Current temperature 25C (Edmonton -7C)
I am finally in Belize made it to my hostel and just now regrouping and figuring out my next move. I wrote the following last night/this morning on the night bus;
Currently on a night bus to Belize, its 330 am and I’m wide awake because they love to pump the air-conditioning in this bus… I should have known because they did the exact same thing in SE Asia but not to this extent! It’s about 5 degrees inside the bus and 25 outside the bus, all the locals have toques and big sweaters and blankets. I apparently didn’t get the memo and curling up in a ball only keeps you warm for so long. Typing is keeping my hands warm and the bathroom in the back of the bus is warm so im making frequent breaks to not freeze to death. Today was an interesting day though, probably the craziest/stressful/frustrating/worst luck day I’ll ever have on this trip. I’m sure it won’t sound that bad but believe me it was, Calvin and Tyler can vouch for me. The day started off at 630 am where we stumbled out of bed hoping to have breakfast right away and rent a car so we could get out of town ASAP. Breakfast didn’t start till 730 so we kinda made a mistake getting up so early but we were told that we could rent a car starting just after 7 but again that wasn’t the case either. We had to kill a few hours because we didn’t get our car till around 9am and when we took a look at what we were gonna drive out to Chichen Itza we already started to doubt if we were going to make it. The car was the biggest potato ever (piece of shit) Tyler started out driving and he only lasted for about 30 seconds because the clutch was too loose and he wasn’t used to driving standard. When Calvin finally jumped in and started driving he did a few burnouts (by accident) because the clutch was so bad. We were off and heading in the right direction, first stop the gas station. Getting adjusted to Mexican traffic was pretty difficult, no lines on the road and very few people followed any of the standard traffic laws we’re used to back in Canada. I’ve driven in SE Asia and it did remind me of the countries there minus the amount of motorbikes that flooded the streets of SE Asia, Mexico had little amounts of motorbikes. After a few stressful minutes of not knowing where we were and doing a few laps around the main area of downtown, I noticed that the temperature gauge was overheating and we started smelling odd things from the engine, we just kept driving and finally found a gas station and filled the car up. We talked to a employee there named Fernando, he was extremely helpful and checked the engine for us and added coolant and did a few other sketchy things that no mechanic should ever try when the car is still running but he tried. We handed him some pesos for his effort and as we were driving away we all obnoxiously were yelling ‘Gracious FERNANDO!’ the whole gas station seemed to like that, getting big smiles from all the locals. As we hit traffic again we noticed that the engine temperature was on the rise again and made the decision to head back to our resort and get a better car because there was no way that that car was going to make the 400km+ round trip to Chichen Itza. When we got to the resort we had to wait yet another 30 minutes for our ‘buddy’ to switch up the other car, we tried to explain the problem we had with it and that we filled the car with gas 500 pesos (50USD) We wanted some sort of reimbursement because the new car that we were getting was also empty so we had to fill that one up also. The guy said the only way you could get a reimbursement was if you had a receipt… We were in Mexico, they don’t give receipts. When we saw the replacement car I started to doubt if we should even attempt to make this trek. The only difference from the first car… the color.
It must have been 1030 am at this point and we checked the engine and everything with this new car and headed out, this time with me driving (the most experienced?) because Calvin seemed to have got quite stressed about the last little journey. I warned the boys that I’ve never driven a car in a foreign country only a motorbike… so I felt as though I needed to drive like I was on a motorbike. We got honked at way too many times and I’m sure all the Mexicans were pissed that these white boys were just making their own road rules but eventually we found highway 180 and it was smooth sailing from there until we hit our first speed bump….. Literally.
We started seeing signs for Chichen Itza right when we got on the highway. It said it was about 200km away, we started doing the math and figured we’d be there in about two hours with a few stops. We were wrong. Everything was going great, the car was running fine and we were enjoying the different landscapes around us until all of a sudden out of the blue there is a sign that says speed bump and with no warning I needed to slam on the brakes! I went from about 130km/h to 90km/h but that’s as slow as we’d get and absolutely nailed this speed bump out of the corner of my eye I saw Calvin in the back seat fly up in the air almost hitting the roof and after we realized everyone and everything was okay we had a good laugh about it. The speed bumps literally came out of nowhere and there was little warning for them. Speed limits went from 90 to 20 with no warning. After going through a few little towns along the way, we got about 50 km outside of Cancun when we heard a loud ‘pop’ sound and I immediately looked at the other two guys and we were all thinking the same thing…. Flat tire. I quickly pulled over and we were correct. Flat tire, in the middle of nowhere, in 30 degree weather, so shitty. We whip out the spare tire and start looking through the car for tools. We find jack but no wrench to take the tire bolts off so we were hooped. So we spent a good amount of time hailing locals down, only three stopped, the first two with no wrench but the last guy had every tool we ever wanted! Once the tire was switched we thanked our buddy and were back on the road. A few missed turns along the way but managed to find Chichen Itza at 230pm. What was supposed to take us 2 hours ended up taking 5. Everything closed at 430 so we needed to get a move on. The clouds weren’t looking great when we were driving so of course with our luck, just as we arrived it started to pour! We waited it out and began walking around checking out the ruins, getting the odd dump of rain every few minutes. They were pretty cool to see, was not expecting them to be as big as they were. It is sad how touristy it’s become though. The grounds are flooding with locals trying to sell you souvenirs so it’s hard to look at everything in peace. Every two seconds a guy wants to sell you his junky overpriced souvenir. Other than that I thought the ruins were pretty cool, it was worth the day trip out there. We started heading back at 445 only to realize that it would be an even sketchier ride back home. Our widow wipers made the window even worst when we used them. We were constantly getting flashed high beams even though our high beams weren’t on? (Still confused by that one) and to make it worse we needed to make it back by 8 to not get charged another day on the car. I was driving with my head out of the window for some of the ride back because it was easier to see that way and I’m pretty sure we ran a few red lights because people were definitely honking their horns at us. The speed bumps were still an issue on the way back but we managed to not break the car on any of them so I would say there is a lot to celebrate. We got back to our hotel just after 8, my night bus to Belize left at 10 pm so I have no idea if we got charged for the flat tire or for being late. Other than all the problems we had it was still quite the adventure and I’m glad we made the trek out there. I had to say bye to both those boys last night, we had a great week in Cancun but now I have to get back to reality. No more all-inclusive, this is where the real backpacking begins.