Tabasco

Some days earlier than planned I entered the state of Tabasco depending on my friends in Tijuana, who asked if I was going to Comalcalco. My host had to pick up his brother and family at the airport in Villahermosa. Though he took me all the way to Cárdenas, which is a city crossed by the Mexican highway 180, which goes to Villahermosa. From Cárdenas I took the bus to the small town of Comalcalco. This town is known by its Mayan archeological site, which also was the reason why my friends asked me, if I won’t go there.

The Mayan site lies outside the town, of course. Though I had to take a taxi, especially for the heat, but also because of it already was early afternoon. I found a taxi some streets away in the direction to the Mayan site. There were a kind of taxi station. Therefore it was not allowed either to get into a taxi, there were a kind of boss, who had to agree to the choice, even I went to the car first in line. The ride was for 40 MXN, a new proof of, that tourists will be skinned. On the other hand I think the not really 2 EUR nearly cover the costs to start the car. It is just compared with other Mexican destinations I felt, it was a lot to pay for a short ride.

The admission fee for the site including the museum was 60 MXN. That is a usual fee for museums and around 2,70 EUR only. The site was amazing, especially because of the bricks, produced more than 1000 years ago. Interesting was also to read about the social structure of the Mayan.

 

Comalcalco Mayan Archeological Site

 

There were many buildings in this area: The Main Temples, the East and the West Temples. From the Main Temples there was a great view as well.

 

Comalcalco Mayan Archeological Site – View on Entrance to one of the Rooms

 

The museum was very informative. I spend a couple of hours here. Before I left the area I tried another kind of “ice cream”, called Paleta. It was frozen juice on a pin. I had a pineapple one, because they did not have mango. There were a few shops and combined snackbars (snackbar, where also souvenirs were sold). Unfortunately I did not find postcards.

 

Comalcalco Mayan Archeological Museum

 

More photos of the site you find by the link.

Outside the Mayan site and Museum was no taxi waiting, though I walked in the heat around one km to the next highway. There were buses I could see. Before the next bus was coming already a collective taxi stopped. I shared the seat in the back with two other passengers. The front seat was also occupied. The taxi was going to the taxi stand, I already wrote about. I had to pay 25 MXN this time (should not have been more than 10 MXN, I think).

Close to the taxi stand was also a supermarket. I was very hungry now, but for the heat I bought a drink yogurt, a bottle of mango juice and actually a “Milky way”. I found a place in the shade, where I could sit down and have my “picnic”. Afterwards I tried to find the bus station for the TRT-buses. There were lots of shops and stalls and some bus stops, but not the one I was looking for. I had already checked the ADO, but the buses from Comalcalco to Coatzacoalcos were only three a day. One in the early morning, one at 1pm and the last one at 10pm. There was no option for me and I was happy, that I was told, that I should take a TRT bus, which goes to the Central Bus Station in Cárdenas, Veracruz.

Finally I found the TRT bus station after asking people for a second time. The one before had told me wrong! There was a bus ready to leave and I was happy to get a seat. The ride was for 35 MXN. I arrived in Cárdenas around 6:30pm. – For the bus back to Coatzacoalcos and the rest of my stay at Mauricio’s home return by the following link to Veracruz (the last two paragraphs of the 7th April 2018).

 

10th April 2018

I am back in the state of Tabasco. I came by “chicken bus” from the North (see Veracruz and scroll down to the 10th April 2018). I was going by the same bus company further to Villahermosa, the capital of Tabasco. I was most interested in the archeological artefacts of the Olmec people, but also for the surroundings, where cacao plantations as well as waterfalls can be visited. I had got a place to crash on by a girl named Karla. I am aware of, that I am spoiled regarding to the places of my former hosts. Though when I arrived by taxi in the area where Karla was living I was chocked. The area looked for me like a slum, even it was real housing, but the colours were dirty, the area was not taken good car of and dirty. In addition to that, the taxi driver had not drove me all the way, where Karla was awaiting me, but a block earlier.

 

The House Where Karla Lives

 

Karla and I managed to found each other anyway. The next chock was awaiting me: The staircase was even more dirty. Karla shared an apartment with two more people. The living room was empty, but a fridge was standing on one wall, close to the kitchen. Karla’s room looked like going into a big wardrobe. Inside the room it was a little better, but there was no wardrobe. She had all her belongings, even the clothes on open shelfs. Anyway the bed was OK and she also had an extra bed. The AC was the best of all. One glance into the kitchen told me, that I will not use it. The door to the bathroom was always open, when nobody used it, because the lock was not working properly.

