TOPOLOBAMPO TO LOS MOCHIS
The ferry arrived 26th February 2018 at 9pm in the harbour of Topolobampo. Pedestrians had to use a bridge to the building for departures and arrivals, where we also had to pick up our luggage. People with disabilities, especially when using wheelchairs, we’re allowed to cross the road directly instead. When I took the first steps of the high pedestrian’s bridge I was told to take the other way instead. I was really happy about it, even I had not much to carry. I found my big backpack easily and went outside, looking for the driver.
Unfortunately I had told the hostel, I would arrive after midnight, because I had read wrong on the ticket. I hoped, the driver had checked the time of arrival of the ferry. I did not see anyone looking for me, though I called the hostel. I was answered, that it was good, that I called, because they did not have any driver, no “Uber” either and they asked me to take a taxi, which I did. It was not so easy to find a driver, who had a GPS and could find the address of the hostel. I had first tried with mine, but the signal was not strong enough. The ride was about 20 minutes long and to a price of 250 MXN ( a driver as well as an Uber would have been for 200 MXN).
Well at the hostel I used the code, which luckily was working. I just had taken a look around, when it knocked at the door. I expected the owner or one of the staff, but it was another woman, who had booked. I let her in, when I was sure, that she also had booked. First, when she used the wi-fi, she could see the message with the code, because she had no Mexican SIM-card. We introduced ourselves and was then going out to eat. We found a restaurant, where we ordered tacos. We ordered two each, but they came with so much meat, that I only could it one of mine. They did not have bottled water, though I had to take a Coke. The other woman (from the Netherlands) had ordered a Cola light, though the waitress brought me the same. I also left half of it.
Back at the hostel, we talked for a while. Elena has been travelling for over a year and been in all countries of Central America. She had saved money and even sold her household to make this trip. She also had been working in the USA for a couple of month. She told me, she had not planned to see Mexico, but people she met had told her, she should. By the way, there was no message for us, no explanation, nothing. It was easier for her, because she was told, that the bunk beds were occupied and she had to take the private room. There is only one of them. I had only booked a bed and I soon found out, that there were no other guests. I chose a bed of the four in the room. This hostel is really tiny. There is only the one private room and the one room with the bunk beds. When I booked my bed, there was stated, that the check-in is between 2pm and 9pm, but there is no reception. In addition to the two bedrooms there is a small kitchen and a corner with a sitting arrangement as well as a bathroom, which is called “women’s room”.
27th February 2018
In the price is breakfast included, though Elena as well as me were looking for, what there was. We found Nescafe, some cereals, a big pack of sweets and also a big pack of walnuts, 3 bottles of oil, salt and sugar on the shelfs. In the fridge was a rest of milk in a two liter container, bottled water, chicken soup, bread (should have been soft, but was hard and not eatable) as well as salsa. There was a water container on the kitchen shelf as well. All seemed to be left overs. We took of the coffee, the milk and the cereals, but did not get full of it.
We had finished breakfast, when the owner arrived. He had some conversation with us and got paid. He also told us, that he will go for short holidays (five days) to Guadalajara. Though I asked him, “how about the code” and he told me, it will be the same for five days in a row. Elena got the private room to the same price as I had to pay for the bunk bed.
We later left the hostel together and took the bus to the city centre. Elena already was going further and looking for the bus station. I was looking for a tourist information centre and the station for “El Chepe”, the railway. I was walking up and down the streets, but did not find a tourist information, but it would have been possible to buy a map of Los Mochis, unfortunately there were only the streets named, no tourist attractions or similar. Though I did not buy one. At a bus station (I learned later, that there are other bus stations as well) I asked, how to come to the railway station. I told them too, that I will walk there. This time nobody tried with “it is xx blocks away”, though I was walking.
I have got hungry and had a snack and a mango juice at an OXXO, before I walked all the way to the railway station. Luckily I arrived, before the counter was closed for lunch. I asked for a second class ticket as follows:
6th of March: Los Mochis to Bahuichivo, 9th March from Bahuichivo to Cuauhtemoc. 11th March from Cuauhtemoc to Chihuahua for one person in economic class. The clerk told me, that there is no second class from Bahuichivo onwards. I first asked him, if I would buy the whole trip for the same day, if I could get an economic class ticket for the whole way, but he told me, that there is not such a ticket. I thought, this is a trip I will make once in a lifetime, though I should pay the 500 MXN more as planned and I did.
