Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30th, 2011 Mexico trip of doom-Day 4

Woke up refreshed this morning bright and early and was ready to get back to Rock Farm. We made a few side trips that involved a lot of wrong turns, a crapload of cows, a rickety fence, a dead cow, burritos, a dusty road, a prison gift shop, and seeing Jabirus, which are the most amazing ginormous birds ever. I had been hoping to see them since I got here and since I am a bird nerd it made my day to finally spot some.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday May 29th, 2011-Day three of Mexico trip of doom

   I woke up at 11am today on the top bunk of a set of bunk beds very confused and wondering how I possibly held down so much alcohol and did not die. I vaguely recalled the evening before and as I became more awake I started to piece everything together. One thing I vividly remember is trying to climb into the top bunk and smashing my dirty foot into some guys face on another bed. Oops, sorry guy but that's what you get for staying in a hostel that costs $12 US a night. I then showered and laid back down until after 2 at which time Hayley informed me that if we didn't check out by two we would be charged a late fee to keep staying at this dump of a place.
  Once I had begun moving around the hang over really started to hit me. I think it was definitely possible that at 11am I had still been drunk. By two I was definitely not drunk anymore and my whole body was letting me know how much it hated me. Did I mention Hayley can't drive so I had to do all the driving. Ya, not fun. We decided to stop at Gran Cenote which is right outside of town to do some snorkeling and try to refresh ourselves before making the trek home. Very good choice on our part. Snorkeling the caves was amazing and the bird life was out of this world!

  After our afternoon of snorkeling we hit the road. At first it wasn't too bad. I was feeling better but not great. I had decided to definitely make it over the border before stopping for the night. Easier said than done. We stopped for gas and both realized we had no pesos on us and big surprise they didn't take cards! We then had to drive about a mile to the closest ATM with two boys from the gas station in the back of the truck to make sure we didn't just drive away. My favorite part was trying to explain to the man at the gas pump in horrible spanish that we had no money but we had a card. Also, as we are telling this guy we have no money their is some man trying to sell us juice on the other side of the car. After this little disaster I decided it was now my top priority to get over the border where I could use my Belize money and could speak english.

  Once again everything was going ok until we were about ten miles from the border. Their were no signs anywhere directing us to the flipping border, it was ridiculous. And of course because I was tired, grumpy, and had the worst headache of my life the first three ways we drove were wrong. We must have stopped at ten gas stations trying to get directions. The worst part is half the people just stared blankly at us even though I had the stupid phrasebook and knew I was asking where the border was. I was so close to my breaking point I thought for sure I was going to lose it. It ended up taking us an hour to get ten miles to the stupid border. At the border we met a fantastic fellow with gold teeth who helped us get through customs and of course tried to get our phone numbers. At this point it was dark out and I could only smile politely and tell him I was married. He kept calling me bird girl because I told him I worked with birds and then he asked if I could rescue him. The whole thing was so weird and I just kept staring at those shiny gold teeth wondering what it would look like if he had spinach in them. So weird.
  Once over the border we stopped in the first town and got a private room to ourselves with fans and electricity and everything! It was cheap too, I believe $30US for the both of us. Getting the room was quite interesting because the owner had apparently gotten drunk and passed out. Luckily their were some guys on the balcony who went and got him out of bed. He came down drunkenly and told me I was the most tired looking person that had ever come into his establishment. He then gave us directions to a chinese restaurant called Romantic Restaurant. We of course got lost and ended up going to a chinese restaurant called Rainbow Restaurant. Everything seemed good until they started blaring their crap music. My head once again felt like it was going to explode and the very thought of food made me green in the face. I just sat there staring at a little Christmas tree that they had failed to take down and at a huge man at the bar who laughed like a small child. Then some jerk pulled up literally right outside of the door and while waiting on his take out he proceeded to blare his crap music even louder than the restaurants with his doors wide open etc. I then proceeded to lay in the car while Hayley got the check.
 I can honestly say I have never slept so good in my life. I showered and as soon as my head hit the pillow I was out. Thank you  Sea Breeze Hotel for being clean and quiet and just what I needed after a day of driving through Mexico!
View from outside of the hotel

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 28th, 2011 Mexico trip of doom-Day 2

So the morning started off wonderful today. Dennis treated us to breakfast. Hayley and I played a game of how long until Dennis notices the big chunk of oatmeal on his face. Then we enjoyed our last few hours in the pool.

We dropped Dennis off at the airport and although I knock him about stuff he really is a very giving and nice person (to people he knows). Plus who else would let two girls drive off in his vehicle in Mexico : )
 We had decided to drive down to Tulum and stay the night there. Hayley picked the place which was a hostel and I learned very quickly I don't like hostels, no matter how cheap they are. So we got our room keys and went to check out the town. We found an amazing vegan restaurant and lots of weird stuff at the shops along the main road.

After that we went and checked out the beaches.

