Well Christmas is over, so I am back in Mahahual for good now. I had planned on coming back at the beginning of last week before Christmas, but I decided to stay in Playa del Carmen and experience Christmas there. I had never spent Christmas time in Playa del Carmen, and I wanted to compare Christmas there to Mahahual.
Christmas in Playa del Carmen is almost like spending Christmas in the USA. Lots of shoppers, Christmas trees, decorations, and all of the other stuff you see in the USA. I was shocked at all the people and tourists in Playa del Carmen during Christmas.
In the condo where I stayed, it was full of people from around the world celebrating Christmas. A lot of the Canadians that stay there had relatives come in town for the holidays. In fact Christmas night, I had dinner with some French Canadians that I know in condos.
In Playa del Carmen, there is a lot of hustle and bustle, but in Mahahual, there is not. In fact it is always quiet around Christmas time in Mahahual, because usually there are ships in town, and everybody is always working. It was nice to stay in Playa del Carmen and see Christmas there for a change of pace.
So I decided to head back to Mahahual on the day after Christmas, Friday, bad mistake, never try to travel the day after Christmas in Mexico. I decided to take the ADO direct shuttle to Mahahual that leaves everyday at 8am from the ADO station at 5th and Juarez. Now I have taken that shuttle a lot to Mahahual, and never had any trouble getting a ticket, because the bus is never full, only about half usually.
I thought to myself a couple of days before I was leaving, that maybe I should go down to ADO and see if the bus was running the day after Christmas, and maybe buy a ticket. I thought to myself,no just wait and get ticket Friday morning early. Now I have been down here five years, and I should know better, but sometimes I swear I act like a tourist, and do stupid things.
So I got up at 5am the day after Christmas, packed and headed out to the ADO station at 7am to get ticket for 8am bus to Mahahual. Boy did I make a big mistake. I got to the ADO station, and it was packed, There were more people than I had ever seen there before. Well I got into line to buy my ticket. I got to the counter and told the woman one ticket to Mahahual, she looked at me and said in perfect English, “Bus to Mahahual sold out, you should have gotten ticket earlier, it is the holidays”. First of all that is the most English I have ever gotten from one of the women at the ADO counter since I have been here. Second, I was shocked that the Mahahual shuttle was sold out, I was amazed that many people were going to Mahahual the day after Christmas. I then asked her if I could take the Mayab to Limones. She smiled at looked at me and said again in perfect English, ” Yes, standing room only”.
Well I stepped back for minute and said thanks, and went to think for a minute. I kept thinking to myself, what an idiot, you know better that, you should have bought ticket in advance. While I was standing there pondering what to do, I noticed a very pretty Mexican woman who I know from the port sitting in the station. She works at the port and I have known her a couple of years. I went up and asked her if she was going back to Mahahual that day. She said yes, but the bus was sold out, and she did not know what she was going to do.
She was as shocked as I was that it was sold out. I got to thinking and I came up with an idea, why don’t we see if there are some open seats in the bus when it arrives from Cancun. Maybe some people cancelled or did not show, and maybe they can get us on. I told her to go ask someone if we could do that. They said yes, and I let her handle it because she she is fluent in Spanish, and being attractive they might help us out. We decided if we could not get on ADO shuttle to Mahahual, we would both travel together and find way to Mahahual.
Well we waited, and the bus pulled in from Cancun, and it was almost full. Well the driver got out, a young Mexican guy, and I thought to myself if she talks with him, he might help us out. So I sent her to go talk to him, she came back and said the driver would check and see if there were any seats availiable for us.
So we waited until right before the bus is about to leave, and the driver signaled to us to come to the bus. I thought we made it. Well when we got to the bus the driver tells her there is only room for one, and of course I knew he would take her over me, so I said like the southern gentleman I am, “You take it, I will find a way back”. She got excited, and gave me a hug, and a kiss on the cheek and jumped on the bus. It was my idea, but I thought to myself, another feather in the cap for southern manhood. But I did notice that her seat was right besides the driver, he let her sit in the little fold down seat they have, so he would be flirting with her the whole trip I bet.
So I stepped back regrouped, and ran to the counter to see if maybe I could buy a ticket on the Mayab before it left for Limones. I went back and only window open was the lady I had talked to before. I asked her if I could still get a ticket on the Mayab before it left. She grinned at me and said again in perfect English, “160 pesos, standing room only to Limones”. I bought a ticket and commented to her that she spoke great English, and she just grinned and gave me my ticket.
Well I went and got in line because the bus was leaving soon, and I was last in line. The bus was packed, and I was glad I was the last one on. There were people all in the aisles and every seat was full. I stood next to the driver, and after awhile he let me sit on the steps near the door.
Every stop the bus made I had to get up walk outside the bus, and let people off and on, and then get back on. This happened the whole trip until we got to Felipe de Carillio, and then I got a seat. The bus left at 830am from Playa del Carmen, and got to Limones around noon.
It is hard sometimes to get a bus or collectivo from Limones to Mahahual, and the taxis are too expensive. I asked the bus driver if it was all right if I got off the bus at the exit from highway 307 to Mahahual, instead of Limones. He said no problem pulled over bus and let me and my luggage out in the middle of nowhere.
My friend, Denisse told me she always hitch-hikes from the exit there into Mahahual all the time. I figured I could catch a collectivo there better than Limones also. I have never hitch-hiked in Mexico, and not in the USA since college. So I thought what the hell, I am going to give it a try. I stuck out my thumb, and the first car that came by was a pickup truck. He pulls over and lets me throw my luggage into the back , and I hoped in the back also. It was not two minutes since I got off the bus. So I rode into Mahahual in the back of a truck, so now I think I am officially a Mexican. He dropped me off in the middle of town, and he would not take a dime or anything. I told him gracias and shook his hand. I never thought I would ever hitch-hike in Mexico, but I did, another check mark on the things I never thought I would do.
So now I am in Mahahual, staying in an apartment over the Tropicante on the malecon in downtown Mahahual. It is nice living on the malecon, and I will have a blog on that and some photos tomorrow. Weather is great here, and the town is filling up for high season.
I know a lot of you have contacted me, and told me you were coming to town soon, and would like to meet me. Well it is not hard to find me. I will be on the balcony overlooking the malecon at the Tropicante, or on the beach around the Tropicante. Also the Costa Maya Real Estate office is right around the corner from where I am staying, so you can also ask for me there. I will be here for awhile.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina