NYE in Xilitla has less to do with fireworks and more to do with small bombs. The louder and the greater shockwave… the better. There was none of that candy-ass, flower-like, sky brightening crap that they force on us in the States. In Mexico, they throw land mines in the air like a discus. There is no “oohhhing” or “aawwwing”. When one explodes, all you hear is “Do you have a louder one?”
They stopped throwing the land mines around 2, maybe 3 am. I had given up and had turned in by then. I do know that they started up again at 7am precisely.
I was on the road at 8, even though I had a short kilometer day. It turned out to be a good thing.
The roads today were the worst I have seen on the trip. I also set a personal record for the number of topes I drove over in one day. I hope I won’t be breaking that soon. When there wasn’t topes, the road was just in a case of serious decay, which isn’t much more fun. So between the two, I was pretty frazzled by the time I drove into Poza Rica, where I was planning on camping. There isn’t much to say about this oil town, other than the fact that it is just north of El Tajin.
Then my good luck ran out with the local law, and I had my very first Mexican Shakedown Experience. Corrupt, does not even begin to describe it. I still haven’t cooled down, and I am still in his district, so I will refrain for now with details on the ordeal.
Suffice it to say, I left Poza Rica with a lot fewer pesos and a much greater distaste for that slimy town. I had personal contact with three officers today, and I only have a clear picture of the one I’d like to lather up in bacon grease and drop off in the middle of the tundra when the bears first come out of their winter dens…
Once the nice officer had relieved me of my hard-earned pesos, he wanted me gone quickly. I wanted to go one way, but he refused and went out into the street to halt traffic so I was forced to take his route. I’m guessing he enjoyed sending the tourist off in the wrong direction.
Luckily for me, it worked out well. Down the road, I spotted a sign for the Emerald Coast. Speaking fond French words to, and about Poza Rica, I took the turn to the coast, leaving that rancid town behind. The day was early enough, and the tank was full enough for the hour or so drive.
My main concern was that the guidebooks discouraged camping here during the two weeks on either side of NY’s. Locals from Vercruz and the surrounding areas flock here to camp during this time.
Maybe they did last year.
When I turned off of 180 into the drive, the cool breeze flowed through my open windows and vents, and I could see some decent waves crashing onto the black beach, but people were few. I did a quick walk around to find two other sites occupied, but that was all. The family that runs the place has been absolutely great. Very professional, and with a quick wit. They decided early on it was easier for them to talk English than to listen to me butcher Spanish, but they did that in a kind way.
The Mexican Camping Guide I have says that this place has free WiFi and hot showers. It turns out that the part about the hot showers is true, which was all I needed to hear. The very first thing I did was to go and take a shower. The second thing I did was to return to The Rover and open a very cold beer.
BTW. Thanks Mark!