I forgot to mention in yesterdays journal that mid afternoon we crossed the Tropic of Cancer at latitude 33°N. The only marker or monument was a forlorn yellow ball, a photo of which is included in yesterdays entry. This event got Nina and I thinking and we were a little amazed to realize that from the Arctic Circle to the yellow ball we have travelled across 33° of latitude, and we have a like distance to go before we get to the Equator at Quito Ecuador, the same distance again to the tropic of Capricorn in Chile and yet more distance before we turn north again from Patagonia. I think this is the first time we have really appreciated how far we have planned to travel.
Today proved to be an interesting day. A 7:00am start allowed us a little more sleep than yesterday. The day presented us with many, uncountably many topes, but from now on you can take those for granted in Mexico. The first challenge of the day was to pass through the city of Poza Rica which boast a major PEMEX plant and the first oil well in Mexico, the traffic was hectic but we negotiated it successfully and then onto the ancient ruins at El Tajin. This was a splendid sight, with a very light crowd, almost exclusively Mexican tourists and many of them school children. Nina was quickly into her role of photographing faces and talking to the locals and was amongst the children. The highlight of the visit was to witness the famous pole dance. Four men descend on a rope from the top of a very high pole while a fifth man sits on top of the pole playing an instrument that is a combination of a pipe and a drum.
We then drove to the town of Tecolutla a coastal town on the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the river with the same name. After some adventures negotiating our way around the tight streets of the town we parked on the main street in front of a restaurant. Fortunately Norm knows the owner of the restaurant, so this was OK. After a beer we headed out by ourselves for a boat tour of the local mangroves on the river banks. We were the only tourists in the boat, the guide - who is known to Norm as El Negra because he is very black - was dressed in bright yellow shorts and singlet and was quite a sight. He spoke no English but gave us a very understandable tour by the use of mime and sign language.
Before dinner we sat in the local town square watching a local school group rehearse Grease - in Spanish.!!
Dinner was at a local restaurant, and then to bed - parked in the main street.