contains mild peril

Monday, March 27, 2006

oh, sorry, obviously i misunderstood... lesson #1

Ok, I've just got to the bit in my diary where I'd booked the bus to Coban. I'd checked out a coupla places and it looked like a similar deal price-wise whichever tourist office i looked in.
Now, as I keep on saying, my Spanish is a bit ropey (ie nonexistent) but still I reckon that through the universal language of slow talking, making stuff sound spanish and a few sprinkled spanish words - as well as pointing to a fucking picture - the agent and I had agreed that the bus would pick me up from my hotel door and in one journey take me to Coban. I was sceptical cos the other places didn't do it in one journey, so I pressed him on this:
"Panajachel - Coban?"
"No stopping??"
"No?? Really???" (slightly incredulous as its quite far and everyone else had mentioned a stop...)
"Si. Yes. It stops in Guatamala City"
"Ah, so Panajachel - Guatamala City - Coban?"
"Same bus?"
"I don't change bus in Guatamala City?"
"No. Same bus" and he's pointing to a picture pinned on the wall of a big fancy american style bus.
"That takes me all the way??!? Panajachel - Guatamala - Coban??!!??"
"Yes. Special price.... good!" This 'special price' being the same as every other tourist office, of which there are well over a dozen on this street.
"Same bus?!?!??"

In fact I'll cut this short (I've already gone on but... ah well). anyway, instead of a big american style bus, I get picked up by the (usual) minibus and travel to Guatamala City. Here I'm turfed out at the bus station and waved onto the public bus to Coban. Admittedly not a "chicken bus", but still. I kind've expected this as that's what they mentioned in the Lonely Planet as being a typical journey (hence my disbelief in the tourist office) but still. After pointing at photos and actually writing down town names with hyphens between, I kind've expected....

Lesson #1 - don't expect.

actually lesson #godknows with the next one being "Take advantage of it now".
"It" being the thing for sale, a toilet break, food, anything. Even if you're not hungry or thirsty, or don't need to pee - pee. Drink. Take advantage NOW cos the next time could be hours away, and when you get off this damn bus, you gotta find a hotel and negotiate.

and negotiating while tired and needing to pee is not good.
Maybe that's a lesson too.



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