2nd March 2018
I entered Sonora by bus on my way from Los Mochis, Sinaloa to Navojoa. My destination for the day was Álamos, a UNESCO heritage town, but because of the checks by the military and the bad road conditions (se Sinaloa for both and scroll down to 2nd March) we arrived in Navojoa around 5pm. I asked for the way to the city centre, because I was aware of, that it would be difficult in the dark to go further. I also decided to stay in Navojoa for the night, because there is no hostel in Álamos and no cheap hotel either. Therefore I asked a woman for the hotels and she explained, that one is on the street, we were and two others on the main street to the right, some blocks away.
I entered the first one, which offered a room for just 120 MXN. I asked, if I may see the room, before I decide, but I was not allowed, though I continued further and hoped to find a McDonald’s for the wi-fi, because I only have H+ for data traffic now and with it, it is not possible to make anything, but the GPS is working. I also downloaded the “Here (we go)” app again, which I can use offline, but it does not work properly here. I ordered a “Trio” meal with chicken nuggets. It came with 10 chicken nuggets, medium fries and medium soft drink and was for 79 MXN (3.50 EUR) only. The Internet worked well and I also found the hotels – actually by booking.com. There a night at the Hotel California was offered for 480 MZN, but I decided, not to book and try it directly.
The hotel was not so close as I thought, though I asked a young couple for it, who answered “derecho”, straight(forward). After a short while I could see the hotel at the other side of the street and crossed. I booked a room by speaking Spanish, but the male receptionist in his 50s answered in English. The room was to the promotion price of 330 MXN (14 EUR). That was a price for single occupancy, which I have not found often. The room was nice and clean as well as better than the expensive one in Mulegé, even the only window was to the hallway. A curtain helped against prying eyes. In addition to that a breakfast with cereals was included. Furthermore the shower was so clean, that it could be used without flip-flops. I was quite early to bed that night, because I won’t be late for my trip to Álamos the upcoming day.
3rd March 2018
I was told, that I have to see Álamos. I checked it and found out, that it is a UNESCO heritage site, though I took the bus at 9:30. The company had the name Albatross. When I bought the ticket, I saw, that they also have a route to Hermosillo. There were only two trips a day. One in the morning and one at 3pm. I had to be back in time.
The bus trip was OK, even there were a lot of stops. It took one hour. Before I left the bus station in Álamos, I checked, when the buses were going back from Álamos to Navojoa. The actually did every hour like 12:30,pm, 1:30pm etc. I thought, I have to catch the 1:30 bus to buy a ticket and catch the bus to Hermosillo.
I walked around and read, that the town called itself Ciudad de Portales and actually they have a lot of them. Unfortunately I had to walk around with all my belongings. I took photos of different buildings and even of the nature. Even this village is surrounded by mountains. I found a shop selling postcards – with five different views, but most of them were views from a long time ago. I bought postcards with the view of the town hall. I have visited it and the inside is special and beautiful.
The city is not big, though I was soon back at the place, where I started the sightseeing. Close to it I found a map of the city and I had not missed something. I was looking for a cheap restaurant or a stall, but have seen the bus at the bus station and decided to try to catch it, which I did. When I bought the ticket at the ticket box, the queue told me to go directly and not to attend the queue. That was the reason, why I did not miss that 12:30pm bus.
Back in Navojoa I found easily a food court. I chose a chicken dish. It came with one potato and salad and was for 60 MXN, the soft drink included. I was in time back at the bus station for the bus to Hermosillo. For the ticket I had to pay the amount of 255 MXN. It was a four hours ride and we had to stop at four pay stations. I was surprised, that there are pay stations even the road is not finished yet, that means, maintenance work is ongoing to broaden the road and for that, the files to be used are horrible.
I had agreed with my host, that I will send her a message, when I am close to Hermosillo, because my host offered me, to pick me up. When I was waiting at the bus station, I saw, that I had sent that message to my host I have had in Tijuana instead, though I sent a new message to my host in Hermosillo. Around half an hour later, she (Jessica) arrived by car with her sister (Jaqueline). While Jessica already started to drive, she asked me, if I was hungry. Jaqueline was asking for going home to prepare herself for meeting her boyfriend. Jessica drove me to a hot dog stall, which was very popular. It was at a park and benches were close to that stall. Finally I had a Mexican hot dog, which is added onion, tomato slices and much more. The bread is bigger than that I am used to from the North of Europe. There were also different things, one could choose and add oneself, e.g. Guacamole. This big “hot dog” was for 35 MXN. On our way home to the sisters’ apartment, Jessica stopped at a convenience shop. I bought a liter of milk and had to pay 21 MXN (the highest price I so far have paid for it in Mexico). Before we were going to bed, we get to know each other as well as I got to know the dog Timothy, which was very happy to see me.
