Mexico 31, 8th May 2004

In the morning I went to the zoo. Not a bad zoo actually. Here's some baby crocs.

And here's a bigger croc.

This guy was just posing.

And this is a jaguar. Easy to see how he hides in the jungle.

The jaguar was a sacred animal to the Maya people, many of their kings were Jaguar this or Jaguar that. It's pretty sacred to me too. The best car I ever owned was a Jaguar, a 1962 3.4 Mk 2.

After the zoo I visited 3 museums. The first I got ripped off at. I don't like being ripped off even for pennies. The sign said 5 pesos. I offered a 20 peso note. Thank you she says and gives me a ticket marked 5 pesos. I point out the sign says 5 pesos. That just for locals she said, for north Americans it's 20 pesos. To prove it she took my 5 peso ticket back and gave me one marked 50 pesos. Both I noticed were marked donation. It was not worth making a fuss about.

Now the museum of anthropology was fascinating. (And I didn't get ripped off!). I then drove by the main plaza which is really not very interesting but I did pass a smaller one that looked nice, they have free marimba music there on evening weekends, but I'm giving that a miss tonight.

All my guide books say Tuxtla Gutierrez is not a very interesting town. It's big, that's true, over half a million inhabitants, and certainly San Cristobal is prettier. But it does have a good museum and zoo and is close to wonderful views over the Canyon del Sumidero.

I called in at Sam's Club for supplies. I don't want to buy meat from most of the butcher shops I see. They seem to just chop the meat at random, and they certainly have not heard about hygiene. The really big supermarkets do seem to have got it sorted however. Unusually, there was not much steak selection at Sam's Club, it was all rather too thin cut for my liking. There were however some whole fillets. I bought one for 220 pesos, 1.5 Kg. (That's $20, 11, or 16 Euros, for 3.4 lbs.) I cut it into 8 steaks. It was so tender it was easier than cutting butter. Whatever currency you use, that's pretty cheap for a fillet steak.

I continued on to Ocozocoautla. My camping guide book says there are free parking and hookups for RV's at the Hogar Infantil children's home. I think I know why it's free. You are descended on by kids who take your van apart. What's this for, how does this work, can I look through you binoculars, can I have some peanuts, is this your camera, and so on and so forth. They are no problem, quite the reverse actually. They went when I said I had some work to do. I guess they'll be back in the morning.

They were back on in the morning. Turns out it's mother's day today, they are having a party. I gave one of the supervisors a load of beads to decorate with. There are about 100 kids in the home which is American funded. Then I went shopping, around the market, came back and tried to copy some MP3 files on to CD so that I could play them on my car radio. No way. I'd bought a stack of blank CD's at Sam's Club, they work fine on the computer (which has lousy speakers) but they won't play on the car radio. Wasted a lot of time on that. I suspect it is the CD writer on the computer not working since disks I made earlier still play. I'll do something. Maybe even not try to write any more CD's.

Tomorrow I'm heading off towards the coast, over the isthmus, a long journey with not a lot to see on the way.

Best regards

David Barker


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