Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bus Ride from Hell . . . to Paradise

Now the distance between Oaxaca and Puerto Esconido looks about the same as Philly to New York City, which would take any sensible driver 2 hours. There are two buses you can take from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido: the first class bus for about $35 takes the flat, newer highwaysaround the mountains and takes 8 hours or the second class bus for $17 that cuts right through and takes 5 hours. Given this info, which would you take? Second class, right there with you.

Ehhhh! Wrong choice. I am no elitist. Hell, I had slept on the floor already one night on this trip, but this was a scary bus. It took off as the sun had just set. Extra passengers stood in the aisle, holding on to the back of my seat for one hour as the contraption (nearly a bus) zig-zagged up the mountain range. Each and every settlement along the roads had put in a tope, or speedbump, bringing our demon-speeding bus to a screeching crawl.

My alarm went off at 1am, what should have been 20 minutes before arrival, but the minutes, then the hours ticked by.

The view out the window was jungle flying by to the right. Then jungle flying by to the left as the bus wound very narrow pot-holed roads. Our soundtrack was that creepy Bach organ fugue, followed by Carmina Burana and then . . . the Nutcracker Suite. Was this a nightmare or dream? For the next four hours I was wide awake thinking I'd miss my stop.

I didn't, at 4:30am we arrived. My hostel's guard let me in, pointed to a bed and I collapsed.

I awoke to paradise. A walled in set of houses that all seemed to run together surrounded a quiet pool. A bridge ran over the pool and let to hammocks and lounging chairs. Palm trees were everywhere. Nothing looked too well kept, but in my haze of little sleep it was a dream. I put on my suit, got directions and headed out to the nearest beach. My hostel was a ways away from the center of nightlife and a good walk to the beach, but oh what a beach. One of the more secluded, less traveled beaches, I found myself virtually alone, with a cove of blue and multiple sleepy little bars ready to hack a coconut for me and stick in a straw.

Now this was a vacation.

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