There Are Definitely Worse Places I Could Be

I didn’t get to sleep until about 12:30 last night (actually this morning). I slept hard until six when I was woken by the light from the skylights, which don’t have covers. I was rather impressed that I knew where my sleep mask was! I pulled it on and passed out for nearly another four hours.

So I got up around 9:45 and went to the kitchen, which smelled wonderfully of chorizo. F very kindly made me a wonderful coffee, and I put together a couple of chorizo “burritos” for breakfast. F then helped me get the truck fully unloaded (THANK YOU). The few things that don’t need to be in the air conditioning were put in a storage room, but the rest all came into my suite.

I started to sort through it all and put on my first of what will be several loads of laundry. Once my hosts leave next week, all the kitchen stuff will be unpacked, cleaned thoroughly, and then stored in the empty cabinets in the kitchen. For now, the boxes are neatly piled in my suite. I want to get myself a couple of bookcases so I can unpack my books. It’s nice to know I can buy stuff since it’ll move to my house with me in the fall.

After I’d regained a semblance of order amidst the chaos and located my bathing suit, I went for a swim! OMG. I forgot how wonderful it is to have a pool!!!!!!! I am going to spend A LOT of time in that pool this summer, obviously.

I then had a very late lunch and after that, I went to Chelem with F so he could give me an idea of what services are available. Unfortunately, there really isn’t anything within walking distance since I’m at least 3KM from downtown Chelem. Yes, I know I walked twice that far in Bulgaria to go to Yablanitsa, but I at least had the little store right in Maluk Izvor. Here, It’s about 3KM just to get fresh tortillas, so I’ll likely make my own. Living here definitely won’t be as convenient as was life on Isla since I have to haul out my own trash and there’s no home delivery of tortillas and veggies. I might be able to get water delivered, though.

Chelem is a lot bigger than I expected and by that, I mean there are more shops and restaurants. I will get what I need there and I can go into Progreso and Mérida for what I want. Yucatán is not an agricultural state and I remember from my visit here last year that the produce in supermarkets was pretty sad and expensive. V says that Costco has the best offerings so I’ll finally be getting a card for there. Since the house here has AC, I’m not going to have to worry about spoilage the way I did in Maz and will be able to buy in bulk.

V is thoroughly spoiling me and made a nice dinner tonight as well. After 10 days in the truck, it’s nice to have some fresh meat and veggies! I have told them that I’m not so broke right now that I can’t afford to eat out and they can certainly show me all the restaurants nearby. 😀 (OMG, I just heard a gecko!!!!!) Apparently, there is a very good Thai restaurant nearby and one guy cooks Indian food one day a week! And, of course, there are plenty of taquerias in Chelem.

Tomorrow, I have some work to do and will continue to recover from the excitement of the last several weeks. Monday, F and V are taking me to Progreso to start on my immigration stuff. I’ve got a roughly 3,500 peso payment left to make to get my residency card and then the financial bleed will finally stop, not a moment too soon! I actually wish I could wait until next week to make that payment, but I really should not waste any time getting the ball rolling on this process.

It hit me today as I started to unpack my things, especially my framed art, that I’m really here to stay. Yes, I’m moving again in six months, but I sure won’t be going far!

It was a very pleasant first day here. I know I won’t get really settled and into a routine until I’m on my own, but it’s nice to ease into things with my local guides.

Mérida or Bust — Day Ten: Villahermosa, Tabasco, to Mérida (Actually Chelem), Yucatán!!!!!

Total Kilometres to Drive: 5,442

Kilometres Driven Today: 602

Total Kilometres Driven: 5,442

Kilometres Left: 0

Amount of Trip Completed: 100%

I MADE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I slept so well last night that it was almost torture to get up when my alarm rang at seven. I just wanted to stay in bed. But I knew that I just had this final push to do and I would be able to recoup. I had a decent breakfast again (they had good coffee, but no salsa or tortillas!) and was pleased to discover that I was on the correct side of the highway to head out of town. I’d actually considered backtracking to take the bypass, but both Google and my GPS assured me that would not save me any time at all. Traffic was pretty light anyway so getting out of Villahermosa wasn’t a big deal.

