Who's on the Bus? Who's on the Bus?
Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
163Trip End May 10, 2011
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Where I stayed
We decided to take a rest day in Acaponeta and were happy that Jason decided to take a day off too. The first thing that stands out when you arrive in Acaponeta (especially when riding a bicycle) is the many "cobble stone" or more accurately rounded river stone, streets. The central plaza is disappointingly small and not inviting for a town of this size (34,000 people). We discovered the small covered local market where things like vegetables, fruit, nuts, chicken, fish, pork, beef and cleaning supplies were sold. We stopped there for a tasty "torta", a large bun stuffed with mayo, stewed meat, cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato, onion and if you desire, a healthy helping of roasted chillies that will put hair on your chest.
We chilled out at the hotel for a bit, Jason practiced his Spanish with the manager and we played around with our blog. At this point, Dave and I decided to head for cooler climes. Guadalajara, at 5000 feet, sounded great to us.
The manager of our hotel suggested we'd go to "Gratis" for a meal on the edge of town where food is free as long as you buy beer (from noon to 4PM only). That sounded like music to the boys ears. I am not much of a beer drinker but my drink of choice, "limonada naturel", at 30 pesos or 3x the price of beer, counted too.
We hopped in a taxi and found the large open air cantina with few tables occupied. Soon we were set up with 2 large buckets on stands filled with bottles of beer on ice and the first round of delicacies arrived; a small plate of cevichi (or delicious raw citrus marinated fish salad), a plate of boiled octopus and squid, and a plate of what we decided must have been jellyfish or something of that nature. The jelly thing was not a big hit with any of us. Jason cringed at the sight of the chopped up pieces of octopus and squid. The salsa was so hot that all 3 of us sat there with Donald Duck lips for a while before we could resume exploring this feast. Then a fish soup appeared with unpeeled shrimp looking up at us and we all dug-in with gusto...yummm. Next, a plate of raw and a plate of cooked unpeeled shrimp kept us busy for a while. We asked for the raw shrimp to be replaced by cooked shrimp but that never materialized.
We made the long walk back toward the hotel. We stopped into a couple of bus ticket offices and decided on the 11:30 AM bus for the next day that would arrive in Guadalajara (440km/260pesos) in 5 and a half hours. As we walked out, the sky opened up and a torrential downpour hit us. Dave and Jason took shelter in an internet cafe while I sauntered back to the hotel. I figured I couldn't get wetter than wet. It was a warm enough rain to be refreshing and soon some intersections were filled ankle deep in water. A lightning flash filled the sky followed immediately by an earth-shattering thunder boom. It scared me! And it was right above me! I was happy to be near the safety of the hotel and quickly went inside.
In the morning, everyone slowly packed and prepared to say goodbye to Acaponeta. We parted with Jason. He hadn't had enough abuse of the heat. And in fact, he had a big day planned - 140+ kilometers! It was 9:30am by now and he was postponing take-off as long as possible. He hoped to cross the mountains to Guadalajara within several weeks. But for now, he planned to stay on the coast and cut over at Tecoman where he could take advantage of the toll road's broad shoulder.
Dave and I picked up a torta for brunch at the market and waited for the bus to Guadalajara at the small ticket office. The 6.5 hr bus ride was uneventful. As we got to higher altitude the jungle gave way to pine trees and agave farms. Time to set our clock 1 hr forward. We arrived at 7 pm at the large long distance bus station in Tlaquepaque, on the southern outskirts of Guadalajara and about 8km from the center of town. It felt great to step outside without being hit in the face by the choking heat and humidity. It was a pleasant 80F and felt cooler. With the bus arriving later than planned, we estimated we could not get to the center of Guadalajara before dusk. It would not be a good idea to navigate through heavy traffic, and then find a place to stay, in the dark. The Serena hotel is adjacent to the bus station. It had an impressive lobby, restaurant and swimming pool in nice garden. Our tiny room was a bit grimy with a window and an overhead fan. It cooled down outside but our rooms stayed warm and without air-con to help, it stayed stuffy. At 409 pesos, we expected more comfort. The highly recommended restaurant served sub-par food. The wi-fi connection was only available if you sat in the bar or restaurant. Nonetheless, we were excited and looking forward to spending an extended time Guadalajara.