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Published: October 23rd 2018
What to do in Chihuahua on a Monday - the day when nearly everything is closed? We still have the National Palace and the Cathedral to see, other than that it’s a wander around their shopping centre! We are booked on a late overnight bus tonight (it doesn’t leave until 11pm) and we have to vacate our room by midday so I think there is going to be quite a bit of hanging around! We decide to remain in our room till check out, loiter this afternoon and have our evening meal before checking in for our 12 hour bus journey.
We have decided to turn up at the bus station quite early to check in as, worryingly, our allocated seat numbers are showing as ‘available to book’ online! There isn’t much we can do about it but we do hope that they have not taken the airline approach of double selling seats! We purchased our tickets weeks ago and have had email confirmation as well as a printout of our tickets...so fingers crossed.
In addition, we have had an email warning from AirBnb this morning about a storm brewing. There is a category 4 hurricane hitting the Pacific
Coast right now. It is due to increase to category 5 (ie dangerous to very dangerous) over the next 24 hours. Whilst we are nowhere near the Pacific, it is predicted to move inland in the direction of Monterrey (our next destination), causing flash flooding and landslides. Not great news since our night bus is headed through mountains and desert...but there is no sign of any wind or rain right now.
It’s noon and room kick-out time, so we stack our bags in reception and head out for a light lunch.
We are in the Mexican restaurant up the street. None of the soups appeal so we both order what looks like chilli con carne with a request that they don’t make it too spicy! The usual basket of tortillas arrive (freshly made and too tempting to resist) along with a complimentary soup, much the same as last night!
And now our meal has arrived looking something like a savoury Christmas pudding with chips! It’s certainly not chilli con carne as we know it! It turns out to be a sphere of white rice, with vegetables and beef strips inside and covered in some kind of gravy-like
sauce. It’s delicious but definitely not the light snack we had been looking for!
We are so full, we practically roll out of the restaurant and down towards the square. We call into a chemist to get some cough medicine for Ian, whose cold appears to be getting worse rather than better.
We begin with the Cathedral, which doesn’t take long. It’s very ornate but we have seen better already in Mexico. The Plaza de Armes square is understandably quieter than yesterday, but still a fair few folk around all the same.
We make our way towards the City Palace and on towards Plaza Mayor with its impressive bronze friezes.
What else can we do to fill our afternoon? Not much, it would seem. There are a few black clouds around so we head off for a promised ‘shopping plaza’. The promise is lacking and we are feeling a little vulnerable as we are now in an isolated street with a few odd characters lingering around...and I don’t mean us. We pass a large building labelled ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ as well as a few liquor stores! We branch off towards a busier street to find nothing but
a tacky looking indoor market.
So it’s back to the main square to enjoy the music, a takeaway coffee and to write up the blog! Only four more hours till dinner time and food is still not at all high on our agenda!
It’s 3.30pm and the seats in the square are starting to feel very uncomfortable so now for yet another wander around the rows of shops which have nothing of interest for us to purchase. Chihuahua is the place to come if you want a wedding dress or a pair of cowboy boots - seriously, you have never seen as many gaudy dresses or intricate toe pinching works of art. :-)
We manage another half hour of wandering before we give in and head back to the hotel. There is a pretty little garden with a couple of waterfall features which make it a pleasant resting place...if only it were a little warmer. We are surrounded by mountains here and as the day closes, the temperatures drop dramatically! We may have to move to the uncomfortable bench in reception before too long! Ian checks for the latest weather update. It seems that the storm has
not hit Mazatlan yet and is due to peter out on it’s way to Monterrey - hopefully arriving after we have left!
It’s 7pm and we are still not the slightest bit hungry - no point in eating for the sake of it! We pick up a few bits from the supermarket and then call our Uber. It’s hellishly early but having looked online we see that one of our seats has now been sold to someone else - there are now only two seats left on the bus and we want to make sure they are for us!
Our Uber arrives and takes us to the bus station. The trip takes much longer than anticipated - having been dropped at a different station when we returned from Creel, we had not realised how just how far out of town it is. It’s practically at the airport! As soon as we are inside we recognise it as being the right place, the same station that we were dropped off at just over a week ago after our mammoth detour.
We find the desk to book in. We don’t say anything to begin with, but it’s soon very
clear that the double selling that we had suspected is correct. The guy behind the desk is taking an age to book us in. Then we see that he is crossing out our seat numbers. We are pleased that we are actually going to be on the bus but not really happy to be taking the two odd seats that they have left. I decide to challenge it, typing into my translator that I have seen the problem online and that’s why we are here three hours early. Given that we booked our tickets several weeks ago, and they only sold the one ticket today, please can they ask the person that only purchased their ticket today to move...especially as they have only bought a single seat? I explain that since this is a night journey I would like to sit beside my husband. A bit of head scratching goes on and we are assigned seats one and two...next to each other and at the front of the bus. I can only conclude that these seats are held back much like we have seen on airlines as these were also showing as occupied yet the guy assures us the seats
Now we just have three hours to wait on the uncomfortable bus station seats - definitely no executive lounges here. This might have been OK except that we have now been targeted by a couple with a hard luck story. They have just been deported from Texas and have not eaten for two days. There is a huge temptation to give them some food but then we might never get rid of them, a bit like our ‘friend’ in Creel. When nothing is forthcoming they stomp off in a huff.
Now, three ladies have arrived. Thankfully they occupy the seats opposite so we have been saved from a return by the hapless couple. The ladies are a mother and two daughters. One daughter has been recuperating after an accident and is now returning to her husband in Saltillo. The mother and sister are here to see her off.
The bus station does seem to be a refuge for the homeless. There are folk rough sleeping all over the place: on the floor and across the bench seats...maybe that’s why they are so uncomfortable! Anyway, we seem to have been left to our own devices now
and appear to have survived. Our bus is due in half an hour and we are going to ensure that we are front of the queue as our man has gone off duty to be replaced by someone else...we don’t want any further seating misunderstandings!
In the waiting area behind us, a family has arrived with mountains of luggage and half a dozen huge gateaux-type cakes. They have upturned a cardboard box and are using it as a table. They are slicing the cake up and handing it round to everyone in the bus station! We can only assume they have been at a party or a wedding reception and these are the leftovers? We thank them kindly but decline on this occasion. It’s the type of cake that looks gorgeous and usually tastes vile - sponge with buttercream - and definitely not good for the waistline. :-)
It’s 10.45pm and our bus has arrived. Ian is despatched to stow the main luggage whilst I ensure that I am first on the bus to claim our seats! The driver inspects the tickets at length and I am expecting a problem at any moment, but it turns out that
he is just looking for some scissors so that he can return our portion. In the end he decides to fold and tear!
Although the bus is full as per the online diagram, all four front seats are vacant - thus we spread out in the hope of a decent nights sleep.
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