Saturday 11 November 2023

1987 Travel Journal: Back to Mexico City

        Those damn church bells that have been following me off and on during my trip have found me again, and clanged away at 5:00 AM.  I finally crawled out of bed at 7:00, showered, dressed, and packed.  I walked out onto the empty street and into the refreshing morning air, which lasted until I turned the corner by the park and was suddenly engulfed by the chaos of traffic, contaminating both the air ands the quiet.  More Huevos Rancheros for breakfast, but this time joined with a basket of French bread. 

        Returning to my hotel room, I gathered up all of my belongings and started the long trek to the bus station, where after an hour twiddling my thumbs waiting, boarded the Ado “autobus” for my return to Mexico City.  It’s a twenty-one hour bus ride.   After we passed through Campeche, the bus travelled along the coast, so I was treated with seeing a string of pelicans flying in a straight line, low over the water.  I also saw bushes in a field practically obscured by a large flock of white egrets sitting on its branches.

        In a bus stop at the city of Villamosa, I refueled, eating a tamale and some watermelon, remembering that watermelon was oddly good for treating diarrhea.  To top off my meal, I bought a chocolate bar and wandered over toward the door and before I started to devour it.  A stranger then walked up to me and handed me a 1,000 Peso bill.  Evidently, I had dropped it while buying the candy bar.  Honest people!

        The bus is equipped with a red light pointed toward the passengers.  It “beeps” and flashes whenever  the driver exceeds 90 km/hour.  It was a long night trying to go to sleep on the bus.  I remember waking up at some point during the night, getting off, wandering around in a daze, then re-boarding.  I woke up again at 3:00 AM, then spent the rest of the night alternating between dozing and waking.

        Like I remembered from the same bus trip five years earlier, as we approached Mexico City, which is 7, 350 feet above sea level (as high as the mountain tops around McBride) it began getting very cold.  I was better prepared for the cold this trip because I already had a shirt, sweater, and jacket on, but it still felt cold.  The streets of Mexico City were jammed with buses, people, smog, and noise.  

        I was happy to have survived my last bus trip in Mexico, although this last bus was very civilized, but as soon as I hailed and got into a Mexico City VW Beetle taxi to travel across town, I began to think my optimism about Mexican transportation safety was premature.  The cab was literally falling apart, with some dials of the dashboard dangling loose.  Several pedestrians, were almost smacked into oblivion by the taxi as it tore through the city.  Safety regulations, if they exist in Mexico, never seem to be a top priority.


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