Finally on Monday the 21st of February I got the van back. Quite quickly too, compared to how the process was going until this day.
Already at 9:00 I was expected at the office, after which we drove to the port again. We had to wait for some papers to be seen and/or signed of, and the van was released. I drove away at around 11:00, but I was still inside the port area. To really leave, I had to line up and wait…4 rows of trucks and other cars all waiting to get out of port.
But at 13:30, after three more gates I was finally out and on my way. Still, I had to drive 10km more before I finally came on the road back to Veracruz to pick up my stuff.
I had a good distance to cover to be reunited with Marcia and Binkie, so I think I already had a fair view on the primary roads and driving behaviour. I was a bit worried before driving here because, on dedicated facebook pages (on the road to mexico for example) there is a lot to do about road safety in Mexico. And with all that reading, in theory, the roads were very bad and it would be like some kind of wild west. Well, in reality, the primary and secondary roads are not so bad. Outside the cities and communities, you can speed along just fine with maximum speeds of up to 110km/h. There are however some potholes that are best avoided. Usually when other vehicles start swerving sideways, it’s time to look out for these potholes. And there are topes (speed bumps) within community limits that are best taken in first gear. Those are generally announced when other drivers start using their alarm lights. And, yes, there are also police checkpoints every now and then, but I was waived through each and every time (up to now anyway). The drivers themselves, including the truck drivers, are generally relaxed. No strange or stupid things happened, although (nothing new) some prefer quite high speeds and overtaking, but the roads are generally wide enough to accommodate this. I would say, on average, road conditions do not differ that much from, let’s say, Bulgaria, Turkey, or any other country in that region.
Things that are quite different are the traffic signs, traffic lights (they are on the other side of the crossing, and there is usually not a stop line. Turning right is allowed even if the lights are red, but of course “green” traffic has right of way. Trucks quite often carry double trailers, making them extra long. Road are generally straight. Inside town it is a grid lay out, and outside of town if there is a bend or corner, it is considered so rare that it is announced far up ahead. Then, when you finally go through the bend you can’t help but thinking “what was all the fuzz about?”
Well, I made it safely back “home” to Cancún and now it is time again to go on the road together again.