A Dog had to Die for me to get to Palenque

Published: March 8th 2017
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It's a sad statement to make, but the title of this post is true. For real. I didn't kill it, and I didn't have to make sure that someone somewhere would kill a dog just so I could get a ride from Flores, Guatemala, to Palenque, Mexico. But a dog did die, and I was absolutely disgusted. It wasn't like the dog ran out in front of my transport, either. It was in the middle of the road, looking the opposite direction, and Carlos (the driver) did slow down. But not fast enough. As we were passing where the dog was, I heard a little thud but nothing else. I was shocked, and so I turned to look out the back window of the van and sure enougb, there was a dog lying on its side, not moving. I thought we might stop, but nope. Just kept on going. I was nauseated for quite a while after that. Maybe it was a stray? They're everywhere down here. That doesn't make it better, but I hope there are no more broken hearts beside my own about this gentle beast.

The above incident happened less than an hour into my transport from Flores to Palenque. Not much really went as expected. First off, I was the only passenger. And it turns out that the Guatemalan driver takes you to the border and then hands you over to another driver. I was told 6.5 hours in duration, but in reality it was over 7. I guess that's not such a big deal in Central America. And I did only pay $30 for the trip.

The border crossing was easy in Guatemala. Show them your passport, get it stamped, and move along. No further questions. Getting into Mexico, though, was serious business. And very professional. I had to fill out two forms with addresses for my stay, and then my bags were searched twice. That was a pain, but I know why they do it.

My transportation in Mexico was smoother, more spacious, and involved killing no animals. But it was 4 hours from Flores to Mexico, and then 2.5 hours to Palenque. Going through customs and then waiting on the next transport was almost an hour. At least there were two other people with me for this part - a 20-something couple from Poland.

Now I'm in Palenque, and my hotel is very nice. The Hotel Maya Tulipanes. I've already arranged an all-day tour of Palenque and the surrounding sites for tomorrow, and then I bought a bus ticket to Villahermosa tomorrow night. Two and half hours to get there, but I've got a flight to Cancun the next morning from there. I was surprised how much I was able to do the espanol at the bus counter. No questions I couldn't handle and no instructions I misunderstood.

In lieu of coherent content for the rest of this blog post, I'm just going to paste in my list of observations I kept as the journey grew ever longer. I hope you enjoy them:

Two military checkpoints in Guatemala. What are they looking for?
Taxi bikes are everywhere out here.
Mopeds galore, dirtbikes, and they all drive as if they own the road without ever moving at any appreciable speed.
Ran over a dog. Damn.
Stopped at a petrol station for pit stop. Got some ice cream for the first time. Hope it mixes well with the ice parasites in my coke from this morning.
Guatemala exit was easy. Belize could definitely take a lesson.
Lady threw up in a bathroom on the Mexican customs side. It was loud.
Another lady showed up with food to sell to those waiting in line. Right as I was leaving, of course. It smells good.
Mexican military checkpoint within 3 minutes of leaving the border.
Speed bumps are basically the only way I know we're passing through a town.
Mexican minibus has proper a/c. The Guatemalan van just rolled the windows down. Not too bad until it started raining.
Saw a pair of boys - about 8 and 5 - walking along the side of the road; the younger one was completely naked. No big deal.
Polish guy turns to me and asks, "Do you know what is the Spanish language word for toilet?" So I tell him. He uses it immediately.
There's a noose hanging from the rear-view mirror of this minibus.

That's all my notes. I got bored, ya know. I'm going to check out the hotel restaurant tonight and really just chill for the rest of the night. It was a long day on the bus, and I'm still sorry that an animal had to die for me to get here.

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