Delayed by stomach cramps, laziness, and the first part of ScarFace that we´d missed, we left the air-conditioned room late and headed out of Veracruz – rubbish place, not going there again. It was seriously hot, so promising “sensible riding” we relegated the bike jackets to the back of the bike and rode in t-shirts – sooooooo much better…lovely and cool…ahhh…apart from the whiplash sting of a 60mph insect hitting bare flesh. The road climbed gently through the now-green hills – funny to think that not long ago we were riding through desert! – in this part of Mexico the climate is much more humid and so there´s a lot more flora and fauna around. Both sides of the road are thick with lush green vegetation – palm trees, banana trees and dense green undergrowth – and occasionally lizards, disturbed from their sunbed, skitter across the road in front of us. Most impressively, butterflies are everywhere – imagine the humid butterfly house at the zoo and you´ll be close – every shape and size, wandering delicately out of the trees and fluttering fatalistically into the road, where they´re either swept upwards on a slipstream rollercoaster or collected, with a faint “pooffff”, by our visors. Sad, and probably very symbolic, somewhere along the line. We were aiming for the large and unpronouncable city of Coatzacoalcos, decided that big places = theft (and crap traffic systems) and so changed our minds and headed for the smaller town of Agua Dulce, fondly imagining quaint hotels with hand-washed bedsheets and…well, we weren´t, but you get the picture. It´s not a very nice place…at all. If you want any more info, look in the dictionary (English, preferably) under “grotty”. One textbook U-turn later and we were heading for Coatzacckkklllrrrrsss again – it´s now about 7pm, and it´s getting dark – which turned out to be our second mistake, as after five miles of petrol/gas/kerosene fumes we realised we´d ridden into the epitomy of the industrial town, probably Mexico´s biggest live-in refinery, and if we didn´t run away we were going to develop a serious oil habit. Filling up at one of the numerous, yet ironically expensive, nearby fuel stations, we turned round AGAIN – getting good at these U-turns – and headed for Cardenas, 114km (about 70 miles for those not yet metricised) away – it was now about 8pm and dark…very, very dark. Unlike Mexican shops and petrol stations, Mexican wildlife (no sombreros) doesn´t stop at night, so we found ourselves riding at 50mph through dark that was very full of Big Flying Things. These bounced off visors with a solid WHUMP, which shouldn´t be confused with the standard “pooffff” of a butterfly – these moths (etc) were big. Added to the challenege of dealing with unmarked roads, slow lorries and impatient (and probably drunk) Mexicans, and in all seriousness we doubted we´d survive the first twenty miles. Thankfully the road markings came out of hiding, the traffic calmed down and after fifty more miles of bug-eyed staring into the rushing blackness ahead a hotel sign appeared…result! The free coke (liquid) was more welcome than champagne and we piled into bed about 10.30…what a nightmare…we are NEVER riding at night again!