My last two blog posts have been far too long, no fun to write and probably not much fun to read. So, although I have plenty to write about, I will focus this post on a few day period in our two months of travelling round Central America. Other posts will come later on. Let’s start, as you apparently always should with stories, somewhere in the middle.
The four of us, Hebe, Rosie, Sam and I are sleeping in unnatural positions on a bus that has just crossed into Mexico. The Mexican government has decided today is the day to completely renovate the Pan-American Highway and as a result we are moving at a pretty constant 3 mph. I have a bruise on a rib and I wake up with my nose squashed into the seat in front. In the side of my bag one of my favourite shoes stares at me accusingly; the other fell off a bus and I haven’t yet had the heart to throw this one away. The other three wake up with huge smiles and I realise that I too am grinning as if the roadworks out the window are the gardens of Babylon. Hebe has a stomach infection, Sam’s toe looks septic and Rosie has a headache; none of us have any right to be smiling.
The reason for our happiness is simple- our situation has improved. Just the night before, after a full day of crowded busses, we had arrived at Hotel Yosemary in the border town of Mesilla. We paid the equivalent of £2 each and crashed. One of the double beds had an inch thick mattress covering a wooden board; this was luxurious. The other had a mattress cover with a wooden bed frame cruelly hidden inside it instead of a mattress. To all appearances it was a perfectly fine bed, but inside it hid sharp wooden slats and gaps with absolutely no cushioning, hence the bruised rib. In the morning we exchanged stories of the night. ‘The insects in the walls were freaking me out’. ‘Did any of you guys see someone looking in the window’? ‘Did nobody hear me getting up and vomiting?’ Our various illnesses and pains had got significantly worse during the night, as had the black stain on the ceiling, so we hurriedly left.
Flash forward to our first few hours in San Cristobal, Mexico and our happiness is becoming hysteria. Since our arrival, we have found a hostel for 5 usd a night, with an amazing kitchen, free coffee and funky bunk beds. Bunting in the Mexican red, green and white adorns the streets and a funfair with churros, candy floss and fairground rides is just up the street.
As we wander around further we see Zapatista shops selling literature and merchandise of the native rebel movement which still has strong roots in San Cristobal. It is not until I’m sipping a 70% hot chocolate in a chocolate shop outside the cathedral do I really begin to wonder if I died in Mesilla in the night.
One thing reminds me that I’m not in heaven- ‘if I was in heaven, would I not have some shoes other than walking boots?’ A few days, showers and hot chocolates later and we belong in San Cristobal. After a hot chocolate for breakfast, some amazing chocolate truffles as a snack, bread for lunch and Lebanese food for dinner, we are royalty. We head to Bar Revolucion, complete with Che Guevara murals, Zapatista heroes and weapons on the walls, which holds a Salsa night one night and Rock the next. After visiting the Salsa night and being told to stop trying by the locals, we go for a class; I still get told to stop by the locals but the difference now is that I think I know how to salsa. Before long we have to leave. We have a volcano to climb in Guatemala and we can’t be late, but that’s another story for another blog post.
P.S We also saw Crocodiles in Mexico