I think I slept for 11 hours. The combination of bugs the night before (I think I only slept for 3 hours or so), an exhausting day 4, and a nice bed resulted in a lot of sleep. Didn’t manage to write as much as I wanted though :-(
The “bedbug” problem from yesterday did not reappear. I either managed to clean everything up at an early stage or it was a local problem. Probably the latter and most likely they weren’t bedbugs but local blood-drinking insects. Anyway… I am glad that there is no problem.
No breakfast today. Hit the road after a quick shower and a very short walk around Campache’s central plaza. I just wanted to see it during the day as well. I bought some cookies and started driving south. As the day before, the destination was Xpujil (one of these days I will start posting a map of my trip as well). Rather than taking the shortest path, I decided to drive down the coast. It proved to be an inspired decision even though it ultimately meant that I am still not in Xpujil :-)
The scenic route down the west coast of the Yucatan peninsula is gorgeous; highly recommended if you ever around the neighborhood. I drove towards Haltuchen and then Champoton. Just before I arrived at Champoton, I stopped for around 90mins at the Cocteleria “El Amigo Mario”. I saw it as I was driving by and I just had to have lunch there. I stayed, planned my drive for the rest of the day (I knew that it was going to be mainly driving today) and also wrote my day 4 entry. I ate a beautiful seafood salad with nachos. It was absolutely delicious.
The sea was very inviting but didn’t dare to go swimming. It was a bit cloudy at times and also it’s totally out of season. Also, I am waiting until I go to the east side and Belize for all the swimming.
The town of Champoton was beautiful. I wish I could have planned it as a stop over. Unfortunately, I really needed to make progress today.
After I passed Champoton, I thought of confirming my whereabouts and the next stop. Where’s the map? All this talk the previous days about a good map and I’ve now lost it? I drive back (only 5 mins) to the Cocteleria; Mario had saved it for me. Phew! :-)
Rather than doing the sensible thing and heading south, I decided to continue on the coast and towards Sabancuy, south-west. The drive was still beautiful but wayyyy a longer detour than I should have done. I love driving, especially with the windows down. It allows me to feel the air, smell the outside, perhaps quickly hear a sound or two. Well, at some point, as I was closing the driver’s window (there were some tracks producing too much dust), I heard an unsettling noise coming out of the inside of the door. Unfortunately, the window stopped working. I stopped immediately to check it out and took the opportunity for some photos (below).
Well, not only the electronic window didn’t work anymore but it was now possible to open/close the window by just pushing it. Very very unsafe for leaving the car anywhere. I didn’t have cell phone reception so I couldn’t get advice immediately from the car rental people. They had told me to call them as soon as trouble arose. I was prepared to travel back to another nearby city, if a replacement car was a possibility.
Since it wasn’t really a major problem, I continued my drive towards Escarcega, a really ugly city of 150,000 people apparently (so it said on a traffic sign in the entrance). I called the car rental people who told me that a replacement car was not a possibility since the only have offices in the north :-( They asked me to try and repair the fault and keep the receipt. After many attempts at locating the appropriate repair shop through the help of many very very helpful locals, I ended up at “Crisostomo” :-) I met Crisostomo himself who talked with the car rental guys over my phone. BTW… Given the number of times I had to call, my roaming charges would be astronomical :-(
Crisostomo decided that his apprentices could fix the problem, instead of sending me to someone more skilled. It was obvious that the problem was not electrical but mechanical (we could all hear the strange sounds coming out from the inside of the door). Nevertheless, they started disassembling the interior of the driver’s door. It was an amusing spectacle, since it was obvious that they hadn’t done this before. At the end, we all saw what had happened. A plastic component that holds the window to the mechanical system had broken.
They secured the window so that it doesn’t slide but, unfortunately, I can’t open/close it :-( I’ll see if I can change cars at Chetumal, when I reach there. I’ll ask the rental people. It’s really half the experience driving without the driver’s window down :-( My cute car is permanently wounded :-(
The window-related adventure meant that I “lost” 2 hours at Escarcega. I didn’t want to drive during the night, so I decided to stay there. It’s such an uninteresting city. I guess it’s next to a highway with lots of tracks stopping (can you spot the “Burger King” sign?). There is nothing to explore here. I get a recommendation for a hotel, which doesn’t look nice but, ironically, ends up being the most expensive so far :-( The restaurant I go to is great, though. I ask the waitress to pick a dish for me, which I really enjoyed.
Back to the hotel and plenty of time to write tonight.