Back   Home March 2002 May 2002 Maren & Kirk

April 2002 Daily Diary

Click here for our photo album

(Phoenix AZ USA, Mexico, Belize)

01.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

02.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

03.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

04.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

05.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

06.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

07.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

08.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

09.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

10.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

11.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

12.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

13.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

14.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

15.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

16.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

17.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

18.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

19.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

20.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

21.04.2002

Phoenix Arizona

 

22.04.2002

(photos)

 

It was time to leave.  Kirk's father drove us to the bus station near the airport. It was very hard to say goodbye.  We had such a great time in Phoenix. We are going to miss them a lot. However we have better get our trip going or we will never be done. So off we go to Mexico.  The first part of the trip took us 3.5 hours south to Nogales. A very seedy town on both sides of the border. Not a place one wants to stop over in very long.  What we thought was weird was that we never got an exit or entry stamp in our passports.  Hopefully it will not give us too much problems later.  We changed buses in Nogales and took the next bus to Hermosillio and then antherone to Mazatlan. We want to reach Zacatecas eventually tomorrow. We slept most of the time on the buses, so it was not too exciting.

23.04.2002

In Mazatlan we got the next bust to Durongo. This took 7 hours. We then finally got the next bus to Zacatecas.  To get here took over 36 hours.  But the time went quick.  Only problem was that Maren kept throwing up along the way. The bus speed along winding hilly roads.  Thank god we had a bag for her or it would have been all over the place.  She is a tough one though and took it with stride.  In Zacatecas we got a local bus to the center of the city and found a hotel.  After dropping off our stuff we walked around a little and checked the internet. Otherwise the day was just full of bus riding.  It will take a little time until we get used to it again.  We are a little bit out of practice. 

24.04.2002

In the morning we showered and did a little sightseeing in town. We basically walked around a lot looking at two different Cathedrals and taking in the flavor of the town.  It is a nice little town, which is not too touristy.  After doing some sightseeing we decided to go to Guanajuato.  We first had to take a bus to Leon and then catch a bus to Guanajuato.  We arrived around 6:00 pm. This town is very nice. We took the local bus to the center and found a hotel. The cheapest we could find was almost 20 US$. Very expensive for our tastes. But we did not want to waste too much time looking because we want to leave the town tomorrow to go to Mexico City.  After dropping of our stuff we walked around the town and had some street food for dinner. Hopefully we will not get any runs tonight.  We had tacos and some corn mixture.  It was not much, but it was ok. What we have noticed was that the prices so far in Mexico are almost comparable to the prices of things in the USA.  It is hard to understand how that can be.  It is not cheap in Mexico.

25.04.2002

This morning we woke up fairly early to go sightseeing in Guanajuato.  We walked around town, visiting various churches and walking through the small alley ways. The town is quite nice and easy to walk around in.  One also feels very safe. Supposedly one of the safer towns in Mexico.  We then walked to the Museo de las Mumias.  There they had a lot of mummies on display. These were mummies of ordinary people whose bodies were mummified naturally because of the climate here.  The museum only takes 15 to 30 minutes to see.  After finishing sightseeing in town we picked up our bags at our hotel and took the local bus to the bus station.  There we got a ticket on the cheap bus to Mexico City. Well it was a mistake taking the cheap bus, even though it saved us ten dollars.  It took over 7 hours to get there, while a normal priced bus only takes 4.5 hours.  Basically we tried to sleep the whole way, but is was hot and dusty in the bus and it kept on stopping along the way.  Around 6:30 pm we arrived in Mexico City. In deciding to play it safe we bought a prepaid taxi ticket there.  The guide book sort of recommended taking a taxi to the center of the city.  So we thought we have better spend the 3.9 $ and take the taxi to make sure we get there ok.  Well to no surprise we had major problems with the taxi driver.  These taxis are supposed to protect people from taxi drivers trying to rip them off.  Well he drove 3/4's of the way there and said he would not drive any further because the traffic was too much.  We tried to communicate with him that we paid for a ride to the hotel.  He did not want any part of it. He even hid our ticket receipt for the ride on his side of the dash board.  He eventually stopped at a hotel and stepped out to get someone. Kirk told Maren to grab the ticket.  The driver came back with a lady from the hotel. She tried to explain to us in English that the driver was saying that there was too much traffic. We explained our situation to her and told the driver we want our money back.  The driver was surprised not to find the ticket and he then agreed to give back our money. Kirk made sure first that we got our bags out of the trunk first and then made sure that we got the money from him before we gave him the ticket back. Why do these things always happen to us.  The lady from the hotel even apologized to us and showed us on the map how to get to the hotel we wanted to stay at.  So we ended up getting the taxi ride for free.  It is just a shame that we have to always get into a fight with people trying to rip us off.  The driver thought he could just drop us off anywhere and we would say ok.  The walk to the hotel took 15 minutes. There we checked in and then walked around town a little and had a little street food for dinner. Later we did some computer work and went to bed.

