After having seen how awesome San Miguel de Allende was last weekend, I decided to go back today. Two friends from Holland (who also study at don Quijote) and we set out early this morning to the bus station. First of all, I have to say how much I love getting a student discount for being a student here! It only cost me $8.60 USD to get to San Miguel de Allende and back, an hour and a half bus ride (one way). Secondly, buses in Mexico are glorious! It's like one of those charter buses that you had for away games in high school, but WAY better. Let me detail why:
So you've bought your ticket and go to this waiting room area until your bus is ready to start taking passengers on board. You show the ticket verifier your ticket and they ask you what you'd like to drink, and they put that drink in a bag that has a croissant or cookies in it! You board and the floors are swept clean, you have an overhead compartment for your stuff, and have a plush reclining seat and a TON of legroom. Oh, and it gets even better! There's this leg-rest or pad thing that you pull towards you to put your legs on for the duration of your trip. That's not all...they play DVDs, provide heating/air-conditioning, etc.
What I learned was that there are several types of bus services, depending on where you are and where you want to go. Servicio ejecutivo (executive service) or also called de lujo (deluxe) is the royal treatment which includes everything I mentioned previously. Then there is primera clase (first class) with the previously mentioned, but second-rate movies instead. Then you have the segunda clase (second-class) buses which are lower in quality and are usually refurbished/converted school buses. The segunda clase buses will pick up passengers waiting alongside the road depending on seat availability as well. I was told that this may be the only option if one chooses to travel between small towns. On a segunda clase bus, you'd be traveling by ordenario service as opposed to express and directo on servicio ejecutivo and primera clase. For all bus services, they are considered local or de paso. The locales buses originate from where you board, and de paso are buses who stop in to stations for a short time to fill seats.
San Miguel de Allende was neat to explore because of the artisan shops and handcrafts. I found this really neat tea set that I wanted to buy for $32 USD! As usual, I didn't end up buying anything as I wouldn't have been able to bring it with me as I travel. Another really cool item I found and wanted was a sink! Wimmie, Ingrid and I explored La Parroquia, a 17th century church with a neo-gothic facade, Museo Historico de San Miguel de Allende (right next door), and Templo del oratorio de San Felipe Neri--built in 1712 with a neo-classical interior and baroque exterior.
I am planning to go to Mexico City and Teotihuacan (1 hr north east by bus). The massive ruins at Teotihuacan will be really interesting to explore and I am really looking forward to it. It's going to be a busy week--working more to have money to travel, studying, and packing to move to el centro, then leaving for the weekend!
I will post photos soon!