Campeche is a very quiet, very pretty little town. When I arrived off the bus last night and went for a walk you would have thought I was the only tourist in town - I didn`t meet a single other person that was a non-Mexican. Situated right on the sea (no beach sadly, the water comes right up to the walls), it´s an old town with fortified walls that had a habit of being invaded by pirates on a regular basis. It´s got a lot of beautiful churches, a tree filled zocalo and a cute little tram like train that does a route around what`s left of the old city walls and bastions. It apparently also has a pirate ship that takes you out on sailing trips around the bay, but I found out about it too late to organise anything as I was really only on a one day stop off. So sadly all my pirate fantasies are still unfulfilled.
Instead I had a lovely day walking around the route that marked the old city walls; over the surviving battlements of the land gate and visiting the various museums that are inside the remaining little forts (variously art galleries, botanical gardens and pirate museums. Yes pirate museums.). Wonderfully cheesy pirate museums they are too, all skeletons and jolly rogers and overflowing treasure chests. I´m sorry they only do the Son et Lumiere shows based on pirate attacks on a Monday night!
A walk along the seafront was almost the end of the day. As I was walking, a lot of people seemed to be gathering along the promenade, some with chairs, some with bags of food. My natural curiosity aroused, I bagged a space on the sea wall and settled down to see what was happening. Okay, if I´m being completely honest it was also next to the open air gym where a few rather nice looking young men were working out, but that´s sheer coincidence. Vendors then started to appear down the street - plastic glittery tiaras, tacos, bracelets, belts, hats, fritos, corn, candyfloss - if it could be stuck on a stick it was being sold.
Talking to some of the locals around me, I found out that tonight was the start of canival in Campeche; bands, floats and the carnival queen were all due to be heading down the street. So I invested in a dayglo pink Barbie tiara* and a bag of nachos and waited for the fun to begin. Sadly, none of the photos turned out well enough to post (too blurry) so I can`t share any of them with you! It was great fun though; a huge brass band, dancers, and a gentleman in a convertible who caused every female under the age of 21 to scream as if their life depended on it!
*Sadly, like I say none of the photos turned out, what a shame!