I also walked all the way back to the hostel. I did not only walk this day around 15 km, I also have seen the slum. If I had known before, that I will come through the slum, I would have chosen another way, but my map did not tell me. I felt unsafe by crossing the slum, but actually there was no need for that. The people mostly ignored me or they were kind. There was no sign of any violence! On my way back I did not use that road again, but the area close to the railway station was very dirty, much more as usual and Mexico is not a clean country. On the way home I also needed a bathroom. I could not see any at the railway station, though I looked all the way, if there was a restaurant, because I also was hungry, but there were only that street stalls. They do not have one. I asked at an Oxxo, because here you also can buy coffee, snacks etc there and even sit down and eat it there, but they told me, they have not. The next I tried with a pharmacy, but they told me, their bathroom is for the employees only. Finally I found a bathroom at a gas station. I had to pay 2 MXN for using it and it was clean. Afterwards I was to another Oxxo and had a warm chocolate and a sandwich. Close to the hostel I met the owner, because he lives close to it, but I had first to go to the Oxxo nearby to buy eggs, bread, more cereals, milk and bottled water.
Back at the hostel it was just me. I warmed up in the bed, because it had been a chilly day with drizzling rain off and on. When I was hungry again I tried to fry eggs, but the gas was not working – the bottle was closed. We had found it so in the morning. Elena was able to open it, unfortunately she closed it again. I tried to call the owner, but his line was occupied and later, he did not answer. I left a message to an answering machine as well as I sent a short message. After a while a woman knocked my door. She did speak Spanish only and I could not understand her, but I told her about the gas and asked, if she could open it for me. She tried, but could not either, though she was asking a male neighbour, which did help us. Before the woman left, she told me, she lives at the corner and I could come to her, if I need more help. Actually she lives in the same house as the owner, maybe she is his wife.
Finally I fried two eggs and eat them with bread. I also had a camomile tea. Afterwards I went to bed and took the two best covers. I slept well that night.
28th February 2018
I awoke already at 7am, but was to bed again after have taken my medicine. An hour later I ate breakfast and dressed. I actually had found a tourist map at the hostel the evening before and planned to try to book a tour “Ruta Mayo – Yoreme”. Therefore I walked in the direction to the city centre and stopped at the tour company. Unfortunately it was not tourist season, though there was no tour. Tonny, the agent told me, i should go by bus to the town “El Fuerte” and should also go to “Álamos”, a UNESCO heritage, but each would be a day trip. I looked for and found the Museum “Valle del Fuerte”. There was a sign, that I had to pay 15 MXN, but no opportunity to do it. I did not find the museum itself without help, but people were working in a show room and one of them was keen to explain (even he did it in Spanish). Furthermore the explanations of the exhibition was only in Spanish, but I understood the most of it. The whole exhibition was about the history of Sinaloa.
I was very hungry, when I left, though I was going to the closest restaurant, which was a Burger King and had a chickenburger, French fries and a soft drink. Afterwards I tried to find another museum, but did not. The weather had become really chilly now, there were grey clouds most of the day and they were deeper grey now. My other choice, the Botanical gardens did no longer seems to be interesting. I walked back to the hostel and tried to find out, where the bus to El Fuerte will leave the next day.
The chickenburger+ did not enjoy my stomach. I felt heavy full for a long time and had just a bread and a glass of milk later that evening. I updated my blog before I went to bed.
1st March 2018
Usually I do not use taxis, but I had a bus to catch and want to be sure, not to miss it. I found a taxi stop close to the hostel. The cars had signs on the windscreen about the prices in town. It was between 40 and 60 MXN, I had to pay 50 MXN (just 2.20 EUR). Well at the bus station for Azules Noroeste, I did not find a counter and had to ask, where to buy tickets. Unfortunately the people I asked did not understand me, but when a young man said hello, I asked him, if he speaks English. “A little” he answered. Anyway I have got the necessary answer of him. The bus tickets has to be purchased from the driver. The bus should have left at 9:05am, but did not arrive before 10:10am. It was 10:30 am, when he departed from Los Mochis. The price was lower as I had seen on the Internet. It was only 80 MXN (3.50 EUR). We arrived in El Fuerte, my chosen destination, because I have been told, that the old city is a “must see”, at 12:15pm.
We arrived in the city centre and I had to find a bathroom. For this reason and because, I was already hungry, I was looking for a restaurant. I found one in the old town, which was nice to see, even the prices were a little high. The restaurant was nice decorated and has a patio as well. Unfortunately the table clothes were not clean all over and also had holes. I chose a seat on the patio. The menu offered most fish and seafood, but also some dishes with carne. I ordered quesadilla, which was very different to the one I had eaten in La Paz. I also ordered a beer and could choose the make. The quesadillas should have had ham as well, but they had not. It was four of them and enough to get me full. The dish also contained a mixed salad and cooked beans.
Meanwhile I was waiting for the dish, I could watch colibri. There was a food automat, where lots of them were drinking. Colibri were coming and leaving all the time. At another table, three men were sitting. One of them played a guitar and sometimes he was singing, too. All was very decent.
