A day at the movies


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North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Merida
November 22nd 2018
Published: November 23rd 2018
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Palenque to Merida


Today we travel to Mérida. There are no passing taxis outside our hotel so our host summons one. We say our goodbyes and arrive at the ADO bus terminal in good time. Today they check in the luggage but don’t bother to weigh it. We pick up some sandwiches, a bottle of water and, joy, a cup of vanilla coffee! The cash machine has been fixed so we make a withdrawal, then settle ourselves by the big fan that we discovered yesterday.

Our bus has arrived and we make a prompt departure at 8am. Always a good start. We are due to arrive at 4.30pm. I booked the second row of seats as the front ones offer less legroom and I’m pleased to see we have a Dutch couple in front of us - they are less likely to want to sleep on our laps for the entire journey!

The bus is playing a film called ‘Black Swan’. The volume is, as usual, very high but at least it appears that it’s not one of their usual awful shouting, fighting, shoot out, car tyres squealing films which seem to be so popular here. The film is about a ballet dancer who makes it to a lead part in Swan Lake but then finds that she is competing with another dancer who also wants the part. A number of weird things happen and, this eventually leads to a lot of screaming and violence. Having tried to follow it so far, I resort to Wikipedia to read the plot. It turns out that all the weird things were in the dancer’s mind and didn’t happen at all. This includes a scene where she appears to murder her rival with a shard of broken glass. Once more this is an hallucination and she has, in fact, murdered herself...at least I think she dies after her star performance? Nutter. I’m not sure I would have understood this film if it had been in English but apparently it’s about the search for artistic perfection and it won several awards.

Meanwhile, our bus has taken a strange detour on a road that goes nowhere in the vague direction of the Guatemalan border. It looks like we went there to pick up more passengers and now we have to backtrack. No wonder these bus journeys take so long!

The film has finished so it’s time for a few adverts. First a preview of all the wonderful places we can visit on an ADO bus - in particular on their executive buses. Now a big thank you to ADO for their support of the breast cancer screening trailers...aptly named ‘check boobs’! Yes, it’s really true. Now a pictorial slide presentation as to how to check our own boobs. Finally a safety presentation about the bus...where the emergency evacuation hatches are and how to open them in case of a crash, the location of fire extinguishers in case of a fire, how to buckle our seat belts in case of a topple and finally how to manually open the front door of the bus in case we would now like to run off screaming.

We appear to have made very little progress on the map and now we are presented with another dubbed American film. This is even harder to follow, even if you speak Spanish, because the driver has decided to drown the sound out by playing annoyed Mexican music through the loudspeaker system. It’s a pity as this one seems quite interesting. Something about a backpacker walking a long distance footpath with flashbacks to her childhood and scenes with her mother, including her mother’s death. It may have been a true story as there are photos displayed alongside the credits at the end.

Now we are at another bus station. Four hours in and only a third of the distance covered. We can only hope that we get some toll roads or else a 4.30pm arrival will be a very optimistic target. Time for lunch. We were able to pick up wholemeal bread sandwiches this morning which is a bit of a rarity here.

It’s almost 1.30pm and we have reached the Gulf of Mexico. Our route takes us right along the shoreline. The sea is calm, blue and glittering in the sunshine. Unfortunately our seats are on the wrong side of the bus for the best views.

It’s 5pm and we have finally arrived in Mérida, only 30 minutes late after all. We have been treated to the same film twice this afternoon...some sci-fi thing, so not my cup of tea. The film had a blip when it was nearing its end and decided to play from the beginning again! Anyone watching it would not have managed to see the end as it had a second blip just as we were nearing our destination.

I have just had a message with good news about Dad. He is due to have a pacemaker fitted tomorrow! I think this is good news as it means they have worked out what the problem is and hopefully this will fix it.

It is pouring with rain as we leave the bus station. We call an Uber to take us to our hotel and shelter under the canopy of a street cafe. Our driver speaks a little English, which helps.

We check in at our town centre hotel. We have a nice room with a balcony on the first floor and there is also a small pool which will be nice for a cool off tomorrow afternoon.

We just want something quick to eat tonight so we choose a small cafe close to the hotel. The meals turn out to be massive. I have chicken pasta whilst Ian has hamburger and chips...real chips. Do I sound jealous?

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23rd November 2018

Now, that's a burger! So pleased to hear about your Dad. Send him our best wishes.

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