Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Merida to Cancun

We were becoming very comfortable in Merida but finally got away yesterday morning at about 11:00 am. Our propane was low so we started looking for a propane station as soon as we hit the periferico. Not finding one, we turned onto Mex 180D towards Cancun. Our plan was to drive to Chichen Itza where we had found a great little pottery shop two years ago. We had no real plans for the night but thought we might find a safe, friendly Pemex near there. We had no plans to visit the pyramids again as we have seen them twice and the weather was threatening rain. Been there, done that and have the t-shirt. We turned off the cuota road into Piste, the small Mayan town where the ruins are located and started looking for our pottery shop.

The town is obviously suffering greatly from the lack of tourists. Of the street full of vendors and shops that was there last visit, only one shop remains. It was run by a very friendly Mayan woman who proudly showed off her wares but she did not have the one piece that Norma was hoping to find. It was a multi-segmented serving dish that she had given away last summer that we thought would be easy to replace down here. Maybe in Chetumal. We did buy one serving bowl that we negotiated down from the asking price of $200 pesos to $160. This negotiating is common and expected and from the smile on her face when we left we could see she still did OK.

As we drove through Piste, we saw a propane truck delivering gas to a local business. I turned on my flashers and walked across the street to ask if he could fill the motorhome. He could and told us to park at one of the local hotel parking lots and he would find us. We parked at a hotel, waited for him for about a half hour and finally went in for lunch, asking the parking lot guy to come and get us if the truck showed up. The restaurant was a buffet affair with ‘entertainment’ consisting of four Mayans dancing while balancing beer bottles on their heads. I am almost sure this is not a traditional Mayan dance. It was over-priced and the food was not all that good. It was obviously aimed at gringo tourists who come on a bus from Cancun to visit the ruins.

When we walked out of the restaurant, the parking lot guy rode his motorcycle to find the propane truck and brought him back to the hotel. We got our 25 litres of butane at $6.2 pesos (about fifty cents) per litre, a fraction of the cost NOB. Tips all around and we were on our way. It was good we waited for the truck as we did not find a roadside propane station all day.

As we got back onto the highway, the downpour started. We slowed down to about 40 KPH with the windshield wipers on full speed. The rain soon backed off and we came to a Pemex station complex with parking, grocery and restaurants. We filled up the tank and found a nice parking spot. Norma made a very nice pasta dish in the rig. It was actually very quiet last night even though we were between the two pieces of divided highway. There was not much traffic. When we hit the next toll booth, we found out why. It cost us $640 pesos or about fifty dollars!

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A big hawk was circling to keep critters away from us. He was successful, no critters!

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7 comments:

  1. wow thats a fairly pricy toll....

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  2. Too bad business is down, however, with this year being the end of the world, Mexico is expecting a record 52 million visitors mostly Europeans. Let's hope it brings these people more business.

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  3. Great roadside service. Also great that the parking lot attendant went in search of the propane truck. Certainly understand the big tipper you were for the services provided. Great price on propane too!

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  4. It takes some getting used to those toll fees here in Mexico. We usually write off the sticker shock with some rationale about how Mexico is generally soooo affordable - they need the money. That second part comes up as a hard hairball however.

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  5. If you are planning on going to go over to Isla Mujeres, I bought one of those dishes you are talking about there and they had a pretty good selection.

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  6. Your refund from ICBC should cover most of your tolls, eh?

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