4th March 2018
I was up at 8am and had breakfast. The others were still asleep. When Jessica came to the kitchen, she offered me instant coffee powder. I had to made some dishes, though I could get a cup of coffee. Around high noon we went to town by Jessica’s car. She had to fill fuel and afterwards her car did not start. She was used to it and had the jump cabels with her. A kind guy was found soon, who helped her to jump her engine. We continued throughout the city to the museum of art, called Musa. We were lucky, there was no admission fee this Sunday. Furthermore there was a project, though we got a guide for part of the exhibition and she was for free. We also got a CD afterwards.
We continued later to the second and even third floor. Every floor had different themes. On the upper one it was about handcrafts. From the windows of the museum we could see the mountains. I could read the word Justice and asked Jessica (who is a lawyer), what it meant in this case. Though she told me, that there also is the word ABC and it is about children, who died. When I wrote this I also found the story behind it, the story about the ABC child care center. Died had also the battery of Jessica’s car again, but that is, of course, not so serious. It was just the same procedure as the time before.
Jessica drove directly home, explaining that it is not possible on Sundays to park in the inner city and the historical city as well by different events. This day also the families day was celebrated. Anyway she made a detour to the Tufesa bus station. It was hard to park there and Jessica stayed in her car, what anyway was the best regarding to her bad car battery. I tried to enter the bus station to buy a ticket back to Los Mochis, but it was such a long queue, that I went immediately back to the car and we were going home to my host. The dog had to go outside and afterwards Jessica and I were going to a supermarket nearby buying some of the ingredients for Swedish meatballs, macaroni and raw, grated carrots. Jessica paid for all of it, even I told her, that I should pay for it as a thank you for hosting me.
Back at home I cooked the Swedish meal. When it was ready to be served even Jaqueline was at home and we ate together. Both sisters enjoyed the meal. Later that evening the sisters tried to help me to get the bus ticket the best and cheapest way. They recommended the Tufesa app. The first booking gave 30% of ordinary price, the following bookings 10%. I tried to book with my Visa card as well as with my MasterCard, but none was accepted. I could not find out the reason. I think it was for the secure payment methods my cards have, which could not be applied by that app. There were other options. One of them was to book the ticket by the app, returning a number and with that going to an Oxxo supermarket and pay there. That should be done within four (4) hours, but by CST (which gave me only three (3) hours to pay for it). I was at the Oxxo nearby in time, but could not pay anyway, because the shop had no contact to the bank after 7pm. Though the app is stupid programmed. If the reservation is not paid in time, it is not accepted at all. There was no possibility to pay for it later, e.g. at the bus station. I was not only disappointed, but also angry about this stupid app, but had no other possibility than to try the following morning again.
Now it was time for a little sightseeing trip, but by Jaqueline’s car. She was driving onto a hill, though I could see Hermosillo by night. The lights made it a great view, which you cannot imagine daytime. During this trip we also stopped at a place to buy Agua de Horchata, this time with the taste of coconut. The sisters thought, they introduced something new for me, but I told them, that I love Agua de Horchata and especially the kind with coconut. I paid the drink for all of us. We were also going to a place, where we could buy super burritos. The super meant the size. They were really big. One of them were for 110 MXN, a high price, but it was two meals. It was only possible, to buy them on Sundays, I have been told of them. The sisters shared one filled with meat, shrimps and avocados. I saved half of mine, which was filled with meat and avocados, for the upcoming day.
At my host’s home again, they watched TV and I updated my blog somewhat. I did not much done, because I was too tired. I fell asleep around 10:30pm.
5th March 2018
I had breakfast while Jessica already was out with the dog. When she was at home again I tried again to buy an online bus ticket. This time I only got 10% off the normal price. Anyway, we made it to the Oxxo in time, as well as they could handle the payment. I had to pay 10 MXN extra for their service. Furthermore I had to get the real ticket almost an hour before departure of the bus.
