First of all, from the quick drive through, then talking with the couple we picked up at the Royal DeCameron resort near Sonsante, El Salvador is a pretty good place & being geared more towards the Latino population than Gringos makes it a different experience.
Next a couple days in Antigua Guatemala showed how too much tourism has, not only driven prices to the point of being ridiculous, it has also eroded the charm of a couple years ago but also the friendliness of the tourism workers.
Also while in Antigua, as the bus was arriving after dark, I tried to book a hotel room in Tapechula on the Mexican side of the border with Guatemala. Now this is an international border where for most bus connections an overnight stay is required one would think the hostel booking sites such as Hostel World, Lonely Planet, BootsnAll etc would have a few choices to pick from. Not so, only a couple hotels pushing $100, actually the same thing happened a couple weeks ago at the Thai/Cambodia border at Koh Kong. As a result of this indifference to independent travelers, I will no longer be using these sites. Shall just stick with touts, tuk-tuk & taxi drivers.
The Mexican executive buses are still up to their same high standards but busier requiring, in some cases, 24 hrs advance booking.
What a contrast between the Mexican service & than the sad excuse for service offered north of the Rio Grande by Britain’s First Group, who got suckered into buying bankrupt Greyhound from Canada’s Laidlaw, who used some creative financing to show a profit during a year they were under Chapter 11 protection. On “The Dog” the law of the jungle prevails, No such silly things such as seat reservations, baggage check-in or meaningful schedules. First in line with their baggage/screaming kids in tow get on, when bus is full any remaining passengers are SOL, however should bus not be full, it sits at terminal until it is. Such is the way things are done in the US/Canada these days!
Oh yeah Homeland Stupidity holding people up for an hour at the border while the X-ray the buses would be laughable except there is no place to sit, so it’s just damned irritating.
San Antonio & the Alamo are cool while Memphis with Graceland & Beale street are interesting but the elevated police observation boxes on Beale St are a bit too much new age Police State for my liking!
Motel 6 doubling their prices upon crossing the border into Canada sucks as does the 13% HST rip-off tax in Ontario but then food, fuel etc are all ridiculously priced as well. After being shafted on the internet scam sales site eBay, trying to sell my Checker, I was forced to spend 29 days in total in Ontario an average of $60/day to exist. Add that cost to the $2500 I lost on my investment in the Checker + the accountant cost of wrapping up mothers estate, it was a damned expensive farewell visit to Crapanada!
The next lesson was that if you want a reasonably priced flight to Bangkok, it has to be before June 1st. However Bangkok is still the amazing city it was, although not cheap in the tourist areas.
On to Cambodia which was my least favorite SE Asian country on my RTW & remains so after 2 1/2 months there. Although as disgusting & screwed up as Phnom Penh is, the place kind of grows on you after a bit + it’s only a 4 hr bus ride to the beaches of Sinanoukville.
Also apparent is the fact that at 65 one is a dinosaur to be relegated to the scrap heap & pretty much unwanted as far as working is concerned! They don’t mind taking your money though.
Heard from my, former Canton de L’est principal contact, at the Chinese school, things moving slower than planned, so I have decided to cut bait & pull the pin on Cambodia. Door is still ajar at that school though so if all goes according to plan for them, there’s still a slight possibility of returning at some point.
Cancelled the plan to visit Bali, Indonesia requires more income than the pathetic stipends Crapanada doles out to native born Canadians, to retire there, so no point. Wi-Fi sucks here this aft, so can’t book a flight. Will head into town in the morning to a travel agent, getting to late to book a flight on line for Monday.
Plan is to catch the bus to PP Monday morning then evening flight to Seoul then Honolulu, be back in El Salvador by the weekend.`