The Odyssey
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Latin America Abeja Dispatch

 
 
 

El viaje de camión interminable
(The never-ending bus ride)
 
La llantera It was only supposed to take 15 hours - which really seemed like long enough to me. Kavitha and I were headed down the Baja Peninsula from Tijuana in the setting sun. Finally, we were really on our way! It was so exciting and scary and REAL. After watching the movie Jungle 2 Jungle (with Spanish subtitles), we finally snuggled down as best we could and fell asleep.

Around 2:30 AM I realized that one of our stops was taking a mighty long time and was really noisy. I stumbled sleepily off the bus to find the two right rear wheels removed and men pouring water over them to cool them off. One of them, it seems, was punchada - flat. We were stopped at a llantera (a tire repair store) in a small town somewhere. The men had to pry the tire off the rim with crow bars while hitting it with sledge hammers. Once they got the inner tube out they filled it with air and submerged it in water, looking for the bubbles that show where the hole is.

I thought off my students back at the ReCyclery - a bike store and job training center for kids back in San Rafael, California where I used to work. How many times had I taught them how to fix a flat on a bike? This was exactly the same, only much bigger! They roughed up the spot around the hole with sandpaper, covered it in rubber cement (the same brand we used!) and, after letting it dry a little, put on a patch.

All this took over an hour (they weren't as fast as my students), but we finally got back on the bus...only to be awakened right after sunrise because the tire had gone flat AGAIN! So we sat by the roadside this time, while they took the bus (with all our stuff, including the computers!) to another llantera to fix the flat. After paying my 1 centavo to use the restroom, I took inventory of who was on the bus with me - there seemed to be mostly Mexicans, but there were four other travelers from the US, six guys from Switzerland, and two Japanese men. Since all my time in Mexico so far has been on the bus, I thought I'd introduce you to some of the people I met.

The bus we were on was headed to La Paz, a big city in the far south of Baja, California, so all the kids on the bus were headed there, and since it was Sunday, everyone had to get back the next day for school. Michelle de La Paz Delechea is four years old and was travelling with her grandmother. She sat near me on the bus and we made silly faces at each other most of the way. Her friends were explaining to me that they use both their mother's and father's apellido (last name). Her mother's last name is de La Paz, and her father's is Delechea.

Sergio & Abeja

Sergio is a cute 17-year-old guy from La Paz who sat in front of us part of the way on the bus. Through all this mess he was smiling, as if he was in on a joke we didn't know about. He is in preporatorio-a year of school that prepares students to go to the university - and he plans on going to the University in DF (Mexico City) next year. (They refer to Mexico City, el Districto Federal, as "De efe" - the same way Washington, District of Colombia in the US is called DC).

On the way again and then "POP!" another flat around noon. We were already supposed to be at Rancho el Coyote several hours ago! This time the sun was up, we were more awake, and we were in the mountainous desert of central Baja California. There were beautiful cactuses everywhere. Since we knew it would take over an hour, Kavitha and I started climbing up a nearby hill to see if we could see the ocean or the Sea of Cortez from where we were. Hide (said "He-de”), a young Japanese man I'd met on the bus, joined us. It was a steep but beautiful hike, and, although the view from the top was nice, we could only see mountains in every direction.

We finally arrived at Rancho El Coyote at about 4 PM - six hours later than planned. What a way to start our round the world travels!

Check out our travel route in Odyssey Maps, and check out our next update to find out what you should do if you ever go to Coyote Point thinking you will meet a friend who you can stay with (like we did) or that you can stay at a hotel (like we did) and find out that you’re wrong on both counts!


 
 
Monica - Trek Team Crosses the Border!
Team - The Border, Through Time
Team - Seeking "El Norte"
Klaus - Ready...or Not?...
 
Meet Abeja | Abeja's Archive
 
 
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