After exploring we went back to the hostel and got online for a bit and had some drinks. I got into a deep and meaningful conversation about birds and the Hayley and I decided we needed food. So we went and ate and drank and then went somewhere else and drank, and then another place and drank. I remember bits and pieces of the evening like someone trying offer us shots of tequila and me refusing because there was a worm in the bottle. Then I remember that the bar was closed but we were still in it. Then I remember ending up at some sort of bar/music venue. After that it gets quite blurry. I remember trying to crawl into bed which was of course the top bunk and accidentally putting my foot in his face and that's about it.Luckily I try to document things so they can be pieced back together later

I can definitely tell you this much. I was very very thankful that the last bar we stopped at was across the street from the hostel.
Dear Tulum, you kicked my ass

Friday, May 27, 2011

May 27th, 2011 Mexico trip of doom day 1

Ok where do I begin....
   A while back I offered to take the father in law of the director of the rescue up to Cancun. His flight back to the U.K. had gotten all messed up and he had to fly out of there instead of Belize City. I like Dennis and figured it would be a good way for me to see a bit of Mexico. I was wrong, this was completely the worst possible way to see Mexico ever. This is the list of events that took place over a period of three and a half days.

Day 1- Got about an hour from home and got stopped because the bus system had gone on strike and to show everyone that they meant business they parked their buses across the main roads (keep in mind their are no side roads in Belize) and then proceeded to pile up tires on the road and start them on fire.This first snag held us up for about an hour or so.
                                              notice Dennis trying to talk some sense into the police : )

The next road block was a bit more intense. We decided to follow a fast moving car up through all of the parked cars on the side of the road right up into the front lines. We then realized we were following a car full of policemen with guns. OOPS.
These people got restless and decided it would be best to throw rocks

When I think about what happened next I seriously look back and think, wow, how am I not dead....
A man dressed in plain clothing comes to the car, which unfortunately I was driving, and he says follow me you can go around the buses. We start to go and a police officer stops us asking what we are doing. We point to him. She points out the obvious, he is a random man leading you into a mess of burning tires. We wait, he keeps telling us to come, she says no, another well dressed man shows up, then a police captain proceeds to tell us that the lawyer for the bus system guys has talked to them and they have decided to randomly let us and another vehicle drive around the chaos and pass. If you look at the pics above you will see a large ditch type area that they are telling us to drive through. The officer then tells us "if you want to go you can, but if something happens then we will not be held responsible."  Ding ding ding!!! Red alert!! Stop, do not pass go!!! That's what a reasonable person would've thought and it is what I thought. Unfortunately I had Dennis sitting next to me telling me in his british accent. "Go on then" And we did, and we drove through fire and almost broke the car and I can't believe we survived. 

The next road block was a bit smaller but also impassable, at least for the common person. Dennis was driving at this point and I had fallen asleep in the back. When I awoke I was told that Dennis had talked to a guy and we were going to follow them down a random dirt road that would take us around the road block. Keep in mind the guys in this vehicle are completely random and as we are following them Dennis tells Hayley to write down their license plate number. Very encouraging! At this point I just put my head down and hoped for the best. We did end up getting around the road block but it did not come cheap and Dennis had to pay up. 

     From that point on it was uneventful, until we reached the border. Now please keep in mind as you are reading this, with each passing second I am thinking more and more about leaving Dennis behind on one of his many pee breaks that he took next to the vehicle. So we get to the border. Hayley and I have to pay to leave Belize and as we are doing so Dennis disappears so as to avoid paying for us. We then enter Mexico. I have only been through Mexico a few times and it is unreal. EVERYONE is trying to scam you always. So out of the three of us we know basically no spanish which is also quite helpful. Also on a side note, as the day went on my confidence that Dennis actually did know everything as he had previously stated started to fade.    
    So here we are at the border and Dennis sends us out as he parks. We walk up to the guy outside in the booth and he gives us the proper forms to fill out etc. We then look inside and there's Dennis. He opens the door and says "what are you two doing out there?" We get confused and go back around coming in through the door Dennis came in that is clearly marked "exit" in spanish. Dennis gets up to the guy inside and he is promptly turned away to the man outside. His response "Well this has changed since last time I was here." My thought...."so previously it was ok to enter through the exit door?"
   It gets better... we make it through customs etc. and Dennis wants to exchange some money. He tells us there's a guy behind the place that has a good exchange rate. He seriously walks up to a random man taking a nap behind a fence and says "hello sir, do you give good rates on money." At that point I had my camera ready to take a picture of Dennis's expression as a random man ran off with his cash. LUCKILY for him the man was honest and pointed him in the right direction.
   After that it was pretty calm. We saw a police raid that was blocking off a street and hit a speed bump going way to fast and almost broke the car, yet again.We finally arrived at the hotel after eleven hours of being in the car together. Dennis chose the hotel for us and it was well worth the chaos of the day.

  Dennis then treated us to a lovely dinner at some weird place where they walk around with sticks of meat and you flip a card over if you want some. It was gross and weird but the salad bar was top notch. After getting back to the hotel Hayley and I had drinks, got harassed by some guy who wanted to play the guitar for us and another who was wasted and who's Mom was sitting on a chair behind him watching over him. I think the best part of that night though was the sleep. It felt so nice to sleep in a room with air conditioning and watch american tv. I forgot how much I missed those things!