Villahermosa - The eleventh step ... Mexico City to Cancun via Guatemala & Belize - CycleBlaze

October 7, 2021 to October 9, 2021

Villahermosa

October 7th, 2021

There's not too much to be said about today's ride other than "Thank goodness that was the last of the R180 !".  Last night we decided to brave the R180 for another day and head straight to Villahermosa.  If we had taken the coastal route we would have ended up having to spend even more time on the R180 than by taking the direct route and we have had more than enough of the busy road and the petro-chemical industry.

The cathedral with two fine towers and, a sign of the times, a soup kitchen.
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Arriving at a hotel we had booked via Booking.com presented another challenge.  It more than an hour to resolve, mostly because of our bad Spanish and everyone else's lack of English, but it eventually it turned out that the hotel we were booked into was closed for renovations and we had been "upgraded" to a sister hotel (which goes for a lower price and I had already paid via Booking.com).  I was pretty grumpy but after a while I had to accept the situation.

A candidate for some of the tastiest food we have eaten so far in Mexico. Gringas al Pastor at a Taco bar down the road from our hotel. Gringas are the local name for tortillas made from white wheat flour as opposed to maize meal. Further north they are called Arabes. Al pastor is ("of the shepherd") is pork cooked on a skewer in the same way as a shawarma.
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No tumble dryer ? No problem ! Most hotels in Mexico have a hair dryer in the bathroom.
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We are spending three days here so we can get to some museums and to get some shopping done before heading off to Palenque and hopefully on to Guatemala.

October 8th, 2021

We had visited the town of La Venta on the way here hoping to see some of the remains of the Olmecan culture.  We knew that many of the artifacts had been moved to Villahermosa, mostly to the Parque Museo la Fiesta.  Unfortunately, this is a rather sad zoological garden and the pieces on display would have done so much better in situ at La Venta.

The top pieces were the stone heads, the first shown below being the best known.

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The Traveller. Note the footprint on the left.
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The basalt columns were used by the Olmecans to demarcate sacred areas, in this case a representation of a grave. What would this have been like if this had been left in situ at La Venta ?
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Alter with some nice carvings around the sides.
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Alter with some nice carvings around the sides.
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This one was entitled "The Governor".
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Monkey looking at the sky.
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Alter.
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Young goddess (apparently).
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What is remarkable is that some of the pieces above go back almost three thousand years.  I worry that their exposure in the zoo in Villahermosa will cause them to age and degrade faster than if they were protected from the elements.

There was quite a bit of bird activity around the museum/zoo but birding was difficult due to the lush vegetation but we did manage to get good views of some birds on the adjacent lake.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
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Later in the afternoon we visited the Casa De Los Azulejos, a building dating from the end of the 19th century whose interior and exterior walls are covered with lovely tiles and houses a small museum of Villahermosa's history, of which only one tiny exhibit had items of pre-Colombian Mexico.  Not really worth it, I am afraid, but the building itself was quite attractive.

The building housed what was Villahermosa's first pharmacy.
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October 9th, 2021

Today we headed for what is uspposed to be Mexico's second most important museum, the Museo Regional de Antropología Carlos Pellicer Cámara.  It has a mass of exhibits covering Tabasco's past stretching back to more than three thousand years ago.  It was mind blowing !  

Most of the exhibits were Olmecan and Mayan but there were lots from other cultures including Zoques, Aztec, Nahua, Toltec and Zapotec.  Photography was challenging because of the lighting and most exhibits were in cabinets.

It's the kind of museum that needs a few visits to take it all in.

The first thing you see when entering the museum is the second big head from La Venta,
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The second big head from La Venta.
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Zoques clay models were very distinctive.
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Mayan figures were easy to pick out.
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This fish was absolutely beautiful.
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My favourite piece - a man-bird (or bird-man ?).
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Proof that the Mayans invented frisbees.
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We had to get back to the taco bar where we had the nice gringas the day before yesterday, so headed there for a late lunch.  It was packed and there was an old geezer singing while he accompanied himself on a harp.  If you have ever heard "Linda Paloma" by Jackson Browne you may think this old man's music might have inspired the song.

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Tomorrow we head for Macuspana which is just another town on our way to Palenque.

Today's ride: 64 km (40 miles)
Total: 1,184 km (735 miles)

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