Saturday, March 1, 2008

Worst bus ride ever

Someone commented to me that it's confusing that the date at the top of the post doesn't match the dates I'm writing about in the post. I could change the post dates to match if that makes more sense to people. Let me know what you think. I'm about two days behind as of this current post. I wrote all this at the same time as the last one but I thought I'd break it up a little instead of one long one.

Bus stop in Chimaltenango
On Tuesday the 26th we got up at 5:30 and caught a bus around 6:45 for Chimaltenango, where we transferred to another bus to the Mexican border. This was nicer than the chicken bus, but there wasn't room for both our suitcases underneath so I had to carry one on. I brought it to the back and ended up sitting next to it on the long bench seat in the very back. It was extremely uncomfortable and the suitcase kept falling into me. The road was under construction and very bumpy. I finally realized that the seat was loose and was moving slightly forward with each bump so that I was losing all my leg room. When the bus stopped for a few minutes I was able to move the seat back some. After that I was careful to keep it in place when we went over bumps. When we got to Huehuetenango they said the bus wasn't going to continue to the border (they had been adding water to the radiator the whole way). We had to get on a chicken bus from there and it was by far the most uncomfortable ride we've had. We sat in the seat over the wheel well and those buses are already too cramped for gringo legs. Alaine got the window seat with no leg room at all and I sat next to her with a little bit of room if I put one leg into the aisle. Once the bus started filling up, though, I had someone sitting next to me (at least he was skinny) so I had to sit with my knees kind of spread apart and pushed into the seat in front of me with my the lower part of my left leg angled toward the center of the bus because of the wheel-well. Of course my leg started cramping after about an hour of this. Alaine at one point put her backpack underneath her butt and sort of sat on it without putting much weight on it. The scenery was beautiful though.

We finally got to the border, had some lunch and checked out of Guatemala. It was hot. We took a colectivo taxi for about $1 per person to go the 4km to the Mexican immigration point Cuauhtémoc. From there we took a 15 passenger van to Comitán ($3/person) and another colectivo ($3/person) to San Cristóbal de las Casas. There is a direct bus from Cuauhtémoc to San Cristóbal, but we would have had to wait 3 hours for it.

We found a clean, if dark, hotel room for $15 and then went out for a good Mexican dinner for about $3.50 per person.

The next morning (Wednesday 27th) It was very cold and rainy. We had a great breakfast at an indigenous coffee co-op, then wandered around and looked at other hotels and finally settled on one that was not as nice as our first one, but at least had a window to the outside on a big 3rd floor terrace. After checking in we got a little lost looking for the artesanía market behind a church where bought some nice stuff last year. We finally did find it and bought a few things.

Cold Alaine
After the market we had a disappointing but cheap dinner and then went to a bar that we had seen earlier that had 2 for 1 drinks and hung out there for a while. It was very cold inside the bar and we had to ask them to close the doors. After that we went back to the hotel and got under the covers and...

watched "Lost" and "A Daily Show" on my computer.

The next day (Thursday 28th) we had a disappointing breakfast near the hotel, bought bus tickets first class to Oaxaca ($35/person) for 10:45 PM, and then went and packed up and checked out out of the hotel. We shopped at a Zapatista store and then had some nice ice cream and now I'm sitting here typing this in the Bar Revolución drinking 2 for 1 Caipirinhas made with tequila. I haven't been able to connect to wireless anywhere in town. I think Ubuntu is to blame but since I can get online it is hard to find out anything.

Sorry, no expenses this time. It takes a lot of time and the numbers are all screwed up anyway. I'm going to have to go revising again when there's time.


paulcone said...

gringo legs? what does that mean?

deadeast said...

Wow this is so cool! I finally got around to tracking you guys..what a trip! Good luck and Alaine email me when you get to Texas or wherever! Roger from USA--Pura Vida!

Terry said...

Cool finding y'all online. Looks like an adventure. I'll have to catch up on the rest of the reading later.
All the best on your trip!

Noble said...

Gringo legs as in gringos are much taller than Guatemalans.