el Playa de Teco, el Tajin and the Emerald Coast

Saturday, March 2

We woke up at the Santa Cecilia Hotel in Hujutla Del Rey. It was the best hotel in town. We ate supper at the Hotel the night before and todays breakfast. 

They had made a skating rink in the town square - it was all tarped in and a huge machine made the cold and ice.  It was actually warm there. It must have used lots of electricity to keep the ice frozen.

We continued on driving through windy, narrow roads with many towns and villages. Most looked clean and well kept. Some had vendors selling fruit, furniture, items made of wicker, etc. All had "topes" at the entrance and exit to the town. Topes are speed bumps to slow you down and as far as we know are all over Mexico.

We stopped in one small sleepy, little town. Nice, well manicured trees in the town square. We needed a break and to walk.

Poza Rica - a big city with just the funkiest name, don't you think! 

Love that name - Poza Rica!   I want to eat salsa in Poza Rica! There was construction in the downtown core so we likely will not return.

We also took a break at a Soriana.

We drove by Papantla and would return when we go to el Tajin.

Tecolutla was our destination of the day, arriving before dark as we always try to do when traveling in Mexico. We found a funky, huge, old resort hotel on the ocean, in what we believe to be a Caribbean style. You can tell by the double louvered interior doors and windows that allow a breeze through that it must be hot here in the summer.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ken says he could watch the guy clean the pool for hours.
The first day of our Tecolutla experience I slept in but Ken ate breakfast early on the back deck overlooking the Ocean. He said it was cool with the wind and watched guys rebuilding a palapa.

We suited up, bathing suits that is, slathered on suntan lotion and donned sun hats for a walk on the Ocean. We are so white skinned we would likely reflect light at this point. 

Our feet on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico.

It was a mass of vacationing families and vendors on the beach.

The weekend crowd. We saw masses of white birds, some kind of cranes. 

Always have at least one drink with an umbrella in it!

You could take a ride on a "banana" boat pulled behind a long motor boat. Scary ! We opted out of that pleasurable experience.

Banana Boat rides, price unknown.

Found in sink, taking care of the bugs, locally.

So we decided we loved old Caribbean Hotels and that we should make sure we do the full tour of this place.

Ken says he could watch the guys fix the palapa for hours.

Lobby of the Hotel Teco.

Hallway of the Hotel Tecolutla

View from the roof

Always wanted to see Ken coming out of swing saloon doors.

Gotta love a Hotel with a billiards table.

Louvred doors for the summer breeze.

After our tour of the Hotel we headed downtown for a look at the town centre. We walked to the centro, not a big one. There were vendors selling food and other goods, likely here for the weekend. The pine trees had masses of grackles perched in them each evening.  It was noisy yet somehow wonderful.

At lunch time we checked out many establishments. Being in the location we were, a pina colada seemed natural. One place had a great one but we would not eat there. All the restaurants have "comidas" featuring fish, often fish or seafood soup. The sun got the best of us and we napped part of the afternoon.The river front provided us with a selection of palapa restaurants. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

We woke up earlier today than yesterday. Breakfast was out on the back deck over looking the Gulf of Mexico. There was a grackle taking a bath in one of the two swimming pools. Señor Gareza, an elderly Mexican fellow who kept coming to see us, came over and reintroduced himself to us. He told us that in 1990 the main floor of this hotel was even flooded during a storm.

A long beach walk was in order after our meal. The main area of the beach had a few people, but mostly the families had returned to their homes in cities or the surrounding towns or countryside. Goats were grazing close to our turn around point on the beach. The baby goats were the highlight. We saw brown pelicans flying in formation.

Our downtown walk found us at the Mercado. Small by comparison to many. Less street vendors today after the weekend crowds. We are beginning to see a repeat of the towns dog population. They seem so happy and carefree.

The lodging in Mexico teeters on funky or junky. We found the most unique little posada, by the outside we wanted to stay there.  We looked inside and realize it went way to the side of junky.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My day's adventure started late, well let me explain. I got up really early with Ken, we went and ate breakfast out on the deck. I then went back to bed. Last night I had a very bad headache at the top of my neck on the left side. Ken thinks I have heat stroke or something similar. I was very tired after a good nights sleep so I went back to bed. I woke up long enough to go eat lunch which was actually a breakfast type of meal... came back and slept some more. Ken worked on the computer trying to plan a bit more of an itinerary for our trip.

