A Fortress of Fabric and Foos

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January 22nd 2010
Published: September 16th 2011
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We pulled into the large clean Campeche bus stop just after sunset, and right outside the front doors we found two friendly and helpful cab drivers. They decided between themselves where the best hostel in town was, and asked us to hop in the back, they knew the way! Our cab driver navigated the busy and narrow streets like a pro and zigzagged back and forth until I was wondering which way was up! We then pulled into a magical lighted square in front of a postcard pastel cathedral, and he pointed at a welcoming staircase. Our hostel had incredible views of the lighted cathedral and park square, had free internet, and cost only 100 pesos ($8USD) a night!

Angela and I immediately hit the streets to find food and beer. After a quick study of the placemat map, it seemed obvious that we would find both in the “international restaurant and shopping” area. But as we walked towards the neighborhood, the street lights disappeared and tall fences protected giant buildings and empty parking lots. A giant….Wal-Mart? Movie theater? Sports Authority?!?! No way! We rounded the corner and there was a line of American fast food chains – Burger King,
the premier bus servicethe premier bus servicethe premier bus service

They may have the air conditioning set too low, but they have awesome reclining seats, movies, and sometimes a snack!
Wendy’s, Subway, and of course McDonalds! Oh my, this is NOT the international fare we were looking to find!
Hidden in between all the lights was a small neon sign marking Buffalo Wild Wings and Sports Bar….with a foosball table out front! We were thrilled to find it, and even more excited when we were able to order a Tall Tableside Beer Tower of Corona! After a heaping plate of BBQ chicken, potatoes, and corn on the cob, Angela and I scrounged our spare pesos for the music-playing foos table! The players were metal men with their faces painted in pained expressions…I was particularly bummed to have forgotten my camera because I’m fascinated by the variety of foosmen I’ve seen around the world!

The next day we got out to explore this town on the Gulf of Mexico in perfect sunshine. The downtown is surrounded by an old Spanish fortress wall that was built to keep out pirates and buccaneers and the homogeneity of the architecture inside these walls is pleasing to the eye. The streets of Campeche are lined with pastel building faces, white trim, and intricate, beautiful window bars. Also, we found there to be an abundance of fabric stores, each one trying to outdo the other in wild and shocking window displays! We wandered in a few of them and stared googley-eyed at the sparkly hats, feathers, miles of ribbon and shiny fabrics that shimmered, glittered, and sequined! I was even attracted inside the packed shops to thumb through clever T-shirts and $5 tops of every color, size, ruffle, stripe, or dot imaginable! I've taken mental note that if I ever need fabric or a new flashy wardrobe for cheap, this is my town!

We visited both of the performing arts centers looking to add some sophistication to our journey. We were thrilled to find that the ballet company of Campeche was celebrating 40 years of arts and had a free performance that night!

We got dressed up and got in line early, securing seats near the front. The ballet had a variety of dancers, male and female, young and old, and the performance was colorful and fun! Unfortunately, I had been enduring a guttural cough that was relentless in the theater – so noticeable that the local behind me handed me some Halls cough drops that almost saved me! Still the cough persisted and I had to leave the theater to choke and cough myself to tears. I went across the street to buy water and Angela and I moved to the back of theater so I could make a quick escape if necessary! I’m so glad we stuck it out, because the end of the production brought a two story woman onto the stage with a most magnificent red beehive of hair, detailed sparkly dress, and overflowing orange and yellow feather boa! She sang an operetta while a nimble ballet dancer spun circles around her and the stage! Applause! Applause!

While in Campeche, I realized that I had tens of thousands of Hilton “points” that were about to expire, so I looked up the nearest Hilton to us and thus we diverted our traveler’s pathway through luxury. The only Hilton in the area was about 20 minutes outside of the town of Villahermosa – which happened to be exactly halfway between Campeche and our next destination, Palenque. We walked into a massive marbled lobby and knew instantly we weren’t in Kansas anymore! Staying at a Hilton after weeks of hostels and shared bathrooms is quite shocking (as I found in Ecuador a couple years ago.) The child-like joy of discovering a white fluffy towel! Little soaps! SLIPPERS AND ROBES! And seven pillows on the bed? WOW! We spent the day eating American foods, enjoying the spa, and even playing a game of tennis. Who’s fancy now!?!?

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17th September 2011

awesome to hear you are still having an awesome time!
19th September 2011

A Little late
So even though this blog seems a tad behind, I loved reading about your trip!!! Keep 'em coming and GO PACKERS!

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