Friday, November 09, 2007

Shaken but not Stirred

“How was your trip back from aMerica?” my friends all ask.
“Inconsequential except for the bus accident in Mexico.” I reply.

Bigness has accused me in the past of being a drama queen and making a big story out of a little thing. Well, he would say that as he’s usually the driver of the vehicle hurtling down the road with me as the paralyzed scared passenger most of the time. I find its best to take my glasses off and just look out the side window. It helps me to relaaaxxxxx if I can’t see what’s coming at me.
I travel up and down the Chetumal-Tulum corridor all the time. I am on that road on a bus no less than 6 times a year, without incident. I ride ADO, first class express busses which have a bathroom at the back. I like to sit at the front, behind the driver because in the back you can smell the bathroom, and in the front there’s more leg room. This trip I sat in the second row behind the driver.

Accidents are a numbers game, and my number was up. It was after dark and about 2 hours south of Tulum, the road is very narrow, barely 2 vehicles can pass each other, and no shoulder to speak of. I was jolted awake by the sound of screeching metal and breaking glass and the bus swerved around for a few seconds. Lots of screaming in Spanish going on, and the bus kept on going because there was no shoulder to pull off on. We were sideswiped by a double semi’s side mirrors. No one was hurt, just a lot of broken glass projected back from the windshield and the side windows in the front where I was sitting were shattered. What saved me from being cut was that the side curtain next to me was closed, and I had turned my hoodie sweatshirt around and the hood was over my face as I was trying to stay warm and to sleep. The driver was a little bit cut and pulled over a few miles down the road to assess the damage and call into the dispatch.

No announcements were made, the driver shook the glass off of himself, got back into the bus, but the video back on and drove on. I have no complaint about the driver, he was skilled and professional and certainly calmer than his passengers.

It reminded me to BUCKLE MY SEATBELT, a day late and a dollar short.

I would like to take this opportunity to caution traveler's coming on the bus at night between Cancun and Belize. It has nothing to do with the skill of the drivers of these bus lines, they are all amazing and professional. The road south of Tulum is under construction and in many places there is no shoulder, or they have sand and gravel piled up right next to the road. They say the road is in bad shape from hurricane damages from Dean. I think they are in the process of widening the road on each side and it is in the preliminary stages. There isn't a problem during the day, but at night these big rigs with double trailers run full bore blasting up and down like hogs. You will not catch me again traveling at night on this road until it is fixed up.


Mary Beth said...

OHMy Heavens! That sure is exciting and not in a good way. I'm glad that you were OK. MB

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee, Christie and Dan here. Thanks for updating your blog...we love it and funny enough we missed it while we were in Caye Caulker. It was great to finally meet you and "Bigness". Love your art and your great store. See you in January!

Caribbean Colors said...

Hi MB, I almost didn't blog about it, but traveler's need to know that the road is not safe at night, until they finish fixing it. From now on I'm sitting near the back of the bus on the opposite side of the driver, to hell with the bathroom smell.

Christie and Dan - it was nice meeting you too, see you soon! January will be here before you know it.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Phewww, I'm glad you lived to tell the tale, Caribbean.

Well! I dunno who's the drama queen in my family...other folks say my mama drives pretty good. Me? I never sit in the front seat while she's driving. Not me. No-uh.

And when I drive, she sits in the back seat and squawks. Yet I drive really, reeeeally cautiously.

Heather said...

I live in Playa del Carmen, and after Dean was part of a group of volunteers who went down to Majahual to assist, driving the 4 hours each way several times a week for a couple of months. We had to leave Majahual by 4.30 pm at the latest each time to get back to Tulum by sunfall; you're absolutely right, that stretch of road is harrowing.

Glad you weren't hurt!