We toured our hotel and took photos. Later on in the afternoon we walked for a drink. We met Donald who once lived in Birch Falls, Ontario, although he was an American. Our waiter moved our table out of the restaurant so we could see the sun setting. 

Fishermen were feeding the pelicans and other birds. 

We still don't know why this fisherman fed his catch to the pelicans.

We continue our walk along the river - the Esplanade. This led us back to  the ocean via the breakwater. They were burning old palapa roofs  in front of our hotel. Continuing our walk along the beach we saw a doberman pincher joyously walking with his master. We miss our three dobermans, long gone.

By 9:30 pm the wind had picked up to howling proportions. A bit scary but it did not last.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

We drove away from the Ocean towards Papantla, a city about 50 kilometers away and El Tajin, the ruins, was another 10 kilometers away. El Tajin, was amazing as far as ruins go. 

The Pirámide de los Nichos
 is a wonderful pre-Columbian building with 365 little coffers. Any view was eye catching. There were few other people at the sight. The reliefs on the pyramids and in the museums depicted stories of the past. I was fascinated by the patterns made by the different stones on the outside of the structures. 

This bird was loud.

We saw the "voladores" spin from the top of an eighty two foot pool. This is a Totonac ceremony started to get the attention of their gods for a blessing of a good harvest. The "voladores: are five men in elaborately adorned costumes with hats like a birds head". Quite something to see. 

We saw a vehicle from Nelson, BC, Canada at the site. We did not meet the Canadians it belong to.

Our restaurant for today.

We drove back to Papantla to shop and investigate the city. We found the square and a mercado. The town actually smelled of vanilla and oranges. 

We also found an excellent coffee shop and bakery. We tried the drink Atole quite good, Ken liked it as well.


Vanilla sculptures.

First statue of a woman we have seen in a while.

Waiting for the orange truck tip over accident to clear

Thursday, March 7, 2013

We left our Tecolutla location for the Coste Esmeralda hoping to find a wonderful camping spot on the ocean. We want: shade -so that means trees, clean bathrooms and showers with hot water, few bugs, wifi, ice, nice place overall - perhaps that is asking too much, we will see. 

Before finding camping we wanted to revisit two spots from yesterday. Gayai is a retail vanilla store for the factory in behind it.  It sold vanilla everything, from ice cream, liquor and dried pods, etc. It also sold banana vinegar, which we bought a bottle to try. 

We also took pictures at a petting zoo type of farm of different types of donkeys, one of my favorite animals. There were white donkeys with brown spots, along with turkeys, cats and a cute little pup. They were all obviously well cared for.

We went to nearly every camping spot on the Costa Esmeralda list in the Church's Guide to Mexican Camping.  Most did not have internet, some did not have hot water, clean not so much. The one Called Sun Beach was gorgeous and very clean. Later on, while we were having a drink in the palapa, just before sunset, what looked like a family of coconut pickers came to the campsite. 

 Ken asked one of the older guys for a coconut drink and for ten pesos we each got one cut up read to be drunk. The teenage boys shimmied up the tree sliding a rope, wrapped around the tree, up as they went. They would send bunches of coconuts that were ready to be picked down by rope. They took every thing that came off the tree away before left. Ken lifted one bunch of the coconuts and said they were very heavy.

 Always bring straws with you when driving in Mexico in case the coconut pickers don't have them, well we do.

 We watched a great movie in the back of the van before sleeping "Barria Cuba".  It had subtitles, but I would certainly watch it again.

We discovered that Alix, my   best friend back home, broke her arm in two places on this date.  Very weird that we both now have broken arms.  Alix, heal quickly, take care, we send our love!!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Another beach walk right after getting up. I gathered shells, Ken collected pieces of glass to be thrown away. We noticed black stuff on the sand - oil spill oil perhaps? We asked for hot water Ken had a hot shower, I did not. We considered our options - to stay in this lovely palm tree covered campground or leave - we left. Our plan was to stay here and work on the blog, but with out internet , not so much.

The Gackles will follow us pretty much all over our trip.

No comments: