December 22nd 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Something of a random photo, but did (according to the scribble on the back) take place in San Cristobal. Can’t have been the happiest of lions.

Awoke to find the eyes of all upon us – it was only a small station, + they didn’t seem very used to the sight of a couple of gringos bedding down on the floor.  Still, all in all it was a reasonably comfortable night.  And that was just about where our problems began.  We were able to discover that the bus for San Cristobal left at 11.30, but they wouldn’t sell us a ticket and worse the guy there seemed to make no effort  to try to help me understand why not, and it is extremely dispiriting to be sitting in a strange place, + having no idea about what is going on.  Val went out to buy some bread, and she spotted the second-class terminal, so we decided to take a cheap bus to Tehuantepec, + then hopefully find a bus from there.  On the bus we met a couple of exceptionally tall but fairly prattish Germans, heading in the same direction, so it was pleasant to leave asking of questions etc to them, even when, as it turned out, they were about as unsuccessful as we had been.  Eventually, after much sitting around, they went off to find the first class terminal, + returned with the information that there was a bus at 12.30 – the one we’d given up on in Salina Cruz.  Nonetheless, both feeling fairly fed up, we agreed to take it, so wandered over there, for more sitting around + reading.  When  it finally arrived, it was almost full, just room for our German friends… but not for us.  So back to the 2nd class, + more waiting.  My arse was getting extremely sore, + by now I was on to my 3rd book of the day.  I’d finished “The Plumed Serpent”, read “Mother Night” by Kurt Vonnegut, + started “Phineas Finn” by Trollope.

However, the bus rolled in, not too late, + much to our amazement, we got ourselves a double seat.  Very fortunate, since at the next stop the bus absolutely filled up.  Made the acquaintance of a couple of Swiss – Roland + Lisabeth – + settled down for a fairly uncomfortable, tho’ apart from a puncture uneventful, journey.  The bus deposited us in Tuxtla Gutierrez, a town a couple of hours from San Cristobal, + we had to find ourselves a hotel – the bus station was closed, + Val was still ill.  Found a remarkably grotty but thankfully cheap one, so took that.

The usual sort of problem, that will affect all travellers – all budget travellers anyway – when the combination of poor information and bureaucratic nonsense makes it very difficult to get anywhere, though eventually something will resolve itself.  At least, that’s the way it was back then.  I guess mobile phones and all its assorted technology is still going to run up against local circumstances and intransigence from time to time, but at least now you presumably always have something to try.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    So you made it to San Cristobal! I love that town. I can’t wait to read what you find there, and if you went out to the Mayan ruins.

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