We slowly started the day. We only had to be in Veracruz on Friday and it is 500 km. We shopped at Wal-Mart in the first big city. The front right break of the camper was making noise so we stopped 15 min before closing time at a garage. They had already changed clothes to go home. Still they jacked up the camper and replaced one of the worn brake pads with a spare one we had. Proudly we drove away. We had fixed it……

…..only to have the engine stop all together some 20 km down the road. The main drive belt had broken. Mostly that means an engine overhaul!!!  We were in front of a house and engaged the owner to call a tow truck. After 40 min a service truck for tourists arrived. They confirmed Rudy’s diagnosis and towed the camper back to town to the local VW dealer. We were allowed to park the camper behind the gate but were not allowed to sleep there. The service company drove us to a hotel in town. As luck will Monday is a national Holiday so only Tuesday (we arrived Saturday) will they have a look at the camper. 

While waiting for the VW workshop to open up, we walked a bit around the hotel and had our evening meals on small stalls along the road. Next to the hotel is also a more upmarket cafeteria which we also visited twice. Luckily the hotel had good internet that much of the evenings was spent watching, via VPN the Dutch TV for Rudy and for Jamaliah different British programs. On Monday we took the Uber-taxi to Parque-Museo La Venta. This is a park in a tropical setting with many large old trees. There are some local animals in cages but the main attraction are the many statues which have been salvaged from La Venta. This was an Olmec settlement (700 – 300 BC) and is one of the oldest in Mexico. They influenced many cultures that followed.

Rudy went to the garage on Tuesday and fortunately they assigned some mechanics to have a look at what the problem was. Initial they had good hopes that only the drive belt had to be replaced. We had a spare one they could use. Late in the afternoon, when they had removed the different wheels over which the drive belt runs, they came to the critical crankshaft. The wheel was wobbly, a clear indication that the crankshaft was broken. We need a major engine overhall or replacement. No diesel engines are available in Mexico so the Camper had to be towed to the harbour in Veracruz and shipped in a container back to Europe.

All of Wednesday was used to find a tow truck and arrange for a container in which the camper could fit. Fortunately our agent had a large, high, 40 ft  container available and 2 other packages to go in it (a sports car and 2 motor bikes). This then split the cost. Transporting the camper on a tow truck over 486 km was however not cheap (Euro 1260). But we did not want to leave our camper behind after he had brought us successfully around the world in 180,000 km since 2014 (with a few illnesses in between).

The tow truck arrived at 8:30 in the morning and the camper was loaded. There was only 1 passenger seat in the truck, so Jamaliah sat the whole trip inside the camper. When there were road checks she made sure they did not see her. Her high position allowed her to take some landscape pictures along the way. Finally after a more or less nonstop drive of 9 hours we arrived at the container storage site in Veracruz just in time before they closed the gate. The base plan was to come the next day to reorganise the luggage in sea freight and air freight. The container yard is however far out of town. Jamaliah went immediately to work to pack everything for the airfreight in the 2 suitcases we had while Rudy went on the roof to remove the air ventilator so that the camper would fit into the container.  We took a taxi into town.

The following day the final paperwork was signed and we were told that the camper would be loaded next Monday and most likely shipped on Wednesday. The rest of the day was spent walking along the water front into the old city. The waterfront is mostly used as harbour. Only a small beach section is there. At one point we saw the `Hoegh Yokoham` which was the RoRo ship on which our camper originally should have gone into. We made it as far as the central Zocalo plaza and sat observing Mexican life go by. At various point around the plaza small groups were making music and some locals were dancing. A stage was being prepared for an evening show. We will not go back into the town centre for that. Tomorrow we have to catch an early bus to Mexico City, 390 km.