Central America | Mexico | Yucatan Peninsula | Quintana Roo | Cancun – In Cancun
At about 10:15 finally we took off after 45 minutes delay.. I was already feeling very sleepy. The Starbucks feeling had already started to wear off.
Since I have nothing else to do for the next 3 hours, I have decided to learn some Spanish and read about Yucatan. I should get ready for Cancun. Once I land, I should go straight to the bus station. Catch the ADO bus to Cancun bus station and then the 2:00 clock ADO first class bus to Valladolid.
We land at about 12:00 PM. The immigration was pretty much nothing. Customs? Well, while the US is trying to figure it out with dogs and people, the Mexicans has already the advanced high-tech systems in place. They have this, traffic light looking system in place.. You walk over there and push a button and if the light turns green you can go freely. If it turns red, then they will search through your stuff. So, I walk over to the customs line after getting lost for a moment, press the button. And it says ´PASE´ GREEN— I am good to go.
This mexican keyboard is driving me nuts. The punctuation keys are in the wrong place.
Anyways, I walk out after customs, through the multitude of people waiting with signs for everyone on the planet. Meanwhile, some where trying to sell tickets to Cancun, Playa Del Carmen… etc… Why do I need a ticket? I am goting to take the public transportation and go to the bus terminal. Well, I walked up and down three times for the bus stop. Finally gave up and asked someone. there goes all the Spanish I learned.. I couldn´t say a single word… But the guy understodd what I was trying to say and pointed me to the end of the terminal.
I walk over there, there is bus ready to go to Playa Del Carmen.
There were couple folks selling tickets. From their dress, they appeared to be working for the bus company.
I paid 15 pesos and got a ticket to Cancun. The bus is supposed to come at 12:15
I am waiting. Meanwhile the Playa bus was ready to go and while people were boarding that bus, Cancun bus arrived.
But they are not letting people (there were about 3 other people waiting) get on the bus.
After about 10 minutes, the guy who sold me the ticket goes around and start asking the people to Cancun, there ticket and started giving them an new ticket. I thought this is the boarding pass to the bus. They take your ticket and give you a pass. But he was also paying some money to the passengeres. So he comes to me and asks for my ticket and says ¨I need to give you a different ticket¨ I did not know what was going on. He gives me another ticket and says You can take this other shuttle to Cancun. It looked like a 15 seater, what I heard to be the Collectivo.
He gives me the ticket and walks off. Hola… where is my money ? I called him back and stuck my palm out to him. He looked at me and then disgruntingly reached into his pocket and gave me 10 pesos. (well this was only the beginning people trying to take my money)
We started at about 12:30 to Cancun. The ride was interesting. We stopped along the way to pick people up and drop them. The buildings on the way and the place reminded me of driving through Bangalore or Madras residential areas. Concrete roof buildings with black water tanks on top. Instead of the TV antennas, here they have dish antennas. There were several speed bumps along the way. (It must be cheper than hiring police to give out tickets).
I thought I was far away from things that are American.. The feeling didn´t last long. On the right, I could see the famous arch that serverd a billion burgers approaching.. Sooner there were Wal-mart and Home Depot. Sigh!
About 1:00PM, I was in the bus terminal. My spanish is not working at all.. Every where I turned, I see signs only in Spanish. I saw in a couple of places ´Valladolid´ I didn´t know where to go to get the tickets. finally I decided to go stand in the line with fewer people.
While I was standing there, this guy came and stood right behind me, almost touching my backpack. I turned around and looked at him.. My eyes were saying in Spanish ¨Hola! don´t you have any respect for my space?´ He didn´t even acknowledge my looks. He didn´t even bother. So I had keep adjusting my posture so that I can always see him and know what he is upto. He was quite harmless. When I was quite near the counter, he jumps out of the line, scoots under the do not cross line, straight to the counter. The guy behind the counter ignored him. So he lurked around there for sometime and walked off.
I get to the counter. Uno first class ticket to Valladolid (this is not pronounced the same way it is written. even in Spanish I would read it as Vayadolid.. but there is another way to pronounce it.) Luckily the guy knew where I wanted to go. He typed some thing, thought for a momeent, typed something else and told me mercilessly ´No first class´ only second class, at 2:30… Oh well, I remember Pedro saysing, the trip to Valladolid is only about 4 hours by second class. So if the bus leaves at 2:30, I should reach Valladolid at about 6¨:30. Not bad, I will still have time to walk around and look for a place to stay. Also, Mariu said it is better to take the second class so that you can see the locals and ´real people´ of Mexico. Sure… I will take the segundo clase, Senor.
It was only about 1:15 PM and I have about an hour or more kill. So I walk around watching people. May be there are some people who are going to Valladolid. There was a big sign at one end of the terminal that said ¨DEPARTURES´ There is a huge crowd waiting in front of it. But the man was not letting anyone in. Every now and then he starts yelling something and everybody starts pushing forward. He will let only some folks in. It appeared as if, they let folks only for the bus that is currently at the departure area. This is going to be tricky for me. How do I know, when he is going to yell for the bus that goes to Valladolid. For all I know, it may be enroute to some other place like Merida. I started to get worried. I need to find someone else who goes to Valladolid. I was beginning to get paranoid. What if I get there late and there are no hotels. Tomorrow is Christmas night, Valladolid is small. May be I should have bought a ticket to Playa Del Carmen. Go the other way. There are buses to Playa (that is what they call it) every 15 minutes. So I walk around contemplating what to do. I can throw away the 70 peso ticket to Valladolid and get a ticket to Playa if they don´t refund the tickets. But asking for refund in Spanish is going to be a chore.