“Dead Ends & Inconveniences” Pandemic Prowling #13

Opportunity gone.

(August 2020)

After the little mishap in Tulum, Mexico, I spent much of my time staying with different hosts as a WWOOFer (a collective of farm work exchanges). As I was living in more secluded areas, the effects of lockdown measures were heavily minimalized as most interactions were made akin to those in pre Pandemic times.

It was a different and unexpected experience which warrants its own post so I’ll leave it at that. The point came though when I was losing interest with one of my hosts and was ready to move on to the next one. At the time I was in Merida, Mexico, the next host I wanted to get to was located in a rural part of a neighboring state (Quintana Roo) of the country.

Getting to smaller regions in any country in the world tends to be more difficult. And that is during normal times, so during these abnormal times of movement restrictions it was made even more difficult. What was supposed to happen was a bus could be taken from Merida to a nearby town (Chiquila) where I would be picked up by my host. Problem was that the state in which this town was located had it’s own regulations on top of what was already imposed by the federal government of Mexico. One such regulation limited the movement of public transportation from other states. This meant that I would not be able to take a direct bus into where I wanted to go. So after contacting my host about the dilemma, he did some digging and found that what I could do instead was take a bus into the largest city in the region (Cancun) and arrange a contact that operates shuttles whom are still allowed to take people to regions within the state.

That was the plan, I arranged the contact to pick me up and off I went. Getting from one major city (Merida) to the next (Cancun) passed without too much issue. Finding the pick up spot for the shuttle was a different story. It was a ways off from where the bus stop is in Cancun and me being me, I didn’t feel like paying for a taxi to get me there. What I did instead was take local transport via collectivos (shared shuttle taxis) to get me where I needed to go. After a lot of communication issues and getting laughed at as I got off the collectivo, I got to where the Google Maps location told me to wait. The place was a dead end road in a residential area.

This was obviously not the place and the pick up time passed with no sign of anyone as I proceeded to ask from person to person where this shuttle was. Eventually, a man speaking decent English whom was walking in the same direction guided me to where I needed to go. It was the local bus station where I found some shuttles waiting. After some back and forth with a bunch of taxi guys eager to overcharge a foreigner, I was told that even though I had missed my shuttle, I could get on the next one. I just had to wait for a number of hours.

And when that shuttle finally arrived, I gritted my teeth and was reasonably courteous to the driver that gave me the wrong location leading to a delay to my travel plans. The ride there was thankfully uneventful, after arriving to the town where I was going, it was only a matter of asking some neighbors for assistance contacting my host to come pick me up late in the night.

All the while I reflected on how even within a country that has reasonably loose restrictions during the pandemic, things aren’t always so simple. But are they ever?

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