OR IS IT A FALSE ECONOMY TO GET “THE CHICKEN BUS” AND OR CHEAPO TOUR BUS?
No two ways about it. I’m sick and dispirited. And here is why.
ALERT: This post contains material some people might find distressing!!!
After a awful days travelling yesterday on a “Tour Bus”(against my better judgement,) I woke after a fitful sleep only to feel odd and like I had no energy still. Sharp pains ensued then I ran over to unceremoniously open my bowels in the loo. Over the next hour hot liquid ran from me and, as my grand finale, I puked into the hand basin that was right next to my head in the tiny shower room. I also had a fever.
Whimpering, I crawled over the floor back to my bed to lie down and wait for the next onslaught. When properly poisoned, as I’m sure many of you know, this can go on long after your total body weight is spent. It’s a mystery where it all comes from. I did feel a little better after the vomit but knew my bowels hadn’t finished with me. This bacteria was no doubt picked up on one of the filthy bus rests chosen by the tour bus company. The stress of the journey had no doubt weakened me as I never have had such an alarming food poisoning and fever. I am normally a tough old bird.
All this leads to, to bus or not to bus?
I did a couple of very successful and cheap bus rides in Peru and was very happy with them, super comfy very cheap and easy to organise. A really good alternative to flying and renting cars. A lot of them have a choice of reclining seat or a complete 180 bed as they call it, and very fine they are too. Erratic WiFi and food are also sometimes available like being on a plane.
Guatemala however is a different animal. A friend came over from Mexico and we decided to travel a bit in the notoriously more dangerous Guatemala. I organised the bus with Guatego, a super agency that is immaculate in its follow up service. If you have any questions however ludicrous, they promptly respond and patiently reply. The bus from Guatemala City to Coban was really comfortable and, although not as good as the Peruvian ones, still excellent for the price.
Then the little van from Coban to Lanquin.What can I say? This is what I can say. Nightmare. No toilet, squeezed in dangerously and it took much longer on the terrible road than they said. I held onto a wee until I could stand it no longer (I was in agony on that potholed road) Finally I had to go to the driver upsetting all the other passengers (such arseholes!) and beg to be let out. He did this happily enough and I rushed barefoot to the edge of the jungle and took a piss baring my bum to our passengers who looked on fascinated and to the trucks passing behind us. If I remember correctly I got a cheer from them, I didn’t care, the relief was exquisite. In Lanquin we got a 4×4 organised by the hotel for a 45 minute bone rattling drive in the dark to the hotel.By then I cared not where I was going only that I had relieved my bladder.
After the drama of getting there you have a kip then you climb up the mountain for the fabulous view and the swim in the fabulous pools and say it’s fabulous and then you’re kinda done. There’s nothing more to do. This is true of all these remote locations which you have to bear in mind if the journey is going to be a mass of messy connections. I didn’t have this problem so much in Mexico but I only took the good big buses, that being said NONE of them were as good as the Peruvian ones and in Colombia I got taxis on a day deal.
So I managed to get some WiFi and emailed my lovely lady at Guatego. She could fix me up with the trip to Flores for 35 dollars, the hotel however had a bus for 14 dollars. My friend said lets save the money and use the hotels own tour bus. MISTAKE!! These small stingy economies will ruin a perfectly doable trip and turn it into a snivelling, hideous, cry most of the way secretly, hate all the people, stinky cesspit of a trip. Just don’t do it!!
Herein lies the problem of not travelling solo in a nutshell. I caved to someone else’s wishes and didn’t stay with my lovely lady thus committing myself to 10 hours of hell.
I would NEVER have done this if alone. It works for some people but not me.
Nice Peruvian Bus below!
The passengers were mostly a group of very aggressive and hostile Israelis. They were so unfriendly that I was literally gobsmacked, no camaraderie that you usually get on rather,shall we say, difficult journeys and they squashed anyone not in their group so we were all left sullen and silent. The bus itself was tiny and overloaded with fold down seats in the middle so was, as far as I’m concerned, a death trap, and I was at the back. Claustrophobic and terribly trapped at the back of this ghastly vehicle I suffered 10 hours and was wrecked when we finally arrived. The next day I was terribly sick as explained above.
So, my friends the answer is this. NEVER TRAVEL ON THE CHEAPER VERSIONS OF THIS MODE OF TRANSPORT! Always get a decent coach with a reputable company, for us old birds it’s simply a terribly stressful way of making any trip especially the longer journeys. Sometimes it’s difficult to do this if you paint yourself into a corner with more tricky destinations, but with canny planning you don’t have to suffer in this way, and as I’ve said before it’s really stupid to go through this and get sick which could ruin your trip and send you home. I mentioned POOT in a previous blog to help you old girls out and now by this error I feel I must warn you of this.
An overnight bus ride back to Guatemala City was supposed to be Luxury, yes well that doesn’t exist there it would seem. I had my legs literally crushed by a faulty chair in front of me and an unrepentant man, after my complaints, said he was sorry only to do it again and then snored happily for the rest of the trip………..
Last word. I just spoke to the lovely owner of a Hotel in Belize’s Caye Caulker and he reiterated the problems they universally have there with the young Israelis who, having left their Military Service and going on a kind of gap year, seem to morph into elitist groups who bully and exclude the rest of the tourists. They are giving the normally lovely Israelis a bad name which is really a shame and in no way am I trying to give all Israelis a slur but maybe these young people need travelling etiquette lessons.
OVER AND OUT FROM A WEAKENED CREATURE REBECCA X