After Popocatepetl with his lover filled our minds with dreams, we had to go back to reality after landing in Villahermosa. We did not see the town, as beautiful as it may be, because there was not time and our concern was to get the two cars rented online by Alejandro.
Surprise! The car for Alejandro and Fernando was OK but the car I was supposed to drive was not the manual Volgswagen required but an automatic Renault Clio. The explanation – they didn’t have another available car. Just like that! I start swearing instantly because I had not driven an automatic before and the car was a little too small for three people with three-weeks luggage.
Finally, we manage with the luggage, passing a part to the boy’s car and Alejandro shows me how to drive an automatic. I get quickly as it’s not difficult and we start towards Palenque (Chiapas), at 150 km from Villahermosa where we stayed two nights.
But before telling you about Palenque, which is a long story, let’s talk a little about driving in Mexico. I drove there about 1000 km. First of all, that car did not convince me to switch to the automatic system or at least to like it. Honestly, I felt a little annoyed that I could not push it as I wanted it which, actually, it might have been for the best in Mexico. The speed limit was 90 km/h in most cases, on good roads (some with two wide lanes on each sense) where we could have easily driven 150km/h. Over only one part of the road in Yucatan, which looked like a highway (although officially it was not one) we could drive at 110km/h. That was very frustrating! Moreover, we let the guys drive in front of us as it was normal considering Alejandro was at home and he would not go over the speed limit for anything.
And he would not let Fernando drive faster either. Any time Fernando would take a little bit of speed to my great delight, Alejandro would just make him slow down.
Well, although frustrating, it was probably a good decision as we were never stopped by the police. We were stopped by the army people at some point but I’ll tell you about that later.
It’s also true that after the boys left Mexico (they had to leave earlier than us because they were supposed to go back to their jobs, to our sadness), during the last two days in Yucatan I drove at about 120km/h without any problems but maybe I was just lucky.
In case you intend to leave the main roads and go to secondary ones, be sure you have a GPS or at least a very good map. We had no GPS but we did have a good detailed map and yet, when we tried to take a shortcut thinking we would get faster to the sites we wanted to visit, we actually wasted time because the roads we not so well signalled and we did not get as easily as we thought, but that again is another story.