Monday, February 22, 2010

Traveling Tamaulipas, MX

How would you like to have your dad own a pastry shop? Graham and Katia treated our boys to royal treats as we passed by on a rainy day. "Pick anything you want, come on! What would you like?"

Just the beginning of the day, Victor took us for a circuit of the town and we ended up in front of a bunch of news cameras - a bit much for this family of five!

The yellow cathedral in Tampico.

Markos sips down a Manzana Escuus.

A old woman prepares lunch for us in her tiny, yet packed kitchen, Tampico.

Markos tries on a wooden mask at Sandra and Ernesto's in Tempoal, part of the festivities of the four day Day of the Dead celebration in this town.

A Brahma bull stares us down, one of many in pastures beneath the purple-hued coastal range.
Camped out in the pasture next to Rojilio's race horse stable, nine or ten of his neighbour children came to make sure our tents were erected properly.
What happened to the "p" in Sampson?

Just another day at school, thanks to the generosity of Ejido Carmen, we had a dry home in an empty unused school room.

We did our normal research when charting a route through unknown territory, talking to locals, referring to travel guides like Lonely Planet, and sending out inquiries to our travel friends by e-mail. What came back concerning the area of Mexico adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico was inconclusive. What we discovered was natural beauty, good roads, easy riding, warm and gracious families, plenty of medium size towns to meet our daily necessities, and unfortunately, a lot of foggy, misty and sometimes rain-drenching days.

We crossed the border from Reynosa, Tamaulipas to McAllen, Texas yesterday. We said good-bye to Mexico, a country our friend Lanier describes as "a carnival every day" and look forward with interest to Texas. Fortunately the panaderias (bakeries) and cautious, interested and protective drivers will continue north with us. Mexico's influence on this part of the United States is clear. One thing Sampson knows for sure, "it'll be nice to have toilets that have seats, and the back part attached, and a door that shuts and toilet paper" as we travel through the USA.

Markos writes:
Feb 13. Today we had cereal and yogurt for breakfast. After breakfast we watched a little cartoon, then we left the hotel and biked 30 kilometres to get out of town. Then we stopped at a gas station to have a break and we had a cheese bread and dad filled up the fuel (we use diesel to fuel our cook stove) and I went to the washroom. Then we got on the bikes and rode an hour more. Then we stopped on the side of the road to have lunch and a two layer cow truck came and dropped off all of them and it was really noisy.
Feb 17. Today we had pancakes with syrup for breakfast. After breakfast we took the table back to their house and threw our trash bag in the deep hole to burn. Then we went back and got on the road and rode for an hour. Then we had a snack break and had a banana.

Sampson writes:
Feb. 17 Happy #9 Birthday Mason! Today we woke up and had pancakes for breakfast. While we were having breakfast a dog peed on mom's pack and while we were doing that (cleaning it up) dad put the frying pan on the frisbee that was keeping the pancakes warm and the frying pan stuck on the plastic frisbee and broke the frisbee. After breakfast we said good-bye and went. An hour later we had bananas for snack. Later we got to a little town that we bought some snack bars at. An half an hour later we had a snack bar. Later we had lunch. After lunch we road 15 km to a town called Soto La Marina. We got some water there and we looked at the back of a couple hotels (for a place to camp) but we didn't find any. Then we kept riding on and we saw a place just down a road with a palapa and grill and grass. We looked around and said, "Let's camp here." So we camped there. We had chicken and beans and rice for dinner.
Feb. 18 Today we woke up and it was raining. I read a chapter in my book "The Silver Chair" Narnia. Later we had oatmeal and granola for breakfast. After breakfast we packed up and did school and went. An hour later we had a snack bar for snack. It was still raining. That hour we talked about wives' tales and about holidays. Later we had a snack bar and now the road was big and nice. It is still raining. A couple hours later we had lunch. We had peanut butter and jelly and apples for lunch. After lunch we kept riding and checked out a couple dirt roads. Later we had a chocolate for snack. Next we got to a little store where we got water and asked if we could camp at the school in town and they said sure. So we went to look, it had a giant shelter and a washroom and dry space. Later we set up tents and made a concoction for dinner. It rained all day but we went 70 km today.

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