By Suzanne A. Marshall from the April 2014 Edition
I have heard numerous stories from adventurous friends whom I met during various travels in Mexico. You find these adventures more off the beaten path than at ‘all inclusive resorts.’ Actually, when you stray off that particular path, you begin to see and find the real Mexico. The first couple we met was at a small suite hotel nestled in the hills of Zihuatenejo called Villas El Moro. This stay was one of the major turning points in our love affair with Mexico. The hotel was half the anticipated cost and quaint with infinity pool and views to die for through floor to ceiling windows in the bedroom and living room.
We met fishermen from Denmark, bikers and vintners from California and one couple who were travelling throughout Mexico by bus! I thought they were out of their minds, frankly. This is because the bus terminals in Canada tend to be nasty places with questionable people hanging about.
Often the equipment is so old the seats are uncomfortable and your trip seems very long as a result. Exceptions are noted for a few private operators who have begun to run ‘souped up’ commuter buses, but this is the rare exception.
Fast forward to Manzanillo seven years later where we have our little dream condo on the beach and love the less touristy aspects of this beautiful haven from winter. There are great people, a busy economy and few hassles. We are just like other like-minded Canadians and Americans looking to slow down, live life in the warmth of the sun and slowly enjoy the amenities so plentiful and at our disposal.
Now that we are condo owners with 18 other delightful Mexican families, we travel to Guadalajara each February for our annual condo meeting since the vast majority live there and a quorum is difficult to achieve back in Manzanillo. Well of course this is a nice outing for us and we have found various areas to visit for incredible goods and artisan work that would cost five times more by the time it reaches Canada (Homemaker heaven: Ceramics, Blown Glass, Silver, Carpets, Furniture, and Trinkets in delightful array).
Having rented a car and found our way around the big city (8 million, I’m told) previously, we had a great time getting lost even with GPS but the past two trips have been by autobus and with good reason. Where do I even begin?
Firstly, it is no exaggeration to say that the bus terminals in greater Mexico rival airport terminals in Canada. They are spotlessly clean and have shining marble floors everywhere, with large vaulted lobby/foyer areas. They are equipped with check-in desks for each bus-line, baggage carriers if you like, snack shops and restaurants and super clean washrooms. While waiting, the terminal provides first-class passenger lounges with comfortable seating to relax on.
I was really stunned the first time we arrived for departure to Guadalajara. The Mexicans really know how to provide first-class service. Even the ticketing personnel are in uniform and are extremely helpful. A fellow behind us in line on this last trip, stepped up to assist us with our ‘spanglish’ and (Here I go again.) I just love these people. Ah, but there is so much more to tell you.
So it’s time to leave the waiting area and board the bus.
The bus is absolutely first class looking, big windows, spotless and the crew is stowing our luggage below, while a lovely young woman in uniform stands by a cart to offer each passenger a prepared sandwich and a drink of choice to take on board. I know! How shocking is that?
Next, we board the bus to discover that everything is first class! There are fewer seats which allow for the leg loungers provided for your legs and feet. Drink holders are available and pockets in front of you will hold whatever you wish to occupy yourself with on the trip. The seats are plush, comfortable and high backed and allow you to lie
almost prone so you can snooze the trip away if you like.
Each seat is provided with good headsets to watch the Boarding the bus television or listen to music via the units in front of each seat.
At the rear is a clean onboard toilet very much like aircraft.
And I shouldn’t forget for the internet addicts and travelling business people. Each bus is provided with Wi-Fi and a really good internet signal once you have left the terminal.
When all are on board and seated, the driver closes his private driving cab area and you begin your smooth and quiet ride to your destination. I know this sounds like a bus commercial but I really feel the need to share this with everyone. It’s so much easier than driving the toll highways. Once we arrive we just grab a cab or, as we’ve done the last time, pre-arrange a rental car for adventures in the city. I might add that the rental cars in Guadalajara are cheaper with newer fleets as compared to Manzanillo.
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Suzanne A. Marshall hails from western Canada and has been living the good life in Manzanillo over the past 8 years. She is a wife, mom and grandma. She is retired from executive business management where her writing skills focused on bureaucratic policy, marketing and business newsletters. Now she shares the fun and joy of writing about everyday life experiences in beautiful Manzanillo, Mexico, the country, its people, the places and the events.
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