I forgot to mention anything about Merida. In general, I didn't much like the town. Too big, too busy. Street parking not allowed for several streets around the centre. The main plaza - which I drove around several times - was entirely devoted to tourist stalls selling the local knick knacks. Me I went to a specialised hammock shop and bought a hammock. At $20 ie 10 it didn't quite break the bank. I haven't tried it yet but it seems fine. I also bought a seat fitting, a sort of riser which lets air circulate behind and below when you are driving. Seems to work but it's uncomfortable, I may throw it away. I went to an anthropological museum which was great, and drove up and down Paseo de Montejo a few times. This street was created in the form of the Paris boulevards. Doesn't quite work, but well worth my time driving up and down. Oh, and I couldn't find Wal-Mart would you believe. I had the address and also instructions on how to find it from an English speaker at Sam's club. It's 3.5 Km further down the same road as we are on he said. I also had 3 or 4 maps of the city. Still couldn't find it. Wasted over an hour driving around looking.

Back to my overnight stop in Izamal. Parked in front of the town hall I didn't get mugged. But traffic started at first light, about 5 am. And Mexican traffic is noisy. Really noisy. My van, with it's blowing exhaust gasket, is tame compared to most. So I upped and moved to my first choice spot, next to the pyramid, where it was quiet. I even slept late, until about 7:30.

In the morning I went to a laundry I had noted, my sheets could do with washing. My current washing technique takes several days, and of course I need the sheets every night. The laundry was shut, I went and climbed the pyramid again, this time remembering to take my binoculars, then called again at the laundry. It was still shut on my 3rd call, at 9:30. Then it dawned on me. It's Sunday..........

My current washing technique? Well, self service laundromats are almost non existent in Mexico, so I put a couple of shirts, washing powder and water in a coolbox I am not currently using and let the whole lot bounce around for a couple of days as I drive. Seems to work pretty well, of course it gets lots of bouncing on Mexican roads. I leave the whole lot in the bathroom so if the bouncing gets too severe I don't get flooded out.

I visited the church and the monastery and had another look at the pony taxis.

I pottered on along some small roads through some small town and finished in San Felipe. I have arranged to make a boat trip in the morning to sea a cenote (a fresh water source), provided the boatman can find a couple more people to share the cost. 6 would be ideal but there's not a lot of tourists around. There's no one staying at the local hotel, and I was the only person in the hotel restaurant, and barring roadside stalls, it's the only restaurant that was open. I had a delicious shrimp thing, I've forgotten what it was called. It's a local specialty.

Talking roads, I've mentioned repetitive roadside stalls. Couple of days ago in one small town there must have been 8 temporary roadside stalls selling meat. Each with 3 or 4 bits of meat hung up. I've not seen roadside meat stalls anywhere else. And I didn't notice one selling fruit. I mean, just take a look at the picture above. There's enough horse carriages to deal with the simultaneous arrival of 2 tour buses.

When I chatted about the boat trip tomorrow, asked was it OK to park for the night where I was, on the quayside, overlooking the sea. 16 voices simultaneously said "si" with a few adding "no problem". You certainly do get to stay in some good spots when you go boondocking.

There were no other tourists around in the morning so I didn't make the boat trip. I watched some pelicans

then noticed a pickup which is the first I've ever seen that is in a worse state than the one John Gundersen uses to drive around his farm in South Dakota. Yes, those dark marks are holes, and that's part of the engine you can see. At least John has the engine covered up although I can probably hear him coming from Mexico.

There were no other tourists around in the morning so I didn't make the boat trip. I hung around a bit and headed off to Rio Lagartos. Means Alligator River. Well, it's a lagoon, not a river, and they're crocodiles not alligators. Guess the Spanish were wrong from time to time. Here everybody was touting boat trips but same problem, no other tourists, and it's nonsense to pick up the cost of a 6 person boat trip by one person, plus I've already seen the flamingoes. I headed off further south found a huge salt factory, and had a beer with some amigos.

I watched pelicans diving.

I watched fishermen fishing from a bridge. First they throw the net

It drops into the water

then hits the water

after which the fisherman allows time for the net to sink, gently hauls on the line, this closes all the weights together at the bottom. Seems to work. I must have watched over 100 casts, I didn't see any nets returned without fish. There were 7 guys fishing from this one bridge.

While on the bridge I made one of my rare (?) errors. A tour boat passed the under the bridge with a few passengers and the captain motioned me into the boat. I laughed and said no. Of course I should have said yes. He would have dropped me back at the bridge. Duh!

I had trouble with Internet connections again, my computer was incorrectly interpreting the local connection speed and not working. I have no idea why. It told me it was correctly connected to the internet. So my last report (Mexico 12) you again received courtesy of Colin Butter in the UK, we already had to try the system for Mexico 10. I copied Mexico 12 on to a floppy, used one of the in house computers, and sent it to Colin as an attachment to my web based mail, and after that he's done the clever stuff. Presuming you received Mexico 12 he's done the clever stuff that is! Thanks Colin.

I forgot my floppy and had to go back for it, I am now parked next to the sea, again.

Best regards

David Barker

Actually I'm now in a different town - I'll try the internet connection here.


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