The first part of my day was very easy. Crossing into Campeche, I got my very first document check of this trip, which was pretty amazing since a half dozen checks and stops of various kinds a day are normal on Mex-15 between Maz and Nogales. This federal police officer was quite thorough, checking both my immigration status and my truck’s temporary import status. He also asked me what kind of business I have.

After that, I soon got to more populated areas with lots and lots and lots of topes that meant slowing to a crawl. I had to go through a few communities, so that meant some defensive driving. I hit a guy’s sideview mirror with my passenger side mirror as I squeezed through Champoton, but it thankfully didn’t break and he just waved me off. I had to pull over to readjust my mirror, which had folded flat against my truck and was absolutely fine.

This drive felt like being in “my” Mexico, with the ocean on one side and coconut palms on the other.

The only two cities ahead of me. 🙂

I had another checkpoint most of the way through Campeche. This guy pulled me over for having a non-Mexican license plate and he was quite agitated about it, is about as best as I can describe it. If I didn’t understand Spanish, his frantic tone would have terrified me and made me think I was in big trouble. I just pointed to my TIP sticker as proof that I was legal and showed my passport when he asked for it. No biggie!

Literally riding the Yucatán state line! Ignore the fact that my GPS is saying I was speeding. The limit was 110.

I’ll admit I burst into tears here. I was just so relieved to be so close that if I got in an accident or anything else happened with the truck, it would be no big deal to get a tow all the way to Chelem or to get my things home even if I had to transfer them to someone else’s vehicle. You have no idea how stressful the last 5,400KM have been.

There was a military checkpoint at the Yucatán border (hence why I was parked and had time to take the above picture). A very young kid came to check me out and said that I had no license plates. I told him my Canadian state (did not know the Spanish for province and figured that state would be less confusing to him anyway) does not have a front license plate. This is when I understood why I’d been pulled over the previous two times — not having a front license plate made me stick out and then they zeroed in on the fact that I’m a foreigner. While annoying, these stops are not a big deal to me. I know my paperwork is in order and that I’ve done nothing wrong. So I just answer their questions and am then on my way.

Driving by north Mérida on the perifico.

I was going beyond Mérida, right back to the coast. Thankfully, the last stretch was on good highway and I was able to zip north towards Progreso. Even though the day had felt very long, I’d made good time and was going to land at about 4:30.

My hosts had told me to meet them at a hotel near their home and call them. I did that and could not reach them because the cell signal was too poor. I went into the hotel and asked for a landline phone (none available) and directions since I had an address and a crude map. Two boys managed to send me off in the right direction. When I knew I was close, I asked a family sitting outside for further help and they got me even closer to the house. Soon as I saw the house in the distance… Moya got caught in a sand trap. 5,440 uneventful kilometres and I got stuck within sight of my destination. I have to laugh now even if it wasn’t funny then.

An expat lady and two Mexicans tried to winch me out with her truck, but she started to dig in, too, so we gave up. She managed to get my hosts’ attention (they have a deep yard with a front gate and no intercom so they hadn’t heard me knocking) and both came out to see what could be done about my truck. F worked out a plan of attack and told me to go back to the house with V. I did so and V mercifully had me sit down in front of some wonderful food! That restored my good humour and before I knew it, F came to grab my truck keys. I went back to Moya with him and he’d jacked her up to get traction material under her. He started her up and with a bit of gas got her out! I was very impressed.

So that was that. I was officially landed! I unpacked a bit, had a few beers, gabbed lots, met my canine charge, etc. I am going to be wonderfully comfortable here in the lap of luxury. The pool was tempting tonight, but getting into my suit felt like too much effort. 🙂

It’s now past midnight and I need sleep. Hope y’all are grateful for the post because I really didn’t feel like writing it tonight! 🙂