When we came to Karla’s room, a girlfriend was there, making her homework. I did not really understand, if she made her homework at Karla’s, because she needed Karla’s laptop or for help with the subject. Anyway the girlfriend did not stay for a long time, but was interested in my story. She did not speak English, but Karla is good in it. When the girls was going out, I send a message to my friend in Tijuana, telling him, that I arrived in Villahermosa. He did not answer me. Karla was back soon, but after a short while, she was leaving for the university, where she studies the German language. When she had left, I was out as well.

 

Statue, Seen on the Way Back to Karla’s

 

I was looking for a restaurant. I also tried to get a first impression of the city, but came not so far. I did not realise, that they was a shopping centre close to Karla’s home. I walked further. I have seen a restaurant on the other side of the street, but could not cross. When there finally was a high pedestrian’s bridge over the road, I thought I will find another place to cross. I was not sure either, that the restaurant is open. I continued to a place, where I could cross the road without using a bridge. Not far away I passed a restaurant announcing, that they sell “castillos”. Unfortunately they were just closing down. I went back and passed that first restaurant, which announced that they have Tapas and more. It was open, even I first thought, it was not. Just when I was on my way to go further, a waiter opened another door. The restaurant looked a little expensive and it really was. Unfortunately the service did not fit the price. For details, please read “Not recommended.” When I came back was Karla just leaving for her night bus, but it was still time enough to introduce me for another girlfriend. Even she was interested in my story and asked for a photo with me. The girls then hurried away and I made my files as well as I wrote a blog post before I prepared for sleeping.

 

Mango Tree With Mango

 

Karla is a really nice person. Her room was clean. She let me stay there even she was going to her parents the same night. Anyway I did not stay more than a night, even I had asked for four. The reason for it, was the horror night. When I was in the bathroom around 10pm, I had company of a family of cockroaches. The biggest one was 1 1/2 the size I have seen them on Malta. I was out of the bathroom as soon as possible and closed the door in the hope, they would stay there. I messaged Karla, if she had spray against the cockroaches. Unfortunately she had not, but told me, that it is the only negative in the apartment even she told me before, that they do not have hot water for the shower.

I was afraid, that these unpleasant company will find their way into Karla’s room. Though I slept with the light on – just for a better feeling. Next time I had to go to the bathroom, the door was open and I could not see any cockroaches. That made me anymore afraid of, that they had spread into other rooms.

 

11th April 2018

In the early morning I checked for cheap hostels or hotels on the Internet, than I packed my backpacks, checking for these insects. Before I finally left the house I messaged my friends about the cockroaches. My friend in Tijuana sent my another phone number for his mother. Juan answered me, that cockroaches are nasty and that I took the right decision to look for a room at a hotel. In a very close by Oxxo I had my breakfast. Than I talked with Archi’s mother, but she does not really live in Villahermosa, but in Tecotutilla between Villahermosa and Comalcalco.

I had checked at booking.com, but I did not book by the site, in the hope, I could get the room cheaper. First I walked with my backpacks nearly an hour to a B&B, because of the included breakfast, but nobody opened there. Though I walked around an hour more with my backpacks. This time downtown. It was +31°C, but felt almost like +35°C and was very humid. It was like one of the hottest days, I have experienced on Malta.

 

Crossing the River

 

There were rooms left in the hotel “La Paz”, but it was a little more expensive than on booking.com. I paid 190 MXN/night (88 SEK resp. 8.50 EUR), what is really cheap. The rooms are simple, no extras, but clean. They clean here everyday with clean towels and soap, but no shampoo. If necessary, they also change the bed sheets. I chose a room with fan only, with AC it should have been a little more expensive.

I took a rest of two or three hours, before I took my laundry and left it to a washing shop. I could not find any place in Villahermosa, where I could make my laundry by myself. The fee for the washing incl. drying was only 45 MXN. It had started raining, though I wore my rain jacket. That made me more strange, than I already am. I have got the question, if I was cold, when I was on my way to look for another dress to sleep in.

