A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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We easily found our turn toward the water, and the road became one lane with turnouts here and there. It went on for several more kilometers, and then we were by the water.

There was a small store, with a surprisingly large number of cars parked around it. A few small boats were pulled on the narrow beach.

There was a perfect place to park, where our back picture window would look out at the water and a large island beyond.

our motorhome boondocking

Cando by the water

We stopped and went over to the store, where we were politely greeted by a white-haired man. “We were told we could camp here,” Kelly said. “Would that be all right?”

The man said yes and waved his arm towards the end of the parking lot, where there was a large pile of trash and several dogs lounging.

lean dogs and trash

Lean dogs and trash – both common in rural Mexico

“What about over there?” I asked, pointing to where we had put Cando pretty much where we wanted it.

He hesitated a moment, then said, “Yes, whatever you like. Either place would be fine.”

And so we set up camp and pulled out our binoculars to watch the numerous seabirds and whatever else might turn up. It was indeed a peaceful spot, but not really the end of the road that we had thought. People were coming and going in motorboats. An hour later, a small bus arrived, disgorged some 15 passengers, and left. The people filled up a long boat and were ferried over to the island.

I focused the binoculars on the island. “Holy cow!” I said. “There’s a bus over there too.”

People filed into the island bus, which went up a hill and disappeared from view.

makeshift ferry in the Gulf of Mexico

People make do without the ferry.

This was a mystery. Kelly was about to cook dinner and thought he’d see what the store had to offer. When he returned, he reported that about a thousand people lived on the island, and that it stretched out for several kilometers beyond what we could see. There was normally a ferry, but it had recently broken down and been towed to Tampico for repairs, so people were making do. We were parked in the spot where the ferry usually came in; that’s why the shopkeeper had hesitated.

dawn over the gulf of mexico

Dawn

As night fell, things got very quiet. There weren’t even any lights, and we realized that while there was electricity on the island, there wasn’t any where we were. We enjoyed a very tranquil night, not counting the bit around midnight when someone pulled in next to us and honked repeatedly to get the attention of people on the island. It must have worked, as eventually a power boat came over from there.

dog on pier

A dog watched it all.

We know a good spot when we find one, and this one was a treasure. We spent another day there, going for walks on the beach and keeping an eye on the action. People were transporting fresh milk from cows on the island to a vat in a pickup on the mainland. Men and a few women were out fishing in boats. Birds circled around the successful fishing boats. A dog watched it all from the pier.

pelican in the Gulf of Mexico

Pelican

We had a long chat with a friendly young man who had been out in the night, shooting an armadillo with his rifle. He said the meat tasted rather like pork, and that life here was hard when there were fewer fish – as was the case now. He had been over the border as a mojado (wetback), but he didn’t know anyone in the U.S. except his mother who was married to a new husband and didn’t welcome him. A Mexican without family is usually a bit lost, so he came back to live here with his father and brother, it seemed. His Spanish was a bit of a challenge to follow.

the friendly Mexican storekeeper

The storekeeper at the ferry landing

Later I popped into the store, to buy a few things. “Do Americans ever come here?” I asked, feeling like an explorer who had found a remote outpost. I was a little disappointed when the storekeeper said, “Yes, from time to time.”

The time soon came, as a trio of Protestant missionaries parked next to us. They come down from Texas whenever they can, to tell the people on the island about the Lord. They had saved 160 souls. They were very friendly, but I was a bit dubious. “Aren’t the people Catholics?” I asked. “No, they are nothing,” I was told. I left it at that. Ninety-five percent of Mexicans are at least nominal Catholics, I’ve read. Oh well.

[Next: tight security at a fancy inn doesn’t make us feel secure.]

One Response to “South toward Veracruz: Boondocking in Mexico”

  • That sounds like a very interesting place. Not my idea of paradise, but I would have spent the majority of my time just speaking with as many people as I could. Looks like you took advantage of that due to your comments.

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