In San Cristobal

Well, it turns out things don’t go like you planned when you travel. Who knew?

I was feeling pretty smug in Cancun, with my ticket bought, plenty of time to go around and get dinner, then shop for snacks on the bus, use the Internet, etc. Only problem was my watch was two timezones wrong, so I had two less hours than I thought. I feel so dumb now, because there were three things that should have tipped me off. First, the clock in the bus terminal. I ignored it because Mexican clocks are always about 2 hours off. It turns out the clocks that taught me the “always ignore the clocks in Mexico” rule were the ones in the Metro, where the time of day has little to do with getting a train. In a Mexican bus station, the clocks are right. In fact, they are right to the second, like in a Swiss train station!

The other two things that should have tipped me off was that the sun set suspiciously early, but I wrote that off to being at 16 degrees north latitude. Finally, I ordered a special menu item that was only available until 6 pm. The waiter said, no, can’t have it. I figured they were out of it, because, hey, it’s only 5pm. Sigh.

Anyway, after missing the bus things seemed hopeless. Getting the ticket changed cost a 50% surcharge. I was out of money becuase I hadn’t expected to have to buy an extra half a bus ticket, nor stay the night in Cancun. I go to the ATM, but with my transaction it realizes, “No, I’m actually out of order, sorry for confusing you by the big ABIERTO sigh.” And in doing so it takes enough time to return my card that I become convinced it’s just eaten it. But eventually the card comes out, but I don’t get any money. So I figure, to hell with it, I’ll solve the money problem in the morning. I knew I had enough money for a hotel (and hotels take US dollars, so my “get out of trouble” money would have worked too).

I get to my hotel and just relax on the bed. I fell asleep at 10 pm (real local time). God only knows what time is was in California at 10 pm in Cancun… I never did get a straight answer from anyone about what timezone Cancun was in.

The next day everything went fine. I took a walk and explored Cancun. I didn’t have time to make it out to the hotel zone where all the people who want to pretend they are still in the US are. I wasn’t really very motivated to anyway. I got on my bus at 14:15 and settled in. I had a baby near me, but it was OK. The seat next to me was empty, so I had a little nest of all my food, books, computer, etc to keep me occupied. I saw a nifty movie about a Australian brothers who were swimmers and their unhealthy relationship with their father. The sound is in English but the subtitles are in Spanish. The sound isn’t really loud enough, so you really have to concentrate and read the Spanish. When you miss a bit of Spanish hopefully the audio was loud enough that you can learn the word you missed. Not the best environment for studying, but I could tell I got a little bit of practice.

One other interesting thing about the bus ride was that it swung south before heading west. That took us through the hurricane damaged areas from Hurricane Emily. It was very interesting to see the damage. From the road, it appeared that mostly it was damage to trees and power lines. I saw a couple thatch roofs that had been taken off. I think I got a really good picture of the damage from the bus window, but you know how pictures from buses are.

This morning I got in to San Cristobal a little after 8 am. Of course, the bus to Panajachel leaves at 8 am, so I have to spend the night here too. I suspected that might be the case, so it doesn’t bug me. I went to see the amber museum today, and a church on a hill. I’m going to try to get some people together from the hostel and go to the circus tonight at 6:30 or 8:30. It’s nice to be in a city you know again. I went straight to the same hostel as last time, and knew exactly which attractions I didn’t get to see last time.

Assuming I get my bus tomorrow morning, I’ll be in Panajachel at 2 pm, then I’ll take the boat across to San Pedro. Sunday night is a hard time to find a family to stay with, so I will get a hotel there too, I think.

One more piece of good news. My brand new fancy (and expensive) digital camera works really well, and lives comfortably in my pocket. As a result, I am taking way, way more pictures. Jessica, you’re really going to have to find some billable hours to help me pay for this thing! For those that care about such things, it is a Sony T7 Karl took me to Sony Style to get.

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