Jessica and I talked then about the day. Against the evening before, she told me, she had to work with her computer. I answered, that I have not expected, that she will have time for me on a weekday and asked her for the directions to the closest bus stop. The trip downtown was for 5 or 6 MXN only. I asked the driver to call for the right bus stop, which he did. Maybe I should have asked for the historical city center, but I thought, there was a tourist information downtown. There should be, but at that address I did not find anything, however nearby was a special car, which could have been a tourist information, but it was closed and would not be in use before next month.
I could see the cathedral, when I was looking for the tourist information and was going their also in the hope, that there would be any information about the city with its attractions. I could not find any, though I took pictures of the cathedral and there surrounding, which was the historical city. There was a park, even with a remembrance corner for the children of the ABC day care centre (see above) and the town hall. I was interested in to go inside – only to the big open place inside. A man stood outside, who seemed to be a security guard, though I asked him, if I was allowed to take a look. He did not answer with “no”, but maybe with “parra” (stop), which I not fully understand, when he told me. He asked me if I understand Spanish, because I had taken the word for an allowance to enter. I told him, that I speak very little Spanish and he did not say anymore. By leaving the Baja California less and less Mexicans are speaking or understanding English. I enjoyed to see the wall paintings and took some pictures. There were paintings in the stairway, too, but I saw, that I was observed all the time, though I dared not to go there. When I left, a woman stood at that entrance, also looking like a security person. She greeted kindly.
I had become hungry, but was thinking about the half burrito at my host’s home. Therefore, and, of course, for the sunny and warm weather as well, I bought an ice cream of medium size instead. It was for 38 MXN and the most expensive one I ever have had in Mexico. The chain was called Thrifty, which I will avoid in the future.
From the seats outside the shop I have seen a museum, which was my next destination. Like I had seen in La Paz, the museum was only a little part of the building and the exhibition was about indigenous people of the area. The entrance was for free and in the first room I was guided in Spanish. I think, the guidance stopped, when he saw, that I am reading the signs on the walls. I was soon leaving the museum again, after I had seen all the objects and read all the signs.
I walked back to the new city center and further to an HSBC branch as well as I was looking for postcards (“fotos postales” in Spanish), but did not find any, though I decided to walk all the way back to my host. It should take around an hour. After a while I got hungry and bought a snack and a bottle of Agua de Horchata at an Oxxo. Unfortunately this shop did not have an opportunity to sit, even they sold hot dogs, coffee etc. Some meters later I found a low wall to a stair, which I could sit on really comfortable. I ate my snack there and continued then on my way back.
Not far away from my host’s home, I found a Mc Donald’s, which wi-fi I used by standing outside to send Jessica a message, that I was close to her home, because she needed to come down and unlock the door, that I could come up to her apartment. I was already a while in front of the building, she lives in, when she answered me and apologised, that she was not at home. She came around half an hour later and had a new battery in her car.
We spent a little more time together, during which I even ate my other burrito half. Around 6:15pm she drowned me to the bus station, because I was afraid, that there would be a similar queue at the counter like the day before. In the car, Jessica told me, that I have been her best couch surfer so far, because I am so flexible and independent. She hopes, I will come back and visit them again.
There were no queue at the bus station and I spent my time with trying to learn more Spanish words by my travel dictionary. The bus was late, but had the right number. The final destination was Mazatlan, though I asked the driver to call at Los Mochis (which he actually did). The bus left Hermosillo around 11pm. There were no controls on the way, but the pay stations. I was afraid to fall asleep to miss to leave at my destination as well as I hoped I could get some sleep, though I will not fall asleep in the train and miss the views.
6th March 2018
The clock in the bus showed two hours more than my smartphone. It made me nervous. I was not really sure, if my smartphone shows the correct time. There is no wi-fi in the bus and I had not topped up my account.
When we reached Los Mochis I went to the bathroom, bought a bottle of water and looked then for a taxi. I did not need to wait for one. I was not sure, that the taxi driver took the shortest route. At the bus station was a sign with the prices. The trip should have been for 60 MXN only, but it was in the middle of the night, even it was no weekend. The driver asked for 110 MXN, I gave him 100 MXN, which should have been a fair price anyway.
For my adventure with the train “El Chepe” please follow the link.