Don’t do it!

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North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Progreso
November 24th 2018
Published: November 25th 2018
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This morning we were up very early as we are going to the Mexican Gulf at Progreso. We leave the hotel at 7am and walk to the bus station. A 20 minute walk at this time of the day is absolutely fine.

We locate the bus station, purchase return tickets and walk straight on to a bus. We even get seats near the front! We were expecting a chicken bus but actually it’s quite a nice air con one. We settle back in our seats and enjoy the 55 minute journey to the coast.

We have arrived in Progreso and already the heat is quite intense. We pass the first item of interest - a tall lighthouse. It’s been built quite a long way from the sea shore...making us wonder whether it is of much use at all?

We have reached the beach and our second point of interest - the long stone pier jutting out into the sea (probably the longest in the world, states our guide book)...hmmm, probably? We had planned to walk it’s length, but it’s not a pier to saunter along as we had imagined. The pier is more like a roadway to nowhere but it is quite congested with heavy lorries. Where they think they are going is anybody’s guess. We decide that a walk along this pier would most likely result in carbon monoxide poisoning. We give it a miss and take a walk along a boardwalk instead. This is equally disappointing and frankly it stinks!

We head back along the beach in the opposite direction. Here we get a surprise treat of a huge flock of pelicans in the water. This was something we hadn’t expected.

Now for the third and final reason for our visit - a swim in the Gulf of Mexico. There are no changing rooms so I undress on the beach with the help of my sarong for privacy - I knew I had been lugging that thing around for a valid reason! The sea is pretty calm but not a pretty colour. You might well think you were in England but for the fact that it’s much, much warmer. I have my swimming top on all the same - mainly because I don’t want to get burnt to a crisp. I have a 20 minute swim which would have been enjoyable but for the fact that there is still a very bad smell around here. I can’t help but wonder what I might be swimming in and make sure not to take in any gulps of it.

OK, swim done and all changed under the sarong, what now? Well nothing really. I think that to sum Progreso up we would say...if you are offered a cheap package deal here - don’t do it!

We head back to the bus station where there is a bus waiting. But since we are at the back of the queue, we decide to wait for the next one...they run every 10 minutes so there is no way I am going to stand. As anticipated there is another bus along very soon and, being at the front of the queue, we grab the front seats.

We have arrived back in Mérida and the bus sails past the end of our street. We are tempted to get off here, but decide it would be better to buy our bus tickets for tomorrow’s tour to Ruta Puuc. It’s difficult to do this tour on your own but they do run one weekly bus on Sundays so we think it might be popular.

We are deposited back at the Progreso bus terminal and walk a few blocks to the main second class bus terminal to make our purchase. Tickets secured, we take an Uber back to our hotel.

Now to discuss Monday’s tour with the staff here. We want to go to the cenotes of Cuzma. They are telling us that tour is not possible and are trying to sell us a tour to a different, ‘more beautiful’ (and more expensive) cenote. We smell a rat and decide not to commit yet!

I have a message from home to say that Dad had another fainting spell this morning so they are keeping him in hospital. They think that the pacemaker might need adjusting. I try the hospital - there are seven numbers for the cardiology wards and amazingly I get the right one! I am able to speak to Dad. He sounds in reasonable spirits despite all that is happening. Hopefully he will be home tomorrow.

I am now on the internet researching the local cenotes. You really cannot come to Mexico without visiting a cenote! For anyone not in the know, it’s an underground cavern where one can swim, snorkel or scuba dive...but more details about that on Monday! We find that there has been some kind of a turf war out at Cuzma so there might be a genuine reason why the tour operators don’t want to go there anymore. But in researching the alternative, I find that we can very easily do this trip ourselves using public we still don’t bother to book the tour as we would much prefer a DIY visit as it gives us far more flexibility in terms of timings and so on.

I had planned to swim in the pool this afternoon, but somehow the day seems to have slipped away. It’s almost dark and we go for dinner before an early night as we have a big day with an early start tomorrow!

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