On Thursday, just three days ago, I decided to go meet a guy I met a few weeks ago. I met him randomly at an Airbnb in St. Louis, Missouri just before I jumped on the StartupBus.
Well, he was down in Ajijic looking for property to purchase, and said he was close to closing on a house.
So, I decided to meet with him down there in Ajijic, which is about an hour bus ride from the center of Guadalajara.
Let’s start with Friday morning…and what a morning it was.
Broken Down Bus
I”m staying in a someone’s spare bedroom in Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara. Thus, I must bus in every day. It’s only seven pesos ($0.40), so it is well worth it.
When you pay, the bus driver gives you this little ticket, and I never knew what it was for…until this morning when the bus stopped functioning.
There I am, comfortably standing on a somewhat crowded bus, when the bus driver gets out, opens the hood, then walks back onto the bus and hells something in Spanish.
Immediately, people get off the bus in a hurry.
I’m just getting off with everyone else as they are all looking back down the street probably looking for the next bus on our route.
It shows up just minutes later…and I never knew so many people could fit on a bus. Ours was already pretty full, well this one was just as full, so, now we have two bus loads of people on one bus.
Crammed like sardines is an understatement.
I have never been simultaneously touching so many people at one time before…sorry random Mexican guys and gals on the bus, but I felt violated too.
After my Spanish immersion class, I spoke with the front desk to determine how to get to Ajijic from the school. She recommended taking an Uber to the bus station because it was a 20 or so blocks away.
You know, the way I always look at this is:
- I can still walk
- It’s going to take just as long for an Uber to come get me as it will for me to get halfway there
- Walking is free and I just spent four hours in class
So, I walked.
Yeah, yeah. I don’t have cell phonereception down here, I don’t know the area, I’m in one of the more dangerous (allegedly) areas of Guadalajara, but I have walked around here a bit and I haven’t seen any problems.
Sure, I’ve only been here a few days; yeah, my host family told me it’s dangerous enough that they don’t recommend me going to the bank around that area…I forget my point…anyway, I walked and not one person gave me the stink eye, except for old Olor Apestoso.
I made it to the bus station!
After the Bus Ride
In total, I was on the bus for about 60 minutes when my seat mate mentioned that I need to get off.
Seat mate: “(something in Spanish) Ajijic, si?”
Me: “Si, uh, voy ir a Ajijic.”
Seat mate: “Esta aqui! (Spanish…)”
So, I point as I am getting up, and he says, “Si, si. Go go!”
So, I went…and had no idea where I was in this strange new town.
The person I am meeting said that the bus would take me straight to the center of town, and I was definitely not in the center of town. So, I just assumed that I need to keep walking a little distance until I finally found the city center.
Well…a little distance turned into 20 minutes. So, I see a gentleman across the highway and I yell over at him,
Me: “Senor! Pardon mi, pero, donde es al centro de Ajijic?”
Me: “Donde es al centro de Ajijic!” I yell over the traffic.
The man point in the same direction as I was walking. So, I thanked him and kept walking for another 15 minutes.
Well, at this point I was getting tired, I was hungry, and needed to figure out where the hell I was.
Luckily, I came across a gentleman waiting for the bus, and asked the same thing.
Bus stop man: “(Spanish)…” as he points the direction behind me.
Me: “Oye. Cuantos tiempo…uh…caminando?” I tried my best to ask how long it would take to walk there.
Bus stop man: “Wooo,” he says as he shakes his head left to right, “Cominando? Probablemente una hora.”
Me: (With a defeated look), “I…Gracias, senor.”
Bus stop man: “Necesitas camión.”
Bus stop man: “(Spanish…)” as he points to the other side of the street.
So, I thank him again and make my way across the highway, and proceed to wait about 20 minutes for a bus after finding some shade.
I eventually find him, but that now makes it two days in the last five that I have gotten lost here in Mexico.
It’s not a big deal though. If I’m supposed to get lost on my way to learning more about myself, then I may as well live with my decisions and enjoy the process.
I eventually meet with my friend, and by this time I am simply starving. However, he met a gentleman at a bar that he wants me to meet.
I’m a big proponent of networking, so I agree to meet him.
He is an IT guy and has created a small business down here in Ajijic. He lives five kilometers out of town where there isn’t any cell phone service or internet, but he makes his way to Ajijic every weekday.
His intonation increases after I discuss my plans.
Tech Guy: “Ohhhhh, wow! I thought you wanted to start a Cody Bootcamp!”
Tech Guy: Yeah, what he was telling me sounded like you want to start an IT camp for people here in Ajijic, but this? Absolutely I see potential with this.”
To be honest, I still don’t know what Cody/Codi/Codie is (or how to spell it).
Anyway, I spoke with him for about 30 minutes and get a lot of great insight. He offers to be of assistance any way that he can.
Now, It’s time for me to go meet another connection, a real estate agent.
We head off to our next stop, and this real estate agent is a riot. His father was a doctor who completely disowned him because he did not want to become a doctor. Instead, he is a very successful real estate agent.
He warned me of the women in Guadalajara…he said they are the prettiest of all in Mexico, and not to make the same mistake as him.
He is from Guadalajara and is now divorced with two kids. He met his ex-wife in Guadalajara. I took it as an obvious joke, and it is very true. There are very attractive women in Guadalajara, but I assume that is the case with any major metropolis regardless of the country.
We had a great conversation over craft beers, guacamole, a Takiti Tacos.
I told Derek my plans, and he too was very encouraged. He told me I have a lot courage to go about this alone, and with such little money…and no place to live. He was also very informative about how to do things legally.
Which is what I needed to hear (about the legality).
Overall it was a very good day. I was extremely exhausted at this point, but my friend wanted to show me his house he just purchased that day, and he wanted to show me the area around the lake. So, I walked some more and then finally made it to my hotel for the evening and called it a night.