Tuesday 12 September 2023

1987 Travel Journal: Waiting for the bus to San Cristobal

I can never sleep very well when I know I have to get up earlier than normal for some reason.  That was true to form on my last night at Oaxaca.  After going to sleep, I woke up at 1:30, at 3:30, and then again at 5:30.  I had asked the hotel night clerk to wake me at 6:00, but by the time he came around I was already up, showered, and dressed.

My reason for the early rise was that I needed to get myself down to the bus station to catch the bus to San Cristobal de las Casas which left at 7:00.  I had no trouble hailing a cab to take me to the “autobus” terminal.  Oaxaca was still dark and fairly deserted as I was driven through town.  

I had been to the bus station the day before and remembered it being on the highway going through town.  As I was sitting in the cab, I noticed that the taxi was taking me away from town.  This was concerning and so I inquired to the driver and found out that he was taking me to the airport for some unknown reason.  (I suppose that is where he generally took Gringo tourists in the morning.)  It was his fault, I know my Spanish wasn’t that bad.

Despite the driver’s error, he got me to the bus depot in plenty of time.  Once there, I noticed a 50-ish Gringo woman, who seemed quite hyper, and was pacing  back and forth , dragging her suitcase.  Exhausted, she finally sat down on one of the benches, which prompted me to do the same.  I sat down beside her and she asked me where I was going and I replied,  “San Cristobal de las Casas”

    She then told me that she had just gotten off of the bus from there and while she was sleeping on the bus, she had had her purse, passport, and driver’s license stolen.

Still quite agitated, she continued:  She had $3,000 dollars on her person, so the thief didn’t get that, but her passport had stamps from countries all over the world where she had travelled, and she sure hated loosing that.  She was gradually calming down as she spoke.   She was waiting for a taxi to take her to the police station to report the theft.  When she had reported the theft to the bus driver, he just thought that it was funny.  She continued by saying that the bus driver, “Drove like a mad man, arriving in Oaxaca a whole hour ahead of schedule, and that many passengers were getting ‘seasick’ from his driving.

The woman’s distressing tale of her bus ride was not something I really needed to hear before I was about to board the same bus for the 13 hour ride to San Cristobal de las Casas.

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