Bang, flop flop, thrash thrash, then all is quite. We all know what has happened but remain silent, no one stirs. The bus rolls on, slowing to a crawl. The driver of this Mexican ADO bus seeking a pullout. Our simple, four hour journey to Belize in air conditioned comfort now slipping into delay mode.
What was once a pleasant, cool bus ride through the Yucatan jungle, west of the Caribbean Sea, changed with that one loud bang. A flat tire in the middle of in between. Fortunately, one of the dual rear tires. But Belize will have to wait just a little longer for our eventual arrival.
Slowly the bus makes progress to a smallish pullout. Our driver quickly exits and makes an inspection of the blown tire. It is blown, not much more to know. No one stirs; we know the problem. He’s back aboard and we drive on, slowly, ever so tenuous, but onwards.
The road south has changed from four lane 100 kilometer per hour carreteras, to two lane, eventually to become potholed, and then the dirt streets of Corozal, Belize. But here where we have stopped it’s still a busy two lane.
Our driver, no doubt from previous experience, found a larger pullout. There are two officious looking men with ID cards hung around their necks standing near a Japanese sedan—seemingly waiting for our arrival. From blowout to final stop it has been maybe a half hour. Where could they have come from.
Just as surprisingly another bus, this one an old Mayab bus pulls over to rescue us. Do we want rescued? It’s cool here in our ADO bus—and there’s a toilet in the back. But the ADO driver re-boards and tells us we can go with the Mayab bus to Chetumal, or wait until the tire is fixed.
At least that’s what I think he said. My poor Spanish lacks well enough when at a reduced, I’m talking slowly for your Gringo ears, rate of speech. Our driver is agitated, talking rapid fire, and just wants us to go.
The whole bus disgorges, both drivers and the officious types move luggage from one hold to the other and we board the chicken bus. Actually, it wasn’t that bad, but there is no air conditioning, only one window—far in the rear—will open, the once sparsely loaded bus, now not a vacant seat, is sweltering. Hot and sticky. Even the locals are melting.
After nearly a month in Mexico, I thought I had acclimatized to the Yucatan heat (it’s not really hot in February), but looking around I see the same discomfort in every seat. Sweat on brow, suit coats and light sweaters peeled, make shift fans at work—to no avail. We are all one sticky mess.
But we are moving, heading to Chetumal, where Kathey and I will catch another, smaller bus into Belize. Unlike our intended ADO express line, the chicken bus stops in every little town and at every bus stop along the way.
Oh it’s hot. Kathey is such a trooper. I talked her into this little adventure to gain another passport stamp, another country visited. She gives me a smile. She knows it won’t last, and it’ll make a fun story.
I use Google Maps on my iPhone to check our progress. Is it slow progress, or do I imagine so? I know the answer. It’s hot in our sauna on wheels. The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round. So does my swooning head. Sweat dripping in my eyes, Kathey a lovely sheen to her now tanned tourist, come beach bum face.
The weather reports say it will be 93 degrees today. Oh it’s humid. But as predicted, our sauna eventually makes it to Chetumal, our last town, actually a large city, before catching another bus and crossing the Rio Hondo into Belize.
Everyone unloads at the bus terminal and heads inside where there is some relief from our rolling sweat box, our rescue vehicle. And we’re only an hour late. It was my imagination.
Off to Belize.
(Posted using WordPress app on my iPhone.)