When I well had found a cool dress, which fortunately also was in my size I walked further to buy shampoo for the body as well as my hair. My hosts had offered me so far respectively the hotels have had, but this hotel only offered a little bit of soap. It was hard to find smaller boxes of shampoo, but finally I decided to take the smallest I could find (250ml). I also bought a cap this day. On the way home I ate at a restaurant with quite low prices. I finally tried the Costillas. They were for 40 MXN and the bottled water for 8 MXN only. The costillas  (spareribs) had also an unusual cutting, but there was some meat on them, though I was full after the dinner.

It became dark meanwhile I was walking back to the hotel. It was very warm in my room, therefore I started the fan immediately. I also took a shower. Now the water was warm, but not hot. I spent the rest of the evening as usual, but totally alone in my room. I was missing company.

 

12th April 2018

It is already three months since my flight to Los Angeles. It has been an amazing experience with new friends and many friendly people. I am still not halfway, but have a very interesting part in front of me. A part with very many Mayan sites.

In the same shop where I had bought the shampoos the day before, I also had bought yogurt and sweet bread for my breakfast. Unfortunately there was no possibility to cook coffee, though I went to the Oxxo again after my “great” breakfast in my hotel room. From the shop I walked further all the way to the “Parque La Venta”, which also has an archeological site with artifacts from the Olmec people, but after I had paid the admission fee for “extranjeros” (foreigners) I came to the zoo. Well there I looked at the different kinds of birds and other small animals.

 

Parrots

 

After a while I reached the Olmec site. There were only monuments to see, no buildings.

 

A Man Coming Out of a Cave Carrying a Child

 

Halfway throughout the Olmec section there was a spring as well as a building for a dead crocodile and a black panther (alive). The spring gave the feeling, that I was at the end of the Olmec section and of the park. The panther was apathetic, if it was because of the heat or because of the small space he had, I could not guess. Anyway I thought, animals should not be at a zoo, especially not those animals, which natural behaviour is to walk and run miles and miles a day.

 

A Spring

 

By finishing my visit at this park, I was looking for the coffee shop to get something to eat. There was not really anything, which I liked, though I bought a package of biscuits. Sitting at a table outside the coffee shop (there were no others) raccoons were interested in my biscuits as well. One came to my table. I told him to go, but he continued watching me. In that moment, when I did not look at him, he hopped on my hand, holding that package. It fell out off my hand. The only thing I could do, was, to save the wrap, though the raccoons did not eat it and get sick of it. Some biscuits were still on the table. To show these animals, that I do not like their behavior, I throw them in a bin with a lid.

 

Raccoon

 

I left the park directly after this. Outside an English-speaking guide was waiting for me, who had talked with me before I had bought the ticket for the park. This time it was not for himself, he was waiting. He had a girl with him, who studies English and had to make an interview as exercise. I was happy, I could help that girl and she was happy, that she got her interview. She told me, she was not expecting to fulfill her homework, because there were mostly Mexicans visiting the site.

I had a new chat with the guide. It was about a cacao tour. He offered me the tour first for 1,200 MXN – if he will not find other people attending. I asked him, if he had found more people attending the tour. He had not, but offered me the tour for 600 MXN, if we can go by collective bus. He told me, that it takes an hour to go by bus to Comalcalco and calculated four to five hours for the trip, expenses included. It had been a very low income for him, if I had agreed to the offer, but for me 600 MXN is still a lot, though I told him, I will think about it and let him know, how I decide.

Even it was only early afternoon, I went back to the hotel, but made a little detour to the laundry and picked up my clothes. As soon as I was in my room, it knocked on my door. It was the cleaning lady asking if I was interested in to get my room cleaned. I had not left the key at the reception, when I was leaving in the morning, though she had not be able to enter my room. She did not only clean the room, empty the bin and change the towel. She also did change the sheet. When I later that evening took care about my clothes from the laundry, one t-shirt was missing, but I was too tired to go back to the laundry.

At 7:30pm I was so hungry, that I anyway was going out again. I went back to the restaurant from the day before and ordered Salchicha. Meanwhile I was eating, the restaurant was closing down. I did not feel comfortable as well as the Salchicha was not, what I expected. Luckily it was not hot spicy, but the texture was a little disgusting for me. On my way back I was aware of, that it was possible to get a haircut for 20 MXN. I thought, I would be ashamed to let someone working for me for such a low price. It was already dark on my way back to the hotel and even the last shops were closing. Back at the hotel I updated my blog somewhat meanwhile I listened to my music, using my headphones.

