Wednesday, May 17, 2000

Jana on the roof of the Hotel Acosta

View from hotel rooftop

We like Parral. It’s different from anyplace else in Mexico that we’ve been. Population of about 80,000, and prosperous without relying on tourism. We even saw some help-wanted signs in town. I think it was a much better place to stay than Chihuahua. After breakfast, we walked around town for a few hours.

Hidalgo de Parral town square

One thing you don't want to get when you're in Mexico is "turista," also known as "Montezuma's revenge," also known as the "Aztec two-step." (I'm talking about gastrointestinal upset if you've not caught that yet.) Turista seems like an uncommonly bad name for a restaurant.

Consequently, we chose not to eat here.

We took a taxi to the bus station and found that there were no buses heading south until 5:00 p.m. We took our chances by taking a local bus to Jiminez, where a busier road might mean more through traffic. We enjoyed that short trip, which stopped in a few tiny villages along the way. Riding the buses in Mexico became a sort of entertainment in itself.

Killing time at the Parral bus station

We hung out in Jiminez for a couple of hours, mostly at the Pollo Feliz (Happy Chicken), where we munched on quesadillas and drank Tecate until time to catch the bus to Torreon.

The bus stopped just outside Torreon at a truck stop for about 20 minutes for a break. According to their international icons for the sexes outside the sanitarios, men wear hats and women carry umbrellas. The toilets here were especially disgusting, and like most public toilets in Mexico, there were no toilet seats. I was fortunate that I never needed to sit on a public toilet on this trip, but the possibility made me come up with this great idea - inflatable, disposable toilet seats!

They call these sanitarios?

We arrived at Torreon about 9:00 p.m. new local time and caught a cab to Hotel Pasada del Sol. A fairly nice hotel by our standards, but there were a few busloads of high school students staying there. We had supper in the hotel restaurant, and a table full of girls kept eyeing me. They weren’t even trying to be sneaky about it. Jana finally turned around and glared at them and said, "hey, mi esposo," and they giggled nervously and turned back around! Then they sang some songs and suckered a man at the next table into paying for their sodas when they left - Girls!

Continue to day 10.

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