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Monday, 22 February 2010

Hola Mexico, Mucho Gusto!

The difference between flying into Mexico City Airport and flying into Chicago Airport is unbelievable. When I got off the plane the first security check is in a big non imposing air conditioned room. The security staff were all extremely pleasant and I was greeted with ´Welcome to Mexico!´ as well as some other friendly words which went a long way to taking the stress out of the airport experience. The complete opposite is true of Chicago Airport.

I knew that I was going to land in Mexico at 7.30 and had booked a bus that left Mexico City bus station at 9.00. I pre-booked the bus because it was the last one available going to Ixtepec that night. I felt stressed on the plane as I fully expected that with security and getting my bags it would take about an hour to get out of the airport. That would then leave me half an hour to get to the bus station and if there were any delays I would have had to find somewhere to stay in Mexico City, which I must admit , I had not made any plans to do. No problems came up as I got through security and picked up my bag without a hitch.

I had read and heard a lot of bad things about how dangerous Mexico City can be. I take all these things with a pinch of salt because most cities are dangerous if you make yourself an easy target. The main thing I had been told was to be careful getting in taxis as there are frequent express kidnappings around the city and airport. The airport combats this problem with what seems like a very efficient system of buying taxi tickets in the airport and recording all the taxis as they pull up. There are staff outside with clipboards that ensure that you get into a recognized taxi.

I got to the bus station in plenty of time to get the bus. It is really well organized and easy to navigate. They have a check in system for luggage which records what bags you put on the bus. The bus was as comfortable as a bus can be for 13 hours in terms of the seats. It was possible to lean the seat quite far back, and as I was quite tired after the time zone change, the Chicago trip etc I tried in vain to get some sleep. I could feel that my body was near the point of complete exhaustion but I was unable to sleep at all. I was sitting in the front seat of the bus, on the opposite side from the driver. I entertained myself by switching between watching the on board film, looking out the window and every now and again looking at the driver. It was really dark by the time we left Mexico City and probably around 11oclock. As the journey went on I noticed that the driver seemed to be quite uncomfortable in his seat. He keep shuffling back and forward, rubbing his head, opening the window and wriggling around. At first I didn't take much notice until after a while I realized that he was trying to stop himself from falling asleep. He progressed from looking a bit tired to nodding his head a little every now and again. I practically drove the rest of the way in my mind. His steering became erratic and at several points I fully expected to crash off one of the many sheer drops we passed and die. Either that or crash into an oncoming articulated lorry. Luckily after a few painful hours we stopped at a rest area and the driver changed.

It was a pity that the bus journey was through the night because I literally saw nothing on the way down. It started to get light just as we got near to Ixtepec, my final destination. I took a few photos out of the bus window as it became light.







More to follow!

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