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Published: July 19th 2016
Ugh what a travel day. Two-parter for this entry
Sunday July 17th
I had lofty plans for today... and then I got outside. I had forgotten how unfortunate 38+ degrees felt, especially at 5,000+ ft lol.
I wandered through Old Town briefly, which honestly wasn't anything special other than their church. I didn't go in because there was a mass going on, but the outside was nice. My plan was then to catch a shuttle to the Indian Pueblo Center which is supposed to be an excellent visit. Unfortunately on weekends there are no busses that go there. I then discovered there was a free shuttle from Old Town but the info from ABQ Tourism, from Old Town's site and from the Indian Pueblo site were all different. Honestly I was too hot to go on a scavenger hunt for a shuttle, so I did the next best thing and sat in the shade and people watched for like an hour lol.
As I wandered back to the main road, I found a small sculpture park so I took a look through there. Back on the main road was a Walgreen's. I've never been so happy to see a Walgreen's. Air conditioning. Sweet, beautiful air conditioning.
After I cooled off I mustered up the courage to go to the botanical garden... which I had already bought a ticket for, so I felt obligated. It was a nice visit though as I basically just moved from shade to shade down the paths. I wouldn't say it was much of a botanical garden compared to others I've been too - it's more like a giant park, which is still nice. Not that many flowers (shocking, I know) - but the ones they did have were beautiful. Of course there were a lot of different cacti and desert plants. They did have a nice rose garden, actually.
Two highlights though? 1) the butterfly and insect houses. Butterflies I could watch all day, so that's pretty self-explanatory. As for the insect house, that was a nice little find. I particularly liked the random leaf cutter ants that literally climb above your head on branches throughout the building. And 2): I saw a roadrunner. Like a real one. Like up close, drinking out of a water fountain. Ha! My New Mexico experience is now fully complete.
With the botanical garden, you also get a ticket to the Aquarium which was ok. It's not very big, but the shark tank and the stingrays were fun to see.
On the way back to town I passed a DQ and decided I deserved a Blizzard. From there I still had a few hours to kill (more like... 8hrs, ahem). Normally I would bum around a mall when I'm in a pinch but I've seen no real stores or malls here. I know they must have them, but I have no idea where... so my fall-back was the movies - Finding Dory for the win. Very cute movie.
Monday July 18th
When I got back to Greyhound that's when everything went wonky again... what a surprise, eh? You see the problem with Greyhound in the US (well, one of many problems) is that a lot of their lines are extreme-long-haul trips. Case in point, the Albuquerque-Phoenix section is part of a much longer trip... how much longer you ask? Chicago to freakin' LA longer. No wonder busses are always running late, having mechanical issues and then you're still stuck waiting at these random rest stops for 30min. Anyway, so all these extreme long hauls really mess up the system.
Case in point: my bus arrives at 11:30pm - originally from Chicago, scheduled to leave at 12:30am. At 12:25am they make an announcement saying there's a mechanical issue with a wheel and basically tough shit, we're stuck. They have no extra busses available in the area and the only hope is to reach this driver that just left an hour ago... but they aren't answering their phone because, d'uh, they're driving. Awesome. And if they don't reach this driver, expect to be here until 6am. Even more awesome.
Totally ready to lose my shit. I'm exhausted. I know it's my own doing by repetedly booking overnight travel, but honestly... I can deal with it as long as I have a seat I can somewhat sleep on.
Long story short - they didn't even call central dispatch until 1:30am (yeah, we lost our collective shit over that one) and we ended up essentially hijacking the northbound bus to Denver. When that bus arrived from El Paso, they made everyone take all their stuff off the bus and we took it... yet somehow we only left close to 4am after all that. And then of course it's all these people who have been on the bus since freakin' Chicago, so they're all spread out and ---- I managed to change seats in Flagstaff, and when more people got on the driver actually had to come to the back of the bus and was super condescending over the fact we can't leave until everyone has a seat and that we're acting like kindergardeners not wanting to share our seat. This led to a very heated exchange between some of the people who've been on the bus for like 3 days and the driver lol.
Oh yes, there was also the impromptu stop in the middle of nowhere at because the driver thought he smelled weed. Everyone had been asleep because it wasn't that long after we actually left... and his response ended up being to lock the bathroom on us. Wtf...????
So, after all that I made it to Phoenix. Original plan was to bus up to catch the LRT, but between the heat and the fact I was still homicidal over the whole Greyhound thing, I took a cab to the airport - easier for me to then transfer to LRT. My cabbie was laughing at me as I told him I came in on the bus from Albuquerque... this turned into a very long discussion about how horrible Greyhound US is.. I told him yes, I've gathered as much. I don't understand how Greyhound can be so fine in Canada and so shit here.
My room wasn't ready, so I ventured off in search of a mall for air-conditioning lol. I ended up at some fancy mall in Scottsdale... like with Prada, Burberry, Tesla, Jimm Choo, fancy haha. I mean they had regular stores too, but it was fun just to roam around for a bit before coming back to the hotel to crash.
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