming morning.
I asked for a glas of water and got a jug for my cabana. I also got a “fish” against the mosquitos. In addition to that I asked for breakfast at 7am the upcoming morning. I was asked, what I wish for breakfast (it should be á la carte, but there was no menu. Though I asked for eggs, bread and more. The husband had told me, that he drive the camino (light truck) 8 o’clock in the morning to Escárcega, though I was keen to take that one as well. I was lucky, that I was already in the cabana, when it started raining. From a church next door, music was very lood, but not nice at all like the church music in Aguacate, Belize. Here they were singing “not good, but loudly”. I used the hammock for a while and also fell asleep in it, but awoke after a couple of hours. By the windows and door, which really got to close (I had my big backpack against ist for it did not open by itself) I heard voices like teenagers making a joke, but when I was looking for them, it was a family with teenage children renting a cabana.
5th July 2018
I was up early this day and ready five minutes to seven for breakfast. I have got fried egg and tortillas – no tomato, no bacon or similar in the eggs. I paid for my booked nights (756 MXN incl. taxes, but in real 757, because she had no change). A son of the pair (owners) were having breakfast as well. He spoke English with me, the couple could not. Therefore I asked him, if he also will go with the “camino” at 8 o’clock. He talked with his parents and told me then, that the ride to the junction would be for 80(!) MXN. From Escárcega to the junction it was longer than from the village to the junction, though I told the family in Spanish, that it is too much and that I will walk to the junction instead. I know, it would have taken me two hours, but I thought the price was absolutely to high. Actually they fixed a free ride for me and the woman did bring me to the car, which drove me to the junction. The collectivo from the junction was for 20 MXN only.
Well back in Escárcega I tried to find a collectivo to Xpujil. There was, but it could not be filled. It was only me at that time of the day. In this case it was a taxi for four, which would have driven as an collectivo because of the low amount of persons. When nobody were coming, I asked the driver, what it would cost for me if I would hire him for a whole day, because I would like to go to Calakmul. He told me 1400 MXN. I was thinking about it, but had some more questions. When nobody was asking for a collectivo for more than half an hour, he offered me to drive me for 200 MXN and added, with a full car, he would get 800. Though the price is 200 MXN if three more are attending. The collectivo price for 1 person – with a full car or collectivo bus, to Xpujil was 130 MXN, I was answered before on my question. At the end, he drove me for 400 to the entrance of the National reserve – Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, in which area one can find the Maya ruins. Well there I found out, that it was shorter than to Xpujil. He was not kind to give me a lower price, he did get paid for a full car anyway.
I paid the admission fee of 50 MXN for the park and asked, how I could come to the Maya ruins. The answer was by hitchhiking with other visitors or a rented car for 900 MXN. I tried to hitchhike, but the few cars, which arrived, were all full. I saw on the app maps.me, that there is a(n) (eco) hotel close by and thought, it may be easier to hitchhike without my luggage. Though I walked there (it was around 2 km away). Well at the hotel I asked for the price for one night for me and got the answer, that it will be 2700 MXN. Therefore I went back to the entrance again. There was a tour bus and I asked for attending the tour, I would pay for it, of course. Unfortunately it was a group and they could not take a person, not belonging to the group. Finally I asked for such a car and they ordered one for me. It was for 1000 MXN incl the admission fee for the car, but with a driver and it was only that way it worked. Taxis were not allowed to enter the park. My backpacks were also taken into the car, of course. The distance between the entrance of the park and the Maya ruins are 63 km, the road conditions are bad. Coming to the greater zone of the ruins, I had to pay a new admission fee of 68 MXN. After a drive of more than two hours we had reached the Maya ruins and I had to pay another entrance fee, this time it was for 70 MXN. I had around three hours for visiting the ruins, though I could catch a bus back to Escárcega.
There are lots of interesting ruins at this place. I was not able to see them all. The highest one I only saw a glimpse of, when I was going back by a tricycle, who also transported people. It was a worker of the park, who drove me back with it, because I had asked him for that, when I was running late. They usually do not take paid, but I was so happy for his service I did give him 20 MXN.
The bus to Escárcega was coming late, though I had more than an hour waiting time and also other people was waiting for it. The bus ticket was for 72 MXN only. Back in town between 6pm and 7pm I booked a hotel room for one night (for 600 MXN incl breakfast). The hotel had the name Yakunaah. It had very nice rooms and staff and it was no problem with my late booking. Unfortunately, when I tried to charge my smartphone, I did not find my charger. I did not use my smartphone anymore, thinking that I may need it the upcoming day. I was offered a dinner of the hotel and could choose of three different meals. The price for each was 90 MXN, a good price even for Mexico, especially that the beef I had chosen came with rice, salad, bread and pineapple water. I left a tip as usual.
6th July 2018
This morning I checked out early, because I had read the evening before, that buses to Palenque only go between 8 o’clock and 10:30am. I missed the 8 o’clock bus and saw now, that I unfortunately had read wrong the evening before. The next bus was at 10:30am, there was none in between. I bought my bus ticket by an ambulant seller, but with an ADO shirt. Looking at my ticket there was C Playa written on it and I first thought, I had not got the right ticket, but then I got explained, that the bus only is going to “Crucero (junction) Playa” and Playa actually had nothing to do with Playa del Carmen, which often is shortened just Playa.
About the ride to my new destination and the following days please click on Palenque.