I got up at 6 am this morning knowing I was headed out. It's quite a good feeling; knowing almost everytime you buy a ticket, it's one-way. I had some breakfast in the shared kitchen consisting of bananas, apricot yogurt and some toasted bread. I was soon joined by a new arrival to the hostel, a girl around 18-25 named Holly. She was pretty cute, interesting and carried on a good conversation. We talked about travel and soon started discussing my trip. She was seemingly interested, and after seeing my copy, ended up buying "Central America on a Shoestring" by Lonely Planet from the hostel owner.
I gathered my stuff together as my bus to Chetumal left at 9:30. As I passed by the kitchen to say goodbye to Holly, she asked if she could walk to the terminal with me. As we walked, she said she was just planning on staying on the beach in Cancun, but that after hearing about what I was doing, she thought about more. She asked what I thought she could do with $800 US. I told her about my trip to Belize and then on to Guatemala, and when we got to the bus station, I helped her book a ticket to Chetumal on Saturday. It was a lot of fun to help someone else start out. We parted ways, and I headed to the departure area. Best of Luck Holly - hope you enjoy it.
The bus to Chetumal was surprisingly nice. It was as good or better than any charter I'd ever been on. I ended up getting seat #1, right behind the driver. It was a blessing and a curse - not much leg room, but the front window on this thing was massive. One sheet of glass encompassed basically the whole front of the bus - it was like sitting in a mini IMAX theater. Glad I don't get car sick.
This route to Chetumal was direct, meaning it took only 5 hours, and stopped for nature only 3 times. The bus driver was pretty legalistic on the breaks. I almost got left in some little town as I went across the street to get a Coke. You havent been alive until you hear the "bus in reverse" beeping, knowing it was yours, that you have no idea where the hell in Mexico you are and they arent waiting. There was some on-board entertainment - and by entertainment I mean torture. The movie was a Spanish-dubbed presentation of "The Notebook". Good Lord. Not sure how much worse it could get. After that we stepped it up to an English (Spanish subtitled) Steven Segal movie. I missed the title, but with Segal, does it really matter?
About halfway into the trip, a small boy, probably 7 or 8, came up to talk to the bus driver. After a 10-15 minutes, the driver invited the boy to sit in the co-pilot's seat. His eyes lit up, and happily agreed. It was a really big bus, and the co-pilot seat actually folds down over the stairway leading up into the cabin. The boy folded down the chair and hopped in with a big smile on his face. His feet dangled over the stairway as he fastened his seatbelt. Over the next couple hours, he and the bus driver had a good chat, the boy seeming just as content staring outside watching the road go past the huge front window. He had the smile of an explorer on his face.
I started thinking about my trip and his. For some reason, the boy wasn't satisfied just sitting in his seat waiting for the ride to commence and end. He wanted to go up front where the action was. Something compelled him to get out of his seat, leave his parents, walk up to the front of the bus and learn more. Do more. He wanted to be a part of the story. To be a participant, not a passenger.
When I looked out the window, I felt that too. I loved watching the countryside go by. I love not knowing exactly where im going, but knowing im moving forward. I want to be a part of the action. I wasnt doing that for a long time, and i could feel it eating at me. Things change though. Im in the front seat now.