|My last day at work was meant to be an easy one, a couple of short interviews. As it turned out we were only able to do one because it started rainging (not a problem), and then our easy up tent collapsed soaking all of the camera and audio gear. We feared for our lives from the nearby lighting, so the producers reluctantly called it a night.
Ok, so I mannaged to quit my job and headed to the "estacion de autobus" (bus station) to use my pre-purchased ticket and fancy new backback to get to Chichen Itza. The cab driver on the way downtown was very informative. He looked at my ticket and told me that it was 2nd class, and that this meant that the bus would stop many, many times along the way to pick up and drop off passengers. The first class ticket would be non-stop, but would only go as far as Valladodid city, then I could take a cab or second class bus to Piste (near the Chichen Itza ruins). I tipped him well when we arrived at the station and went inside to check the schedual.
My 2nd class bus was supposed to leave at 1pm but there was a first class bus leaving at 1:30. I figured I would just sacrifice the eight dollars I spent on the first ticket and bought one for the 1st class bus to Valladodid. As I walked away from the ticket counter I swung my new backpack up onto my shoulder and SNAP, one of the plastic buckles broke, sending my bag to the floor. I took it to a lobby of a horse betting bar across the street where I was able to repair it using my trusty Swiss Army knife. I had a couple Coronas while I waited for the bus, and I went and changed the rest of my American money to pesos.
I returned to the station at about ten after one and entered the first class waiting area. The busses were announced in spanish very rappidly. Fearing I would miss my bus because of this, I kept going out to check if it was there yet. The attendants kept rolling their eyes at me and waving me back inside.....of course, I missed the bus.
I went to the counter and they changed my ticket to a 2nd class ticket to Valladodid. I made sure I got on the bus (they are only at the station for about 5 minutes), and dozed off. I awoke to a buzzing alarm. Our bus was overheating. An older woman, who I had helped earlier with her luggage, kept looking at me knowingly and shaking her head. Soon we were broken down on the side of the road under a very hot scorching sun. (I was the only gringo). A half an hour later another bus came and picked us up. It still took forever with many stops. Sometimes people would get on as we entered a city, sell fruit, corn, or pork rinds, and then get off at the other edge of the city. It took me about 5 hours to make it to Valladodid.
I got off and suveyed the area, figuring that I could stay there or try to make it the rest of the way to Piste. It looked like rain, so instead of wandering the city in the rain looking for a place to sleep, I hopped in a taxi that took me the rest of the way to Piste for about US$20. Believe me, at that point it was worth it.