26.04.2002

After a Cheerios breakfast in our hotel room the sightseeing tour of Mexico City began.  The first stop was Plaza de la Constitucion  where the Catedral Metropolitana and Palacio Nacional were.  The church was fairly interesting and big.  It was then off to Templo Mayor nearby. We then walked in the opposite direction towards the Alameda Central Park. On the way we passed the Palacio de Bellas Artes which has Opera and Ballet performances.  We then walked to the American Embassy and Maren gave her INS ticket for US immigration. They did not check her at the border. We then walked to the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, a very good museum on Mexico's past focusing on different regions of the country.  It was a large Museum that tired us out a little. Afterwards we walked through Bosque de Chapultepec Park on the way back to the center of the city. We visited a couple of more churches before we had some tacos as a late lunch. At our hotel Maren filtered some water before we quickly checked the internet and then walked around some markets. They sell every piece of tacky junk imaginable.   We had some great cheese tortilla things for dinner.  They are pretty cheap, 55 US cents per tortilla.  In the evening we visited a free concert that was taking place on the  Plaza de la Constitucion.  In the hotel we showered, worked on our website and went to bed.

27.04.2002

Early in the morning it was off to the Teotihuacan Ruins right outside Mexico City.  We first took the subway to Norte Terminal, from there we took the bus to the ruins.  The ruins were very impressive even though a lot tourists eventually came.  They have done a fairly good job in restoring the structures. To our surprise we could walk up and down the pyramids.  In Egypt that was no longer allowed.  It got very hot early in the day, so we were happy that we had arrived so early.  Afterwards we went back to Mexico City the same way we came.  We went back to the same restaurant where we had the cheese Tortillas the day before.  They again were delicious.  We then visited the Plaza de la Constitucion and then went and got our backpacks from the hotel.  We then braved the subway with our big packs and took the train to TAPO bus station.  There we bought tickets on a direct bus to Palanque.  The bus was a nice ADO bus which showed a movie.  The bus took 14 hours to get to Palanque. But we are getting used to these bus rides now, even though they do make you extra tired.

28.04.2002

We arrived before 6:00 am in the ADO bus station in Palanque.  There we waited around a little, checked bus prices to Merida before we decided to walk a little bit around town when the sun came up a little after we had put our backpacks in storage for the day.  In town we bought some cold water and Tang before a minivan taxi gave us a ride to the Palenque ruins. Since it was Sunday there was no entrance fee to them. That was nice especially because it was for tourists and locals.  The ruins were even more impressive than the ones in  Teotihuacan because they had the jungle surrounding them which made them more mysterious.  We spent around 5.5 hours walking around the ruins and  relaxing.  We then went back to Palenque, where we used the internet, bought some rolls and avocados for lunch and waited around till 7:30 pm for our bus to come and take us to Merida. We had chosen the cheapest bus company in town to take us to Merida. They were five dollars cheaper than ADO.  However one quickly found out why.  They had not air conditioning, fairly dirty, and no TV. Not that we are complaining, but one gets what one pays for.  Anyway we had a hard time sleeping on this bus.  We were also the only tourists on this bus.

