Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Movie Set Town of Wild Wind and Nasty Dogs & Shrimps

Progreso, Mexico, February 13th to 17th 2018

Progreso is a small harbour town, with 6 km pier to beat the shallow shore. The pier was built in the 20's by Finns, I heard, and didn't bother to check the fact, since I like to gather extra points for my nationality. Whenever suicide and depression rates are discussed, I pretend I'm from Bulvania.

You can hardly see the end of the pier

As I arrived, the town was full of people, since it was the hey day of the Carnevale, with a parade and other festivities. The beach boulevard Malecon was packed with crowds, treats and tivolies. I may have eaten a marquesita or four, with both cheese and nutella. Wild life!

A surprise parade! Again!

Malecon on Tuesday

None of it was left the next day. 

Malecon on Wednesday

After that, it was all quiet on the eastern part of the town, where I stayed. Except for the wind. The wind never stopped blowing, not even during nights. There were barely any people on the streets nor on the beach, most of the seaside cafés closed. 

The amount of abandoned houses was remarkable and their looks fascinating. Of course, there were the lovely coloured and very much lived in houses, too. I could say the town is kind of lame, but with a weird feeling that anything could happen. If Federico Fellini and Aki Kaurismäki would have made a movie together, this would have been a perfect location. 

Oh my Godfather, I loved it!

One of the abandoned houses on the seaside
There were the colourful views...

...and the not so fancy ones.

The pier area, however, is another thing entirely. The daily cruise visitors have made the surrounding streets somewhat tourist oriented. Like "Taxi? Taxi? Taxi?" in Bali, "Massage lady?" was the signature call here. All the travel-magazine-like pictures are taken close to the pier, but the reality is way more boring.

I noticed the cruise effect in the online restaurant reviews, too. If there is a nice waiter nicknamed Joe who speaks English, dollars are accepted and there's a hearty burger on the menu, good reviews are granted. Still unaware of that, I chose a nice looking restaurant by the pier with good reviews, and ended up eating outside to avoid a Irish style troubadour, drunk retirees and horror movie lighting. My spagetti was lukewarm on arrival and chilled to freezing in the blowing wind, which also made my hair mix with the spagetti, not that I could make any difference. I hit some nasty tasting shrimps in my dish and decided, against my deepest held beliefs, stop eating midway.

There were good restaurants, too, but the whackamole effect of opening times was even stronger here than in Mérida. I ended up eating pretty much any place that was open. La Antigua was a good bet, with fine food and nice patio with some visibility to the sea. There was also a cozy, regurarly open and good Indian restaurant called Comida India. And loads of interesting-looking places, never open.

A sea view. Note the palm tree bending in the wind.

Compared to the gentle beasts of Holbox, the dogs here were killers. Not the ones roaming around the streets, but the ones behind fences. They waited in total silence until I was right beside them and then started a full blown barking charge, with the intention to cause me a heart attack. No doubt. I barely lived to tell.

For hammocking Progreso is not ideal, since the beach is pretty much poleless and the wind would have taken me away anyhow. Luckily, my hotel room had a high ceiling and huge windows, so I could just open the latter (and jam them to keep them open in the wind), lie on my bed and pretend I'm having a nap outdoors.

Pieces of information
• Progreso in Wikitravel
• Other people exploring Progreso: Trips, Tips and Tortilla Chips, Yucatan for 91 Days,  A Life by Design

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