..is a thought I’ve had couple of times during the past few days. I guess there is a good reason why the majority of backpackers are in their early twenties (which age group Richie still claims to belong to). Who else can endure all the seven layers of hell one goes through in a 15 hour bus trip while suffering from food poisoning? Who else can survive with 5 hours of sleep and a throbbing hangover before jumping into a 9 hour trip in the smallest chicken bus you can imagine? And who else can drink 8 days straight and still smile, joke and continue being friends with everyone else around you?
The other option is that I grew up to be an especially cranky thirty-year-old and I’d say it’s “fifty-sixty” (as a famous Finnish ski jumper used to say) towards either outcome.
As I once wrote, when I was still in my early twenties, it’s not interesting or gripping to describe all the awesome things you have done or to tell people every day of your life is full of epic shit. That’s something Americans do so much better.
Thus bare with me as I paint a picture of our latest adventures in Mexico. As the Lego Movie song goes, everything is as awesome as you’d imagine a 1.5 year break from regular life to be, and today even more awesome as I spent more than I should have on the first proper, Bondi-style avocado-heaven brekkie. Mind you, I have not had almost anything decent to eat in the last 48 hours.
Our route so far has been Mexico City – San Cristobal de las Casas – Palenque (El Panchan village in the middle of the jungle) – Isla Holbox through Merida.
The “suffering” really happened during our tedious transportation from Palenque to Isla Holbox. Since we are trying to be backbackers on a budget, or to put it better I am trying as I think Richie was born as an Uncle Scrooge type of penny guardian, it means catching the cheapest busses wherever possible. What’s funny though is that there are even cheaper means of transportation available here, called collectivos, but I honestly think my better half could not fit in those. Alas, I guess we are not strictly backpackers after all since we use the more expensive Ado-buses wherever we go..
Almost the cheapest option now meant a 9 hour wait at the bus station followed by a 9 hour bus followed by an almost 6 hour bus and a water taxi to get to Isla Holbox. Buses were overnight which in theory means you could do a teleportation trick by sleeping the whole way and wake up at your next destination. Being cheap meant that we could not store our things at the bus station (20 pesos for an hour, who can afford that!) and Richie was running around the town getting us food and supplies. I managed to convince him it’s for his own good, for once he can practice his Spanish without me being around taking care of everything.
And then he brought back the evil, evil tacos…
We did not know these were evil tacos until 6 hours later, middle of the night, in the bus. They looked like normal tacos, though a bit tired and lukewarm. Evil evil tacos.
Long disgusting story short, the evil tacos gave us food poisoning. Some say we oughta know as these were from a stall but stalls have been good to us so far. I slept probably 1,5-2 hours during the whole 15 hours of traveling. Other time was spent, ahem, you know where.
Arrival to Isla Holbox in the middle of the day could have been a nice one, heading straight to the beach and to explore the sandy narrow paths but after all this torment the only thing to do was to take a long shower and a long nap, only to wake up to fever and a feeling “I can’t ever eat anything again”.
So, there you have it, the thing that makes me go “I am too old for this shit”. Then you sleep 12 hours in an air-conditioned room with a king-size bed where you don’t have to fight over space (you barely know there’s someone else next to you, what else can you ask for!), get some breakfast and suddenly it’s all good again.
Until the mosquito-swarm attack, constant sweat and stickiness, layer of salt on your skin, ant infested ground around your thin sarong and 200 pesos for a beach chair make you question things again.. but more of that later!