Thursday, September 22, 2016

Puebla Redux Part 1

This was going to be an interesting 3 day weekend in Puebla. There were 6 of us heading out early and 2 more that were joining us somewhere along the way and because I have been here before I was unceremoniously selected as tour leader. These are dumb people I work with.

One of the reasons I am obstinate about being self sufficient while on the road showed it's ugly head at the ADO bus terminal early Friday morning. There had been a discussion of one person heading to the station a few days early to purchase everyone's ticket. "We need to sit together" is something that I can not process. It is a bus and most of us will be lost in sleep or our Ipods. Long conversations are not a usual option for me while on a bus, train or plane and I think that is usual for most people, even those who will not admit it.

Well went to the station first and purchased my ticket for the 8:00 am bus as nobody could make up their mind what time to leave. That put my crew into a bit of a scramble to get organized and sorted out but to no avail all tickets were purchased. When purchasing bus tickets on most Latin American bus lines you reserve your seat and ADO is no different. At the counter they show you a seat map and you choose your seat. I try to get a set a few rows behind the driver for a couple of reasons. First, if there is an issue I am near the front door and second if there is an issue while driving there is a natural tendency for a driver, any driver, to swerve away from the issue so where ever the driver goes I am right on his tail. Hopefully my logic never gets tested. I was the first ticket purchased for that particular time and day, seat number 5. As were were walking to the station Jess had mentioned that when they bought their ticket they noticed that seat 5 was still available and I had better check to make sure I had the right bus. I am thinking, "nope, I am good" because all tickets are verified and reviewed at the counter before you leave. I start thinking "I wonder if they picked the wrong time, nah they would have double checked before they left the ticket agent."

The Greatest Bathroom Signs I Have Ever Seen

Now I have made many mistakes along my journey especially with bus tickets and times, usually messing up morning and evening times which costs me the price of a second ticket. As I said, I am obstinate about being self sufficient at times. Those who know me I can hear your sarcastic "reeeeeallies". As we are lining up and starting to board I hear a very meek "hey people are in our seats". I board first, find my lucky seat number 5, say good morning to the woman beside me, sit and and while settling I notice my partners in Puebla crime are nowhere behind me. I can hear outside the bus in loud Spanglish "Ok, wait here for us, we will change our tickets".  You guessed it, my happy crew had book their tickets for the Saturday 8:00 am and were rushing back to change their tickets. Nobody bothered to check the date on the tickets and I had found out that the tickets were purchased by Jess who has minimal Spanish skills. It all worked out as it usually does and became a funny talking point that night over beer. HOWEVER, this enhances my trust issues with other people managing my affairs while on the road. I do not care about mistakes, errors, screw-ups, or doing something dumb ass but if that is going to happen I am going to do it myself because I like to think I know how to laugh it off and then Chuck it in the Fuck it Bucket.

We Arrived Alive
We arrived in Puebla in what I  think is the greatest bus terminal I have ever been to. Large, well massive, clean and organized. It could easily be confused for an airport terminal. We found a cab for 60 pesos (although the bus was 7 pesos) it was only 20 pesos each and off we went to the UNESCO Heritage Town Centre. It was as crowded as you would have expected it to be on Independence Day with the lead up to what turned out to be a massive parade. I was excited for the parade because 4 of my English students were marching in it with their school.

The parade as it turned out was a combination of military showmanship and high school bands with Mexican traditions tossed in. I am not a military person and I am tired of our obsession with it but both Lucy and I agreed independently that it was cause for concern that that military and police received a larger ovation than the proud student bands. It should give us ample observation as to where we are as a declining species and as to why that is happening.

This was a nice way to start Independence Day. The parade was loud, energetic and fun to be a part of. It lasted about 2 hours and the sun was starting to beat down on my bald head pretty good so after the high school band from Tehucan marched by it was time to wander and explore Puebla. There was fun to be had.

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