EAST COAST OF MEXICO 2009
Day Twenty Four – Anton Lizardo to Catemaco, VC, Mexico
Road Trip Photos
Salto de Eyipantla Photos
On the road again. Destination - Catemaco, and supposedly the best RV park on the Gulf Coast, Villas Tepetepan and RV Park. Well, we shall see. Hwy 150 from Lizardo to Hwy 180 is the usual mess, narrow and full of topes and chuckholes. Hwy 180, for the most part, was good with just a few rough spots in some of the towns. We followed the coast for quite a ways before turning inland and starting the climb. Catemaco is at 1200 ft. While on the coast we saw a lot of roadside vendors that were selling shrimp, so we stopped at one of the stands and got a kilo of large cooked shrimp for 100 peso's. Combined with a salad, we have dinner for tonight.
After passing through Santiago Tuxtla (a small mountain town) and San Andres Tuxtla (a much larger mountain town, population in excess of 50,000), we stopped for fuel and a late lunch at a Pemex just outside of Catemaco. The restaurant looked new and was very clean. The food was great too. Here we met a man that has an eco tour company based in Catemaco. He gave us some handouts and phone numbers to call if we were interested in any kind of tour (boat, jeep, horseback, or hiking) within about a 50 mile radius. If we were going to be here longer and the weather was better, we'd have taken him up on the offer.
When we got to Catemaco, my navigation skills came under fire once again! The book said to look for Pemex # 2584 on the right. Unfortunately, there is a "Y" in the road within sight of a Pemex. The problem is that it's on the left fork and a road sign says go left for Catemaco. It didn't say Centro, so I just thought we still had a ways to go and took the left fork. Within 2 blocks I knew we were in trouble, the next sign said "CENTRO"!, the road got narrower and the traffic greater! But rescue was nearby! A guy on a motorbike came roaring up alongside me and motioned me to pull over. I knew from his clothing that he wasn't a cop so I figured that he might be someone that knew that big motor homes didn't belong in the downtown area and might even know how to get to the RV park. Well, I was right; he asked me if I was going to either Tepetepan or La Cieba (the two big rig RV parks in the town). I said Tepetepan, and he indicated that I should follow. I indicated that there was a second motor home somewhere behind me (Kat had gotten stopped at a signal). He nodded that he understood and pointed behind me. Sure enough, there was Kat, patiently waiting for us to get going. Well, two rights and a left and we were at Tepetepan. He even took us through the second gate (the one that RV's are supposed to use). That guy had just earned himself a 70 peso tip.
Gene (the owner) came out and greeted us and told us to pick our spots. There were only 2 other RV's there at that time. By the time we got set up, 5 more coaches pulled in! And the sun even came out! The first time in over a week we'd seen the sun! The park lives up to it's reputation; with the exceptions of the water pressure (next to none), and the pool being dirty. Of course, it's way to cool to be swimming anyway.
Our arrival date was Jan 6, All Kings Day in Mexico, and the last day of the Christmas vacation for the kids. The folks that rent the Villas full time were having an "All Kings" get-together by the pool, so we met almost all of the regulars. For All Kings Day, they get a large decorated circular sweetbread and serve pieces to everyone. Baked in the bread are little baby Jesus and other figures. The custom here is whomever gets the baby Jesus gets to cook enchiladas for everyone on Feb. 2. Don't know yet who that is.
There were a bunch of RV 'ers that were taking a boat tour of the lake the next day and we were invited. But we turned them down because we just wanted to wander the town and relax for a day. And that's what we did. We found a Lavenderia that had 24 hour fluff-and-fold service that charged by the kilo, so we dropped off 20 kilos to be picked up the next day. Total price, 250 pesos. From there we explored the malacon and the town; wandering up and down the streets and perusing the shops. Robin purchased a purse that is a coconut, cut in half, polished, and a zipper put all the way around. It has a cloth interior with another zipper and a beaded strap. Why in the world she would buy such a thing I have no idea. I did tell her that it probably would make a good emergency bra! Just unzip the two halves and use the strap to hold them on. Lunch was at one of the many restaurants that are on the water side of the malacon. Robin and I got grilled Tilupa with garlic sauce (the whole thing, including the head, just gutted and cooked) that was delicious; and Kat got fillets of some kind of salt-water fish, also cooked in garlic, but she said that, with the exception of the garlic, there wasn't any taste.
The following day was back to showers, high winds, and overcast the whole day. But we braved the elements to go see the Salto de Eyipantla, a 164 ft waterfall about 7 miles from Catemaco. Even considering the weather it was worth it! Check out the photo album. After visiting the falls (both from the top and the bottom), we had lunch in one of the many restaurants in the little plaza at the falls. Then it was off to San Andre for an afternoon of shopping. San Andre has a Soriana and a Wal-Mart! Only the Wal-Mart is called something Bodega down here. Between the two we were able to restock our larders. After returning to the RV park and unloading all the purchases we ran down and picked up our laundry. Everything was clean and folded. The only complaint we had was the heavy perfumery smell. Oh well, next time we.ll give them our non-scented stuff.
Today is a do-nothing day, we are still here because the weather forecast was for high winds. So far we haven't seen anything that is more than a breeze. It's still drizzling and overcast so it's a good day to catch up on the web site stuff.
Tomorrow it's Villahermosa.