The bus ride from Villahermosa to Campeche ran along the edge of the sea and marshes of the Tabasco plain. We stopped for lunch at a cute outdoor café. One of the favorites of the bus drivers as I could see he was treated like a king. I had a quesadilla, just to be safe. The rest of the ride climbed over hills and soon we were over the ridge and down into the City of Campeche. I took a taxi to the Hostel de Pirate. It had a quaint décor of Pirates in the lobby. The man in charge of the desk spoke enough English to get by. I was given two sheets, a pillow and towel for my room, which was located on the fourth floor, no elevator. The hostel was located in the middle of the inner walled part of town. The streets were very narrow and cobblestone. I was to find out later anything built outside the walled fortress had wider streets made of regular road material.
Now this place is different from the rest of Mexico. This town sits on the edge of Campeche bay. You can look out to sea and see nothing but the watery horizon. Campeche was a main attraction for the pirates of the 1600's and the town had to build fortress walls around the city to protect it from sieges. Each time it didn't work they built the walls higher and stronger and added more cannons. Only the corners and one wall remain today. Each of the corner buildings holds museums and gardens. Very nicely presented for visitors. The sea wall and sidewalk is filled with fountains and monuments dotting its walking pedestrian ribbon along the cement wall holding the sea in place. Inside the old walled city the streets were narrow with one-way traffic alternating each block. Narrow sidewalks on each side of the cobblestone paved streets where cars parked on part of the sidewalk on one side of the street. Buildings built together with massive walls and doors to most of the buildings opened up to a center potion area courtyard surrounded by rooms. This was the standard plan of this era. Everything was clean and tidy. Not to many people and very quiet. I was to discover as I roamed around, that a lot of the buildings were empty with a lot of restoration and remodeling was going on.
I met a man my age staying at the hostel. The only other guests were a couple with a small baby. We all went out to eat at a corner restaurant on the plaza. I had breaded coconut shrimp, which were terrible. Then we went to the evening presentation the museum society gives on the pirate era and how Campeche was built. It was kind of corny, but it did the job. Inside the massive walls of the last wall of the original fortress they had a theatre set up with a movie, English subtitles, on the pirate action and how they sieged the town to death. At the end of the movie, one of the comments made in the commentary was: 'In the end the pirates became who they came to defeat, as they mingled and married they merged the different cultures into the Campecheones people.' Isn't that the way it goes all over the world? If you can't beat them, take your pants off and join them.
The next morning I went down to the sea wall. It was very pleasant so I thought I could walk along it all the way to the museum. Gad, it must have been 3 miles long, or so. By the time I was almost there the day turned so hot, I was fried; for real, as I didn't wear my vest. I also unzipped the legs of the pants and reduced them to knee length. As I came closer to the last few blocks the town turned into a residential area. Great houses. The place spoke of lots of money with houses sitting on the sea. A lady was coming out of her driveway and I asked her how far it was to the museum. She said not far and told me she would drive me the rest of the way. I sure was glad because the hill up to the museum was pretty steep and I was pooped already and very hot. She let me off and I sure thanked the Universe for that opportunity. The museum was located in an old fort building built during the siege times and was huge, cool and spacious. The museum was very wonderfully presented. Lots of Mayan sculptures and lots of small clay figures from the site of Jaina that have very fine details done in the ceramic clay. They had the jade masks from Calakmul, (some were on loan to the museum in Mexico City) and I had already seen them. Of course, no books in English and they wouldn't let me take pictures. These places need to have a book that have pictures of their displays so we can take home something of what we saw. Oh, well. I spent a couple of hours going from room to room. One room had a video of other sites and I sat in a chair to watch. After awhile the guard came in to check on me. I had dozed off and I think he must have heard me snoring. After that I ventured up on top of the wall and found parapets with openings filled with cannons. It was a great view of the city. Took some terrific pictures. When I saw all that I could see I started back to town. I managed to find a scarf in my bag that I had used on my wrist and tried to drape it across my shoulders. It must have helped, as that part of my back isn't as cremated as the front of me. The hat I bought for the trip is the greatest thing. Kind of like an Australian safari hat. Takes a beating and still pops back into shape. So, not even seeing a bus, taxi or combi I started walking back. I found a patio type place to eat and had a couple of quesidillas and quacamole. That may be my diet for the trip. At least it wasn't pizza that time or a ham and cheese sandwich. I felt better after that and it didn't take long to reach the hotel. I walked by an inner street from the seaside and found the church and many nice residences. I found another Cannon photo center to put my pictures on disk so I will upload them next. I explored a few shops and bought several T-Shirts. I worked on the Internet for a while and went back to the Pirate Hostel to call it a night. On the way up the tiny cobblestone street I couldn't pass up the ice cream store and bought one of the orange flavor covered ice cream bars, Yummy. More later, Gay