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Published: October 28th 2018
We had a bit of a scare last night as we had a message to say that my dad had been rushed to hospital in an ambulance. A call to the hospital at 3am UK time (evening here) confirmed that he was OK, but we would like a confirmation following a consultants opinion. We are hanging around here to see if we need to get a flight back as we are not too far from Mexico City. If we move on it won’t be so easy.
It’s 6am here, noon in the UK and a call to my brother confirms dad is OK now and has been discharged. We have a long Skype call with video and it looks like he is fine. My brother and sister assure me they are keeping an eye on mum and dad and say there is no need to come back. So Tamasopo it is then.
So now our bags are packed and we go for a last walk into the town. First to the market for fresh bread for our packed lunch. Then to the opticians to get my glasses fixed - I have managed to bend the arm! Lastly to the
ATM to get some cash.
Tasks completed, we return to make up our lunch rolls and collect our baggage ready for the off!
Our Uber has been summoned and eventually arrives - two have already cancelled on us...word must have spread! As usual it’s a tiny car and this time the boot is already full of other stuff. Ian manages to cram one bag in the boot and the second on the back seat. It’s a reasonable journey although we do have one near miss with a truck who does not want our driver to overtake a stationery bus. Our driver is muttering under his breath.
We arrive at the bus station and get our tickets stamped. Apparently our reserved seats are not reserved...it’s a free for all, but they have plenty of seats. We make sure we are out in the station boarding area so as to be near the front of the queue just to be sure. I see the previous Vendedor bus about to depart. I am pleased to see that it’s a nice modern bus and the usual food bags are being distributed - not that it matters as we pre-prepared lunch assuming
there would be nothing today.
We are waiting for bus number 893. Ian, astutely if somewhat annoyingly, points out that the bus I have just seen was numbered in the 4000’s and that our bus (being in the three figure range) is likely to be old and decrepit!
Oh don’t you just hate it when they are right! An ancient green coloured jelopy has turned up - and sure enough, it’s bus number 893. Our seats are occupied by a suitcase and a sack of potatoes. Sit anywhere, signals the driver. Fortunately there are seats fairly near the front. That said, it doesn’t take long before most of the seats are taken. To my horror, there is no toilet on the bus either - this is a four hour journey! I do hope they will be making a comfort stop or two...or three?
As predicted, we have one large communal TV screen showing a particularly annoying video of a type of Mexican barn dance. People are dancing to a scratchy fiddle tune. Ian says it has the look of a home video. Time to get our earphones out and block it out with a spot of Mr
Bad Guy I think...followed by Hall & Oates and Phil Collins.
It soon becomes apparent that the journey would probably take half the time in a car...as we appear to be on a chicken bus which is stopping at every other road junction to take on passengers. Every seat is taken then it’s standing room only after the first pick up stop!
It takes an age to reach the outskirts of San Luis. This is where we leave the sunshine and start our twisting climb into the mountains. The sun has disappeared and we are enveloped in cloud. It’s raining hard and all the windows are steamed up. There is also a suspicious smell of burning rubber which becomes more intense the higher we climb. Crikey...I hope the bus is not going to break down, or even worse, leap into flames!
The annoying video has finished, to be replaced by a Disney animation which is rather more fun. It follows the story of a young boy who wants to play the guitar. His mother is dead against it and smashes up said instrument. The boy goes off and appears to steal a replacement instrument. From here he
begins a journey in the underworld, aided by his ancestors but plagued by a bad guy who looks like an overweight Buzz Lightyear. Eventually he makes it back to the land of the living. I really must have a stab at learning some Spanish when I get back!
The journey has been tedious and we are only two thirds in. We stop at Rio Verde bus station, but not long enough for a comfort break. Five minutes in and our bus, which had gradually emptied, is now jam packed again. Let’s hope the next section is a bit less twisting and bumpy. Then we might, just might, arrive on schedule. At this point it’s looking unlikely!
From Rio Verde we make reasonable progress, although the light is fading fast. We are back up in the mountains again where the mist is hanging heavy. It has the look of a steaming kettle! We are treated to another video focusing on Xilitla...worryingly pronounced like Heil Hitler! It appears to be focussed on local cooking.
At last, we see the turnoff for Tamasopo and our bus lumbers down to a small town in the valley. It passes the end of
the road of our hotel, but as our luggage is underneath we are forced to continue on to the bus station. The bus pulls in on a muddy stretch of ground, the door conveniently opening up on to a huge puddle. I just about manage to step over it. No-one here to assist with bags and the bus looks like it might leave at any moment so Ian opens up the undercarriage and we help ourselves. So much for the ticket tag system here then!
We manage to negotiate our bags to the concrete road and wheel them a few blocks up to our hotel. There is a pool at this hotel...which will be nice I am sure. But at the moment it is not! It is full of shrieking youths who are clearly having a lot of fun, but are also more than a little tipsy judging by the huge ice box of beer cans. Still they seem friendly enough. Today is Saturday so hopefully they will all go home tomorrow afternoon!
We dump our luggage and go out in search of dinner. There doesn’t seem to be a lot here but it is now dark so we will explore tomorrow. For now we have found a taco restaurant - they are cooking everything on a huge hot plate in front of us and it looks good. We choose steak and onions. It tastes good too! We meet a Mexican now living in Springfield, Missouri - he tells us that he is here for the weekend with his family. Long way to come for a weekend break? He gives us all the lowdown on what to see and how much we should pay for a taxi driver. Don’t bother with the organised tours, he advises...very easy to do it on your own!
Back at the hotel we are ready for bed. There’s still a racket coming from the pool, which won’t close till 10pm, but we find the air con goes a way to covering it up!
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