29.04.2002

We arrived too early in Merida. 2 hours ahead of schedule. So we slept for a while in the bus station before we took our bags and walked around the town a little before going to another bus station to catch the 8:00 am bus to the Chichen Itza Ruins.  The ride took another 2 hours.  The ruins cost 9 US$ each around to get in and they had free luggage storage.  The ruins were well worth it.  The middle Pyramid was quite a steep climb up and an even harder climb down.  One women later in the day had to get an ambulance to come and help here to get down with climbing ropes as support.  One was also allowed inside the main pyramid. The steps inside brought one to a room in the middle of the pyramid which was really interesting.  There was a lot to see and explore around the ruins and we were not sure now which Aztec ruins we found the best up till now. They were all so different.  These ruins also were packed with tourists by 12:00 pm.  Today it got really hot and we drank a lot of water. We hardly had to go to the bathroom because we sweated it all out. When we were done visiting the ruins we went back to the waiting area, bought tickets to Tulum and found an electrical socket to charge the camera's battery.  It was then off to Tulum.  The bus ride took 2.5 hours, which went rather quickly.  In Tulum we got a bed at the Backpackers Hostel. They have free dinner of beans and rice which was nice. We then walked around town a little, used the internet and then worked on our website. 

30.04.2002

(photos)

 

The alarm went off fairly early. It was set so we would wake up andbe walking to the Tulum Ruins by 7:15 am.  We wanted to get there when it opened.  It was only a 3 km walk to the ruins, but the sun was already beating down hard.  At the ruins we waited around with a few other people waiting to buy tickets to get in. The guards were a little late getting there but eventually they opened the ticket window and everyone was allowed to buy tickets.  The Tulum ruins were beautifully situated along the coast. The ruins were not as impressive as in Chichen Itza,  but well worth visiting.  The both of us had decided before that it would only be a short visit to the ruins and it was. We needed to catch the 9:15 am bus to Chetumal which is on the border with Belize.  We wanted to be able to get to Belize City, tour it and then go further in the direction of Guatemala.  By a hair we were able to catch the bus.  In Chetumal at the bus terminal we had some food while waiting for the bus to Belize City. We choiced the more expensive bus because it was quicker.  The bus turned out to be a Belize bus, which had different standards than Mexican buses. Not that we were complaining, but this first class bus in Mexican standards would be a third class bus.  At the border with Belize we had to pay for our tourist cards. We were supposed to receive them at the point of entry, but we never did. They cost about 22 US each.  Sort of a rip off.  They made us pay 195 Mexican Pesos each. We are still not sure what the real price is.  We gave them 400 and they did not give us any change. We did not want to argue with them and start a fight. For the extra dollar we got through and out of Mexico without any major problems.  Arguing over a dollar they did not return is probably not a smart idea with a Mexican border crossing official.  We arrived in Belize city at around 5:00 pm.  We did a short sightseeing tour of the city. It reminded us of Djibouti with a Caribbean flair to it.  The city was not very nice and we were happy to take the 7:00 pm out of there.  Many if not most of the buses in Belize are old American School Buses. Now we now where they all go when they are not safe anymore for our children.  It was dark when the bus driver let us out alongside the highway.  We asked him to drop us off at the Trek Stop where we would camp the night. The price for camping at Trek Stop has gone up dramatically since Lonely Planet has written their 2001 Central America addition or they have not done their research in a while.  One has though the feeling that once a place gets it's name in the guide books they jack up their prices a notch to take advantage of the advertisement.  The tent was quickly pitched and we went to bed right away. We were both very exhausted.

 

Copyright 2001 / 2007 BackPackWithUs  All Rights Reserved