Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bus Travel Mexico, Border Crossing, Douglas AZ, Agua Prieta

Agua Prieta/Douglas Arizona

     After the Douglas Shuttle from Tucson and the border crossing by foot, taxi to the bus station, and ticket purchase,  we pulled out of the Central de Autobus de Agua Prieta at 11:50, headed for Chihuahua.
We were soon on a straight, black road through the middle of a flat grassland with mountains in the distance. The road runs parallel to the US border for a long distance, then heads south over low mountains before entering another plain on its way to Chihuahua.
At Janos, we joined Caretera Federal 10 (Highway 10) which comes southwest from Juarez/El Paso, 90 miles south of White Sands NM.
      At 2:00 PM, we stopped at an Estrella Blanca station. ( Chihuahuenses is a division of Estrella Blanca) The driver made no announcement as he went in to have dinner. This is a twenty to thirty minute stop, I knew from previous trips.     
     Unfortunately the drivers rarely announce stops except on the ADO buses that run south of Mexico City. It is best to ask them how long a stop will be. Usually the stops are five minutes, (cinco minutos) and it will not do to leave the bus. It is best to get out and stretch the legs whenever possible, however; just stick close to the bus.
     Use the bathroom on board the bus.  It will usually be cleaner than what you will find in the station and you don't risk getting left behind. The driver might take a "headcount" but not with any list. Passengers do get left behind, including me on a trip to Catemaco when The driver said cinco minutos (5) and I thought he said quince. (15)
The bus route south from Agua Prieta runs through mountain and flat grasslands north of Chihuahua
     Lucky for me, on that occasion, it was the next to last stop and I quickly caught a local bus to Catemaco in time to reach the station just as my driver wolfed down his first bite of dinner. His jaw dropped when he saw me and I wondered if he pulled out of that station knowing that I was not on board.

     At 3:10 we reached Nuevo Casas Grandes for a ten minute stop. Outside of Nuevo Casas Grandes ($70 peso cab ride) there is a great ruin called Casa Grande or Paquime. This is a non-Mesoamerican site. (Mesoamerica's northern boundary is the Tropic of Cancer)   Casas Grandes more closely resembling a Southwest US Pueblo site. The ruin site has a great museum.
     Turquoise flowed through Paquime on its way south from Arizona and New Mexico to Teotihuacan and all the way south to Palenque and the Yucatan Maya.
From Casas Grandes we continued southeast on 15 and then joined Highway 45.  We then turned due south with a bead on Chihuahua., a place where you can book a train ride or bus ticket to the Copper Canyon. 
     These are great roads, as flat and straight as can be and we averaged about 50 miles an hour.  If you are figuring time between stops, the 50 MPH holds up in most cases, except in the steep mountains.


Next Chihuahua
Oaxaca Semana Santa, Silent Parade, Easter Week,       Oaxaca Guelaguetza Parade Video
Oaxaca Day of the Dead
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