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Strong and Lean in 2017 - Adventures driving through Tabasco, Mexico

Sunday, July 16, 2017

This will be the last blog outlining our fabulous trip to Chiapas, Mexico to visit a foreign exchange student we hosted 23 years ago. Meeting her family and being hosted in her Country has an experience we will never forget. It was truly a unique and marvelous adventure. Here is my last journal entry.

Nice leisurely morning at the hotel. We are staying at Cham-Kah Resort which has a beautiful restaurant overlooking the swimming pool / jungle.

I got up around 8:00am and this was after DH and I went to bed very early last night (8:30pm). This felt so luxurious after not having been able to sleep much the night before. This resort is huge and our room has two beds and a nice bathroom. The TV also gets CNN in English which is nice. Our room cost about $90 USD. We are on the ground floor and have a beautiful patio that overlooks a lush landscape.

We had tickets for breakfast in the restaurant which came with our room so we checked to see if Ray/Christie were going and then we headed to breakfast. They brought us coffee which was quite strong and traditional Chiapas. Chiapas is known for excellent coffee which they export around the World. It tastes a bit like Starbucks to me and my tastes are more Folgers lol. They put toast with butter and jam on the table and then brought us a fresh fruit plate with a glass of orange juice. Oh yum!

For breakfast, I had traditional Mexican Eggs which came with cut tortilla and tomato sauce and beans. The Mexican eggs are scrambled with chopped tomato, onion and celery. Jim has eggs over easy and pancakes. Again, we could hear the monkeys in the trees and yesterday we actually saw several monkeys swinging. Fascinating.

After breakfast, we made a quick trip to the Palenque ruins as DH wanted to get a mask that he had seen a few days ago. We hadn't been able to find one like it and he really wanted one for a souvenir. Christie was able to get us back in for free by showing the ticket from a few days ago and saying we just wanted to buy a mask. They let us pass and told us to show the mask when we left. It all worked out. Seeing the ruins again was just as fascinating as the first time. Several of the vendors were still getting set up but the vendor where he had earlier seen the mask wasn't there. Fortunately, we were able to find another booth with a stone mask (rather than plastic) and everyone was happy. The mask is a replica of the mask that was found over the King's face when they opened the tomb in Palenque... so it is a nice memento to have of our visit. We made our way back to the hotel (which is very close to the ruins) and as we got out of the car the animal noises were around us. I will never forget the fascinating sounds that are in the jungle. Ray also told us that he saw a colorful Toucan on our patio that morning when he was walking to the restaurant. I hoped to see one before we left; but didn't.

The trip back to Ray and Christie's home in San Cristobal will be longer today as we are taking a safer route which goes through Tabasco. This is a neighboring State of Chiapas so we will see some new territory. Christie said that the National government does not give a lot of support to Chiapas and we will probably see the difference when we are in Tabasco. They are more affluent and have a better life. Chiapas is considered the "poor step-child".

After being on the road an hour or so, we came to a stop. Ray got out of the car to go see why traffic was so backed up and found out it was a wreck and we were waiting on the wrecker. We saw an ambulance pass and then cars just started following behind it (us too). Very odd. Christie said that cars could go through but not the semis. As we passed the wreck I saw a semi off the road tipped over. The wreck delayed us about 30 minutes.

Next stop was at an OXXO store. These are the equivalent of 7-11 in the US. Everyone got out and went to the bathroom and bought snacks. So far on the trip I have managed to stay on plan (fairly well) so no junk food for me. I did get an apple out of the cooler. The popular bagged chip seems to be pork rinds. Was easy for me to pass on those,

After about 3 hours on the road we stopped at a roadside stand for lunch close to 2:45pm. It seems like the main meal of the day is usually aroumd 3pm. I had chicken and rice. Christie said the meat is BBQ and cooked in a pit. It was well seasoned and good. Sort of like KFC. We sat at a plastic table with chairs just off the highway and watched the traffic pass while eating.

Christies Mom also ordered chickpea soup. There are many of these small eateries along the road that are run by families. I don't think anyone is licensed or inspected. Even on the jungle road I saw little places where you could stop and eat. They are usually marked "Cocina" which means kitchen in Spanish. One hand written sign on the Cocina sign said "24 hours". I guess they get up if they are sleeping and give you something to eat if you stop.

Continuing on, Ray took a wrong turn but realized it before he had gone too far. I asked Jimmie to put our destination into Google Maps and he was able to help Ray navigate. Google maps is fascinating... works anywhere in the World. As we were going through a small town, Ray stopped for a smoke break, then a quick stop for a snack of dried banana chips. I think they were dried in a sugar solution as they were great and I ate way too many of them.

Got home around 7:30pm.... packed things up as we are flying home in the morning and headed to the airport at 5:00am. This has simply been an awesome trip.

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