Long before Cancun had high rise resort hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, and a lot of traffic it was no more than a bus stop and an embarkation point to get to Isla Mujeres, Isle of Woman.
A group of newly made friends and I had worn out the island experience, it was a small island at that. You could stand in the middle and see the ocean on both sides and the length was not much greater than that either. You can only lay on the beach for so many weeks.
We jumped on the ferry, row boat with a small outboard, and headed to Cancun. The five of us were going on to Merida from there. Merida was a mid-size town with a prison that attracted a lot of gringos wanting to purchase the hammocks the prisoners made for money to survive. From there I was headed to Guatemala and most of the others were going on to Alaska.
Our band of travelers boarded the bus and foolishly one friend and I got off for some water. We heard the bus start up and ran out to see the dust billowing up from the tires as it headed out. Our friends were waving from the rear window.
Initially, they all thought it was funny until they realized the bus driver was not going to stop. I might have gone with funny too if I had been on the bus. Wait for it…
All of our money, wallets, even shoes were on the departing bus. Hot and penniless there was no choice but to hitchhike. It took several attempts until I stood out front in my short shorts. I didn’t mention that my companion was a guy with long hair, beard, shirtless and shoeless but great looking at that. I could have been stranded with someone less appealing but his blue eyes did not help with a ride.
Here is a travel trip-always keep a few pesos or dollars stashed in your pocket and if you get off the bus take the keys.
An old delivery truck, with cans stacked in the back, stopped for us. Yes, they were going by Merida they would drop us on the edge of town. That was a long ride in the sun in the open topped old truck. We sat on Galletta cans stacked to the railings. After having a good laugh, the three Mexicans in the front seat took pity on us and gave us a couple of beers.
Three hours later, sunburnt and windswept, we made it. We waved goodbye and thanked our saviors at the edge of town.
After climbing off our perch of cookie tins I had Galletta imprinted on my behind for days. Between the two of us, we did not have enough change for the bus. The short shorts came in handy again the signage on my behind was a show stopper, or I should say a bus stopper. We got a free ride into town.
We eventually found our friends in a downtown hotel. In the end, the joke turned out to be on them. When they arrived in Merida they had to carry all the luggage we left on the bus. In those days I traveled with 5 pieces of red matching Samsonite overstuffed and heavy. The laughter stopped there. They might have preferred a donkey to that bus now. I told you to wait for it.
I have never had the urge for a Galletta again.