Guanajuato and Zacatecas

The bus to Mexico City was a quick six hours.  Arid mountain scrubland passed outside the window.  I dozed on and off.I was 80 days into my trip, and the constant travel and planning had caught up with me long before.  Travel isn’t as much a vacation as it is a job you take on, for which you are not paid.  There was only one way to get back, and that was to keep going.  This isn’t a complaint.  But when people think about leaving their jobs and running away, I’m not sure they realize how much drudgery is involved, and boredom.
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Caye Caulker to Palenque, Mexico

It was raining our final morning in Caye Caulker, downpouring. The power went out at 4am, before a generator kicked on.  I woke up with a start and looked at my phone to make sure we hadn’t overslept.  At that point, we were both awake.  I went outside to take down the clothes we had left out on the porch to dry.  Lucky for us, the rain was blowing sideways from the other direction, so our clothes hadn’t gotten any wetter.  We sat on the porch, drank coffee, and talked, the rain indecisive, slowing to a drizzle and then ramping back up to a sideways blowing fury.
It was strange to be saying goodbye again after only a week, we had fallen back into normalcy quickly, and this felt just like a vacation.
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Caye Caulker

The bus ride to Belize City was uneventful. The bus never got overcrowded, and it was hot but not unbearable.  It wasn’t raining, so the windows could be kept open allowing for a breeze, and since it was direct, there wasn’t much stopping and starting along the way.
We walked the ten minutes to the water taxi terminal, bought our tickets, and waiting the hour till the taxi left.
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Black Rock Lodge

I could’ve taken a taxi to the airport to meet S, but that would’ve been expensive, $25. Instead, I walked to the bus station, allowing plenty of time for error. A man, seeing me looking at the bus schedule, asked me where I was going, and when I told him Ladyville, said that the buses for Ladyville left from down the street, led me outside and pointed the way.  A bus was leaving as I walked up, so I boarded and asked the driver to let me know when we reached the airport turn-off.  Twenty-five minutes later, he dropped me, directing me to a taxi that could take me the rest of the way, and for $6, I was at the airport, waiting.

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A Sprint through Guatemala to Belize City

I rose early in the morning, catching the 6:20am collectivo van to the Honduras/Guatemala border at El Florido.  It was a twenty minute ride, and I passed out of Honduras and into Guatemala without any trouble.  I wasn’t even asked to pay the 10 Quetzal ($1.25) bribe that I thought was standard when entering Guatemala.  I got a bad exchange on my dollars and remaining lempiras for Guatemalan Quetzales, but there was no ATM anywhere, so I took what I got.
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Santa Rosa de Copan and Gracias, Honduras

I didn’t need a reminder that I am thirty-nine years old, but spending the previous day on buses gave me one anyways.  I woke up, and my hips were sore, my back was sore.  My head and stomach were sore from midnight hotdogs and aquardiente.  I was mentally and physically drained. I did some half-assed yoga to try and get my body going, and got out the door at 10am.  I found a market with cans of Diet Coke and bought two.  I’m a coffee drinker, and addicted to soda, but I haven’t had much of either in the last eight weeks.  Most of my hotels, if they had coffee at all, served Nescafe with heaps of sugar, and it was difficult to find diet soda.  I don’t know if it was the caffiene, or the carbonated beverage, but it woke me up and lifted my mood.
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Four buses, two taxis and thirteen hours; El Salvador to Honduras

The plan was to be in Santa Rosa de Copan, Hondurans by 7pm.  I would leave Juayua, El Salvador at 9am for Santa Ana, arriving at 10am to catch a 10:30am connection to Metapan, arriving at 11:45am for a noon connection to El Poy at the border, arriving at 3pm. From El Poy, after exiting El Salvador and entering Honduras, a process I hoped wouldn’t take more than an hour, I would take a collectivo taxi to Ocotepeque, twenty minutes away.  In Ocotepeque, I hoped to catch a 5pm bus to Santa Rosa, a two hour trip.
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Juayua, El Salvador

The 6:30am bus from El Tunco to Sonsonate, where I would connect for Juayua (Why-OOH-ah) was the first time I was separated from my bag.  The ayudante took it from me as I boarded through the rear emergency exit and placed it behind the last row of seats.  I took a seat several rows up in the opposite row and spent the next hour straining my neck turning around as people boarded and exited through the same door.  Men were going to work, machetes slung over their shoulders, sheathed or wrapped in paper.  Children in uniform were on their way to school. Women tranported large tubs of things to sell.
It was like riding the subway. Continue reading Juayua, El Salvador