Friday, December 05, 2008

It Was A Dark Night

We are off on another adventure. I don't know why when we travel, we seem to find the darkside and this time I do mean the darkside.

We knew that the Yucatan is on CST when it really should be on EST but still we thought that we'd have time to hit the cuota road before 5:30 PM when it would be getting dark. We usually don't travel at night but somehow we had talked outselves into thinking that we'd be safe on the cuota road.

We had forgotten how long it takes to rent a car in Mexico. No matter what information you have given over the internet, it is like you have to start over when you reach the car rental office.....which requires using the car rental shuttle and we had to wait for it for 15 minutes. Finally after all the paperwork and going over the car for any scratch or blemish that was already there so we would not have to pay for the damage when we returned, the rental agent mentioned that the gas tank was about 1/4 full. I don't know why the car rental agencies don't give you a full tank of gas in Mexico but they don't. Okay, so in order to get to Valladolid we have to buy gas. Another slowdown.

By this time we realize that we are not going to hit the cuota before dark.They tell us that we will see a gas station on the glorieta where the cuota road intersects the road to Playa del Carmen. We pull out into the traffic around the airport and we are trying to read the signs to Playa del Carmen and we are looking for a Pemex station and the glorieta. Suddenly we see a sign, "Merida cuota." We take it thinking that we were going to a glorieta where the actual Merida cuota comes in. After about 15 minutes we realize that we are REALLY on the cuota road already and there are NO retornos.

The road is well marked and there is a sign to tell us that the next gas station is 145 Km. away. Damn! We don't know what kind of mileage this car gets or even if the gas gauge is correct. What to do? We can't turn around until we get to where you pay for using the cuota road and by that time we will be so far down the road that even if we turn around we'd probably run out of gas going back to Cancun.

We drive on into the night with the jungle and nothing but the jungle rushing past us on both sides. There are very few cars that pass us. We start counting the kilometers and watching the gas gauge. Are we going to make it to Valladolid before we run out of gas? The gauge keeps dropping and then the yellow-out-of-gas tank sign beeps and appears on the dash. We still have about 20 kilometers to go.

Finally we pull off the cuota for Valladolid. The Pemex station was about another 3 kilometers down the road and it was not really a "station." Just an awning with a couple of gas pumps. But they had gas and I could start taking deep breaths again.

Now we think all the problems are over. No, they aren't. The government is rebuilding Valladolid, at least all the roads in the historic centro. There policemen on every corner and every road going to our hotel is torn up. This was not easy information to come by. We had to circle the centro about three times and ask about six policemen how to get to our hotel. Finally in desperation, Ned bounced the car over one of the torn up streets and I went in to the hotel to find out if there was a way to get to their parking lot. No, the parking was not available now although when we made reservations about 5 days ago, the manager had assured that the hotel had parking. By now a policeman was at our side telling nicely that we need to move the car immediately. So we went and found another hotel that did have parking and rooms.

And that is how our vacation in the Yucatan started.

11 comments:

Heather said...

Wow! I hope the rest of your trip is uneventful!!!

Alfredo said...

¡G√ľau! I don't think is a vacation but an oddessey! What a start. As usual in my Mexico. Too bad but, better take it with a grain of salt.

Steve Cotton said...

You have all of us breathing easier now.

Cynthia said...

Wow! You guys are brave. Have a great vacation and enjoy the warmth. Can't wait to see the pictures.

Nancy said...

Sounds like most of our travels down here...when we went to Colima recently we were very close to out of gas, no gas at all until Tepic. At least they have the "angels" on the cuota if you did run out they would help you I think.

Now that that adventure is out of the way, I look forward to the rest of your stories!

American Mommy in Mexico said...

Great MX story. We too have been caught at night and it is nerve racking!

Paul said...

I must say, that is some kind of adventure! I'm glad that everything worked out ... finally. Enjoy your vacation! This just gives you extra incentive to enjoy it!

Babs said...

Good grief! HAVE FUN..........

Calypso said...

Nothing like challenging the gas mileage gods to make a trip extra exciting. I have done that more times than I will admit - actually I don't have to because Anita will tell all my challenging stories.

It is kind of like hitting your thumb with a hammer - feels so darn good...when it stops hurting!

Billie said...

It is a little too wild for me when it is a rental car and in the dark and in Mexico.

larry1960 said...

Congratulations on your survival.