 

13th April 2018

I was up around 7am and at the laundry around 8am, asking for my missing t-shirt. It was the turquoise one I had bought in Mexico – I have a similar, but yellow as well. At the laundry I have been told, that I had to come back in the afternoon and ask one more time for it. From here I was going directly to the bus station, which is not far, but I thought it was the Central bus station. It was not, but the “Central del Sureste”. I also arrived at the wrong side (thank you Google for that) and had to go back a block. Finally right, I bought a ticket for Cárdenas. There was no other possibility and also only with the bus company “Sur”. I was lucky, that I could enter the bus directly and had not to wait for another one. It was 8:30 now. An hour later we arrived at the destination, where I bought a ticket for the TRT-bus, which were leaving 10am. This bus arrived in Comalcalco at 11am. The timetable of the guide would already have been wrong for 1.5 hours.

I had chosen the Wolter’s plantation, because I could easily walk there from the bus. Unfortunately I had missed the 11 o’clock tour, because I needed 15 minutes to go there. The next tour was 1pm. When I walked to the Hacienda I had crossed the market place in front of the cathedral, though I went back there in the hope to find a coffee shop for my daily coffee. Even I was walking another street with shops and restaurants, I did not find a coffee shop, though I finally bought an ice cream. A so-called “double” was for 38 MXN, a quite high price, but I was tired of walking around in the heat. Though I chose walnut and pistachio. I had to pay 59 MXN instead, because I have been told, that these tastes are specials and more expensive. Had my Spanish been better, I would not have paid the higher price! I enjoyed the rest and was then going back to the Hacienda, but bought a coffee in a 24/7 open shop, which was called “extra” and owned by “circle K”. The coffee, which should have been a mocka, was only sweet, but did not taste coffee. Though I did, what I nearly never have done before. I have poured out half of it.

I was ten minutes to 1pm at the Hacienda and bought a ticket. The young man at the cash did sell me a ticket for 65+ people, without asking for the special card. I did not ask for the reduced price either. Actually he also was then my guide. I was the only person, attending the tour, though the young man became my private guide. I was not asked for a higher price. At the start of the guidance I asked my guide, if he speaks another language but Spanish. He told me, he speaks some English and tried as well, but was immediately back in Spanish again. That did not matter, because he did well-articulate. Actually he tried from time to time to put in words in English, but these words in Spanish were easily to understand like “fábrica” for factory, but the Swedish and German words are very similar to the Spanish.

The tour was very well done by this young man. He showed me the plantations, where he explained a lot about cacao: How it grows, which enemies it has etc. Though I learned, that the mosquitoes are trying to destroy the trees, but the founder of the plantation has not only cacao trees, but mango and different trees. That keeps the mosquitoes away. I was also shown the tiny flowers of the tree, fruits (the cacao), was asked to taste it, without being processed at all and could at the end see a tree, which had flowers as well as fruits in different sizes. Furthermore I have been told, that at tree needs six years, before it – for the first time carry fruits.

 

Cacao Flowers

 

We continued to the factory, where my guide did show me the machinery used in former times, the process of washing, drying and roasting the coffee as well as the new tools. At the end, I was served some, small chocolate products. Even the plantation was not big, I really can recommend to visit this place.

 

All About Cacao

 

I should have met Archi’s mamma afterwards, but I had not heard anything from her this day, though I wrote a message to her, but she did not answer. She did not answer on my further messages either. So I was waiting for her answer on the place close to the cathedral. Meanwhile I was waiting, I could see people queuing to the government’s building. From time to time see some of the people on the balcony of this building , though I think it was a kind of open day for the citizens. Around 3pm I left and walked to the TRT bus station and took a bus to Cárdenas, where I bought another ticket, but of the bus company “Sur” – to Villahermosa. This evening I had my dinner at a restaurant, very close to my hotel.

 

14th April 201

It was time to go further again. I checked out around 10am and walked with my belongings to the bus station “Sureste”, which was close. The bus ticket to Ciudad del Carmen was for 187 MXN. The bus left 10:30am, though I bought a mango juice and a sandwich last-minute. I was lucky again, that I had got a windows seat.

Even this ride I did mostly see wetland, but also cows and one and another horse on the greens. We stopped in Frontera, which is a small city, at the Gulf of Mexico. While at the bus station, I had my snack, I bought in Villahermosa. I did not see much of the city as it is usual coming through by bus. At exactly 12:12pm we entered the state of Campeche. If you will follow me further, please follow the link for Campeche.