Day 27: trip to Aguas Azul, Mishol Ha and Palenque (1)

San Cristobal de Las Casas Travel Blog

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The alarm clock I had bought in Uruapan, I still hated it when it started beeping at 6 o'clock the next morning. At 6:30 we were dressed, packed and ready, standing outside in the freezing cold, about to embark on a very long day trip.

Five minutes later a minivan stopped. Some other frozen tourists were allowed to board, but we had to stay we were told, another van would come pick us up.

I started to fear something had gone very wrong.

After twenty minutes without any sign of our minibus, we decided to phone up the travel agency where we had booked the trip. Obviously they were closed, but the receptionist in our hostel actually had the private telephone number of the owner. So I dialled that number and got his wife, who assured me that the minibus would be there any minute, they were just picking up some other travellers who were late.

Half an hour later she phoned back herself, the driver had forgotten to pick us up and within 20 minutes another car would come pick us up.

45 minutes later, more than an hour and a half late, a minibus finally arrived. The driver apologised: “sorry, I had a flat tire”. So what exactly had that women been talking about when she said he had forgotten us and had to pick up other travellers who were late?

Turned out the driver did not know how to change a flat tire on his car, and he had lost his mobile phone, so he had taken a taxi to his boss' house to ask for instructions on how to change a flat tire. You don't make up things like this!

Last night I had started reading the Lonely Planet of Belize and Guatemala and Robbel and I had been discussing how a two-day jungle tour, which would bring us back to San Cristóbal again, would perhaps leave us short of time for the other two countries.

This drawback in the morning of course gave us a very good incentive to cancel our tour for tomorrow and save two days on our itinerary.

By now the owner of the travel agency had opened his shop, so I walked over to cancel the trip and claim our money back. Naturally he wasn't happy and he assured me that things like these normally never happen. Sure, I was willing to accept that, but even so, at the back of the ticket it says that there is a 24 hour cancellation policy free of charge, so we would just laid claim to that.

The Australian couple we had met two days ago at the Na Bolom dinner, David and Mehal, would also join us on the tour. They too had lost their faith in this travel agency, and cancelled their jungle trip as well. The four of us decided we would stay in Palenque tonight, rather than going back to San Cristóbal, so we went back into the hostel to get our bags and check out.

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