A Little Bit of Everything
Tuxtla Gutierrez

May 16, 2016

Avila, translated from Spanish to English, means armpit. That sort of describes the port town of Salina Cruz, Oaxaca…and maybe what we smelled like on the overnight bus.


What happened…

Andrew writes: Waking with the sun seems to be popular for us this week, and so we got an early start to the day which is good because we had a long way to go, although we weren’t in a hurry to get there; our bus didn’t leave until 2245hrs. The terrain was more of the same, just coastal twists and turns with a climb and a descent around every corner. The humidity seemed to be really bad today, and even though it was overcast all afternoon, I found my clothes absolutely drenched in sweat. All of this heat and humidity seems to have given me a really itchy rash on my right leg, as well as both of my forearms. I try not to scratch, but it’s hard not to.

It wouldn’t be fair to say that Salina Cruz was a disappointment, because I didn’t have high expectations for it. I think though, that for a city the size of Salina Cruz, it was the poorest, shittiest Mexican city that we have visited. It has a military base, a port, and every second store is a pawn shop. We stopped in the zocalo (city centre) to find food and just relax for a bit before going to the bus station. In the five minutes that I was gone to buy sandwiches Amanda witnessed two fights, and when I returned she was being accosted by some guy who wanted money from the gringos. We moved off, and the cops showed up and got some of the undesirables out of the park. After our meal, we decided to just ride down to the bus station and just sit around there for a few hours until it was time to hop on the bus.

For the second time now in Mexico we were asked to pay for our bikes and luggage. It is so hard to know if it’s for real, or if we are just being hit up for money because of the colour of our skin and the size of our wallet. With about 30 minutes to go before the bus is set to leave I went to arrange to put everything on to the bus and get told by a baggage handler that the bus driver says we have to pay $500MX for each bike because we were oversize or overweight or overwhite, it wasn’t really clear. I tried to nicely talk the guy down off the ledge and when that failed, I went over to the ticket window and started into it with about 3 people there. Someone pointed to a rule or regulation that said we had to pay for all luggage over 25kg. No problem I said, just show me how much I have to pay for each kilogram over. There was a look of uncertainty amongst everyone. No one seemed to know what the overage charge was. I said fine, the bikes and our luggage weigh 25kg each, so we’re OK. No one believed me, but you know what? There was no scale anywhere in the station. I went out to load all of the gear as the bus was getting ready to leave at this point. As I loaded the last item, someone came up to me and said I needed to pay $150MX ($12CDN) and I said fine, just give me a receipt. I got a receipt and handed over the money. I don’t mind paying a little extra sometimes because we take up about 1/3 of the available room under the bus, but I hate being made a fool too.


Amanda writes: The ride was pretty uneventful although I was really struck by the remoteness of the area. In most of Mexico you can’t go 50 kilometres without seeing a store or a person. In this stretch there was nothing. As Andrew said Salina Cruz was not a great town and while he said he talked to the ticket agents calmly, he was pissed! It’s not often Andrew gets angry but he was downright livid. I was ready to say take your bus tickets and shove them up your ass, we ain’t paying but Andrew fought the battle. In the end I was unaware of the 150 pesos ticket and payment and good thing because I would have told them to take our bikes off the bus at that point. After the fact I said to Andrew we should have told them we didn’t have any more pesos. I’m sure that if we hand them our credit card and they were forced to make it ‘official’ they would forget it. At the end of the day we got there safely and that is most important.


Today’s Photographs

A Little Bit of Everything
Tuxtla Gutierrez