After I had eaten and paid 110 MXN (of which I gave the driver 7 MXN in tips) I was going to see the rest of the old city. Soon I came to an open place, where people gathered. I thought it was for the upcoming election and that a man of a political party will held a speech. The place was secured by a police officer. I stopped at a bench behind him, because I had become warm, to take off my sweater. The police officer asked me from which country I am and what I will do in the area. We I was going further, I just saw, that he did call with a very simple smartphone.
Close to that square was a church. In front of it, the letters of the town. The church was smaller as usual. It was really narrow. I took a look and a couple of photos. Even in this church a statue of Jesus was dressed (in velvet). I continued to see other buildings and passed an ice cream shop, but went back and in. I bought a small ice cream, this time in a cone. I have got a lot of ice cream for 15 MXN (0.65 EUR).
I continued walking around for a while and took some more photos. Actually I was a little disappointed of this small town. I have expected more, but it is Mexico and I do, so far, not know much about its architecture. That is one of the reasons, why I try to see as much as possible of this country.
When I was back at the place, where the buses are leaving – it is not a bus station, a driver asked me, if I will go to Los Mochis. The bus was smaller as the one I was coming with and it was another bus company. I asked for the price, which was 60 MXN (~ 3 EUR) and therefore cheaper than the other bus. I have got a seat in the front, which I was happy about. Surprisingly this bus stopped at stalls on the side of the road, when passengers were asking for it. The bus driver waited until the passengers were back in the bus.
I left the bus in the city centre of Los Mochis, bought postcards and went afterwards to the hostel by local bus. Before I finally was going to there, I bo.ught a bottle of water and a bottle of agua horchata. At the hostel I had a light evening meal and checked then on the Internet, which bus I should take the upcoming day as well to which bus stop I have to go and change bus, because my destination will be Álamos. Actually I should have gone to Hermosillo next day, but my host told me, that she is in the state of Yucatan, but will be home in time. Though I told her, that there is no reason to hurry, because I could go to Álamos instead and arrive a day later, which she agreed to. I found out, that I have to change bus in Navojoa. This town is situated on highway 15, so is Hermosillo. Buses to Hermosillo goes around once an hour.
I finished my day by writing the postcards, washing the dishes and watching movies on YouTube. Unfortunately I was too tired to update my blog.
2nd March 2018
It is time to go further. I checked the buses on the Internet. My new destination is Hermosillo, Sonora. Buses to this town are leaving Los Mochis once an hour, buses to Navojoa, Sonora not quite so often. I remembered a bus leaving past 8am and thought, the next one will leave between 10am and 11am. Though I did not have a hurry, even I was up at 7am. Unfortunately I missed the 8:45am bus and the next one was not before 1:30pm. Though I spent more than four hours at the bus station. When I booked the ticket, the cashier did write the number of the bus on it, which I had to go with. Fortunately the employee, who cared about the luggage of the passengers at the bus station, asked me, which bus I will go with, because I was early outside enjoying the sun. Two buses arrived around 1:30pm, but none with the number on my ticket. Finally that employee told me, that one of the arriving buses will go to Navojoa. He also took care of my big backpack. I entered the bus, not thinking about the control ticket for the backpack, but the driver gave it to me, before he started the bus. By the way on the tickets are seat numbers, but nobody cares about them.
I looked for my seat number at the bus, but it was occupied of an elderly woman. The seat on the side of her, was empty and a window seat, though I took that one. This woman was special, so were the seats. She had her handbag beside her, though it was on my seat and she did not move it. She also took more space than her seat. The seats were comfortable, if one will sleep on the bus, but to sit in them was very uncomfortable. If I would have sat on the seat as meant, my feet would not reach the floor as well as I would not be able to really sit up, though I changed seat later, but was only using the front of the seat.
In addition to that, all buses were checked at two military controls. At the first, a military man entered and told us something in Spanish. I asked, if he speaks English as well, but I did not get any answer. Though I asked the passengers, if someone of them speaks English, but did not get any answer as well. Now I asked a young man, if he speaks English, but he answered “no”. Therefore I just followed the others and did like they did. We had to take all our luggage and put it on band for scanning. That band was unfortunately high, though a military man was lifting up the heavy suitcases. When I came with mine, it seemed he want not, even I already had put it down, though I pointed on it and he lifted it up, too. I also had to put all my small bags on the band. Meanwhile our bags were scanned, the bus was checked, which did take much longer, though we had to wait outside with our bags for a while. This happened one more time, but only the big luggage was checked. I first though, that we already had crossed the border to the state of Sonora, but we had not, I have seen on Google maps. By the way, at the check points were Mexican sellers, trying to sell sweets, tortillas and more.
The road conditions were not as good as on Baja California, partly by the road works. Anyway there were pay stations, where all drivers had to pay for using the road, though also our bus driver. We could continue without further problems and entered soon the state of Sonora. For reading about that part of my trip, please click on the following link: Sonora.