October 28, 2008

Xtreme Travel

I'm back from Sacalum, a Maya village in truly God's country! But, what an extreme traveling experience! In the last hurrah, one can only hope, of tropical storm season, I chose to travel with a friend by bus. Not much like "Trains, Planes and Automobiles," but close enough.
We took a LUXURY, not First Class, bus to Merida. I have never been in such a cocoon! There were three seats to a row, one plus two. You get a little bag with your amenities, ear buds and ear plugs, a soft drink and eye mask. You sit down with a blanket, a pillow and the seats are bigger than most home recliners. Five TV screens and a first class movie with the ear buds so no one talks at all. If they do, there's always the ear plugs.
Curtains are drawn in the coach and across the driver's cab. It's like being in a dark bedroom with 21 other people. Only, the AC was a lot colder than I'd ever dare use in my bedroom. LED display hovered between 21 and 24 degrees, since everyone had their own climate control overhead.
Since I barely slept the night before, I did the cocoon thing with the blanket and redundant eye mask and chose not to watch the suspense move with the ear buds. A couple Mexican businessmen cracked open the curtains do read their brief cases, but for the most part, it was as quiet as a cemetery.
The recliners were were plush upholstery down to your ankles. The restrooms, male and female, had a coffee and tea station between them.
The movie, my friend said, was Mexican suspense. When I peekd, it looked artsy to me. Wooden dolls being painted, put in a dolly mausoleum, and real cemetery scenes to follow.
Hrumph. Note my genre. Close eyes again. Arriving in Merida just ahead of a 24 hour downpour, we got into the street and my friend said if we walked a block, we could find a Yellow cab that wasn't based in the hotel zone and save a bundle of money. But first, a pit stop in the cab union station for a restroom.
Then a 10 peso cab to a square where the Maya colectivo vans, vagonetas, where we piled into one with 15 other people like sardines. For 25 pesos, we were on our way, another hour from where we were going.
Once we got there, there were tricyles built for two passengers or the one cab that could take us to Ticul, a charming little city. Or an hourly large bus to Ticul, a charming little city.
In Ticul, more tricyle cabs and a few tricycle cabs where the driver didn't peddle, but had a motorcycle pushing the seats for two. We went to Ticul for a baptism and to shop a bit. It is known for its shoes and jewelry. We got neither, but had fun!
Coming back, we took commuter bus to Ticul with workers headed for Merida, and then another bus from the charming bus station, headed for Merida. That bus wasn't filled with workers, who took a vagoneta, but with shoppers and businessmen. We got off not far from the market and took a cab into it. There I got a 25 peso hair cut, a bit short but not a bad DA, and high tailed it to the bus station after picking up some food to go. Then, on to Cancun in a First Class bus. We got a little bag with a soft drink and ear plugs, two plus two seats to a row, a view of the driver's cab and a display that showed if the men's or women's rooms were occupied.
On the three screens was "3:30 - Road to Yuma," again, not my genre, but Russell Crow looked great when I glanced at the Spanish subtitles.
We ate our volcanos, a masa, beans and pumpkin seed cake with salsa and slept without pillows, blankets or calf support in our recliners almost until Cancun, opening our curtains as we approached to take in the sights. Very industrial and commercial on the outskirts of Cancun, a less than charming big city.

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