After losing my phone at the football match, I didn’t have any way to get in contact with my friend Daniel from the Mountain School. We had planned to do a visa run together to Mexico – as my visa had expired the previous week. Luckily for me I ran into him again at the hostel, he had been wondering what had happened to me! Daniel had been hiking up in the mountains to Todos Santos, a trip that I had planned to do the following week. We had a celebratory dinner at Sabor de India and the following day we went to a local bathing rooms – for just $1.20 we each got our own bath – where you could run your own boiling hot water – great for relaxing the muscles after my volcano climb. 

The following day we took a total of three buses and a biketaxi to the Mexican town of Tapacula. It took the best part of a day to get there but it was definitely an interesting journey. Firstly we made it to the border town of Tulum – Daniel had a contact there in the Refugee shelter and we were able to get a tour of the premises from a really nice woman who explained the mission of the place and the work that they do to aid the men, women and children who are making their way from their countries to the USA in search of a better life. The place was surprisingly nice inside and the refugees were able to stay a maximum of 3 nights, they could access legal, medical and spiritual help there. Next the biketaxi took us to the border with Mexico – crossing over was surprisingly easy compared to my last border crossing, and we were in Mexico without much of a fuss and without having to pay any bribes which was refreshing. 

As we were crossing the pedestrian footbridge towards Mexico we saw a bunch of people crossing the river pretty much directly below us on tyre rafts. Daniel told me that this was the way that Guatemalans and Mexicans crossed to complete their shopping or go to work each day. Also this was where the refugees first became illegal on their way northwards to the USA. We had the luxury of traveling there and back as tourists – I don’t think many Gringos make it here because the people were pretty interested in us and wanted to take selfies etc with us! It was an interesting ride – the current in the middle was pretty swift which made it pretty hard for the gondoliers to get us across even though it wasn’t very deep. They had helpers in the water to pull the rafts into port and that looked like pretty hard work too. 

The final leg was a bus ride from the city of Hidalgo on the Mexican side of the border to the crazy town of Tapacula. Tapacula reminded me a lot of Kuala Lumpur – hot and sweaty and really cheap with a feeling of danger at times. There was plenty going on in the streets at night – I remembered that getting any meal without meat is a real struggle in Mexico – cheese tortillas for me!