Saturday 4 March – Coatzacoalcas to Villahermosa
We’ve reached Villahermosa, capital city of the Free and Sovereign State of Tabasco, one of the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is located in the southeast of the country bordering the states of Campeche to the northeast, Veracruz to the west and Chiapas to the south, and the Petén department of Guatemala to the southeast. It has a coastline to the north with the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the state is covered in rainforest as, unlike most other areas of Mexico, it has plentiful rainfall year round. For this reason, it is also covered in small lakes, wetlands and rivers. The state is subject to major flooding events, with the last occurring in 2007, which affected eighty percent of the state. The state is also home to La Venta, the major site of the Olmec civilization, considered to be the origin of later Mesoamerican cultures. Even though it produces significant quantities of petroleum and natural gas, poverty is still a concern or so says Wikipedia, and they are right.
We reached our hotel at about 13:00 hrs after the usual testing time of driving through a major Mexican city. Rather than staying in the hotel that had been earmarked, but which was not where SatNav told us, we picked the nearest hotel to the spot that is perfectly adequate and a fraction of what we paid at the last hotel. We’re here for two nights.
This afternoon we walked into town to take some touristy shots, then found a terrace for the traditional margarita and a litre of cerveza oscura (for me, similar for Alain) followed by a Chinese buffet, cheap but adequate and the luxury of a taxi home to the hotel. According to the Marvin Gaye / Paul Young song, where ever I lay my hat is my home. Yes, I bought my third hat, more typical of the state of Tabasco, and perhaps more for special occasions than the two already bought earlier.
Tomorrow we are going to Comalcalco to see the pyramids and chocolate farms to which the Aztec civilisation owes much. I photographed one cactus, yet to be identified – an epiphyte doing its best to strangle a tree along the roadside in town. We’ve made some adjustments to the journey back to Mexico City, but you have to read the following episodes to learn how we did it in the end.