Surviving The Vomit Comet, and Living to Tell about it

I took the 7-hour journey in a “vomit comet” in Mexico from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido.

Not a single person had anything half way decent or human to say about this bus ride that seemingly was sketched out in hell itself.  My reason was purely economical of course, because otherwise I would have been on an easy peasy 45-minute plane ride to my paradisiac beach destination.

I bought the ticket with a lump in my throat that brought on the nausea that was surely going to plague me in not so long anyway. I prepared myself mentally for the worst ride of my life. I was quite sure though that it would not beat the 3-hour crazy speedboat ordeal between islands in the Galápagos where almost everyone was hurling chunks into bags and wishing they were dead. I was born and raised on the water and have very strong sea legs to keep me from getting seasick, but this was the closest I have ever come to expulsing the contents of my breakfast either onto the boat floor or onto my boatmates.

This is me post ordeal feeling like a resting, (but maybe dead) reptile.

(Thanks Emma for the nice montage!)

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So this vomit comet is a 10-seater van. You get to pick your seat when you purchase your ticket, so of course I sat up front next to the driver. I didn’t care if I sat next to a man I could not speak with for 7 hours, anything but sitting in the back of a hot van without being able to look outside. It’s a long winding road through pueblos, arid low riding mountains, and misty mountaintops. It is what people say it is, and so much more!

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I was caught off guard actually enjoying the view and the experience. This feeling comes mostly from a place called gratitude. Grateful to be alive and experiencing new adventures, in whatever form they come. A few years ago my privileged ass would have been terrified and not even ventured out by fear of being robbed, of having to talk to strangers in a foreign language, of rolling down a cliff accompanied by my fellow van riders. I sat there so thankful for having the chance to experience all of this. I thanked myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and mostly for facing my fears. I loved talking to the locals with my broken, messed up Spanish. I loved when a young woman handed me her baby while she went to the bathroom during our one and only 15-minute stop. Pretty Abril was the cutest thing and didn’t even seem to mind being in a strange looking woman’s arms. I did start getting uncomfortable when it was taking just a little longer than expected for mama to come back from her business. Ok, cute baby, but not in my plans right now.

 

You might actually get motion sickness just by watching this video. THIS….for seven hours. Seven hours of non-stop, up and down, never ending winding…swerving around fallen boulders and stray dogs.

 

As we zig zagged our way through the pueblos and mountains, I loved seeing all the farm animals, the colorful houses, and the playing children. I was enjoying every sight of this fearless trip until I saw a group of men with cowboy hats by the side of the road slaughtering a cow!! And this is where I bring up embracing cultural differences with an open mind and without judgment. I had to repeat this several times to myself at this point to try to get the image of the tied up struggling cow out of my mind.

We made it to our beautiful destination intact. All my fellow van riders were locals and were completely unfazed by the experience except one woman who had to come up and practically sit on my lap because she was feeling ill. Personal space definitely becomes more compact when traveling. ; )

Feeling grateful for life and to new experiences!

-Fearlessly forward bound

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