A week ago I decided to visit the U S and take care of a small medical procedure that I have been putting off for a few months. Although my medical problem should not affect my mental faculties, apparently it did as I made the decision to take a bus from San Blas to Tijuana.
There were two reasons that caused me to decide on the bus: The first was the cost which was only $65.; the second reason was that I could start the trip the next day at 10:00 a.m. I didn't fully appreciate how tough 30 hours on a bus would be.
We started right on time in San Blas with 6 passengers; stopped 45 minutes later in Villa Hildalgo to pick up another 18 passengers; stopped in two additional small towns for 15 more passengers; and, our last 3 passengers boarded in Mazatlan. Now there were 41 passengers on a 42 passenger bus. I was the only gringo and also the only person with two seats all to myself. I picked the row of seats that abut the outside of the restroom and therefore do not fully recline.
There were three toddlers on the bus and somehow all three were within one row of my location. Did you know that screams and crying sound the same in all languages? I figured that they would wear themselves out but they developed a system of trading of their screaming timelines. The screaming was not the worst part of the ride!
The trip is just over 2000 kilometers in length and we experienced 15 drug checkpoints along the way or one checkpoint every 70 miles. The checkpoints varied in length of delay from only 10 minutes to over 2 hours. At the short stops a soldier or cop would just get on and walk down the aisle looking at each passenger. Several of the stops involved a total search with all passengers required to leave the bus with their carry-on luggage. Then all of the luggage, ice chests and boxes from the storage compartments was removed and sent through an xray machine. The actual inspection for the longest stop took only about 45 minutes but the wait in line while they checked the buses that arrived before us was over an hour and a half.
After 36 hours we finally arrived at the final stop in TJ; another hour and I was across the border. My brother was waiting for me and we drove straight through to Bakersfield. All in all, the total travel time was 40 hours! Guess who is flying on the return trip!