Saturday 4 November 2023

1987 Travel Journal: More Bus Adventures

      While I was planning to get up early, I actually woke up at 3:30 AM, a whole lot earlier than I had intended.  I couldn’t fall back to sleep, although I tried.  Yesterday, I hadn’t been able to get an unanimous agreement to the question: What time would the bus to Cancun come down the highway? but the earliest answer to the question I got was 6:00, so I got out of bed at 5:30 so I could be standing out there at 6:00, just in case the guy was right.

I was quite surprised when I walked out of the hotel at 5:50 to find a bus parked in the hotel parking lot.   I asked the bus drivers who had evidently spent the night in the hotel, where the bus was heading.  Amazingly, they were going to be headed to Cancun, so when they were ready to leave, I climbed on board; the only passenger.

More passengers boarded along the way, filling up as we approached Cancun.  I then found out that the bus would be continuing on to Merida, which was exactly where I had hoped to get to today.  In Aukmal, an old peasant farmer got on the bus wearing a knock-off T-shirt.  Instead of saying “Adidas” it said “Abebas” and had the Adidas logo.  I had to take a second look at the shirt to catch it. 

Just outside of Cancun, the bus stopped at several street corners.  At one, an adolescent kid boarded and sat down beside me.  I didn’t pay much attention to him because I was more interested in looking out of the window, but I did notice that he had fallen asleep.

About an hour out of Cancun, the driver’s helper, who was collecting tickets, started making his way down the aisle, weaving his way in between and past all of those who had to stand in the aisle.  When he got to me, I had my ticket ready, but the guy beside me was still asleep.  The driver’s helper nudged the snoozing guy beside me, but got no response.  

He then shook the guy’s shoulder, and again, got not response.  Then he helper escalated his action, putting both hands on the guy’s shoulders and shook him so that his head wobbled back and forth, and still got no response!   I was beginning to wonder if I was sitting next to a dead guy.

Finally, the shaking and loud talk paid off.  My seatmate was alive, and he opened his eyes, but he was really out of if.   He was rolling his eyes, and not comprehending what was going on.  The bus helper, said loudly in Spanish, “Where are you going?” to which the sleeping passenger responded, “Cancun”.

The guy was not even on the right bus, with Cancun, miles and miles back in the distance.  The helper coaxed him out of the seat and told him to go to the front of the bus, which he did.  He was put out of the bus at a cluster of thatched huts beside the highway, and as the bus revved up his engine and left, I watched the guy, standing there, still dazed, trying to ponder his situation, as our bus once again started to truck down the highway.  Before the bus got into top gear, the driver had to honk his horn, to scare a pig off of the pavement.

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