An Unexpected Journey
The next day, Sunday, I drove back to the ferry dock and found the mystery second ferry company which was located at the back of the terminal surrounded by dozens of semi trucks. The woman spoke very fast Spanish with a very strong accent and I had a hard time understanding her and she didn’t speak any English. I was able to get across that I wanted a ticket for Sunday to Topolobamba. She said the same thing the last ticket agent did about weighing in before buying my ticket and pointed me toward the scales. I took care of that, went back to the ticket counter and bought my ticket. She told me the times I had to report for lining up, when they load and when they sail. I was still confused… some how things weren’t adding up so wrote it down to show her. I said, “Ok, the ferry leaves at 11pm Sunday so I have to be in line at 9pm. She said, “Yes.” Me, “So I have to be back here tomorrow at 6pm.” She looked surprised, “No, you can’t leave now you have to stay, you leave tonight.” Oh dear. I’d bought a ticket for that night not the following week and I couldn’t leave the compound. It was only 10am. She said, “no problem,” and pointed to the large building and explained that I could buy food and use the bathroom.
At first we felt like we were in prison
But the poodles and I made ourselves at home. There was space enough to put the slider out a little and we hung out for the day. I was extremely grateful that I had packed everything up and paid the campground before leaving. I had to just chalk this up to, “ it was meant to be” and “maybe understanding a little more Spanish will get me a log farther.” Sometimes we’re not in control of our own agendas.
The day passed slowly and trucks loaded and left. I was certain that my load time was at 6pm but I wasn’t sure how I’d know where to go… would I get in the wrong line and get on the wrong ferry? I had to keep worry out of my mind and repeated my mantra of “ what’s the worst thing that can happen? Start to load on the wrong boat? They’ll stop you. Miss your sailing? You buy another ticket. So we sat until dark. The only other non-semi in the lot was a small tour bus that parked next to me. I went over to him and asked him if he was going to Topolobambo and he said yes. Excellent! I had someone to follow. So at 6:15 when his lights went on and he started to move I was right behind him. It seemed that we parked in a very random spot next to the mouth of the ferry. He kept his lights and engine running, I turned mine off and waited. Trucks came and went some pulling past me and dropping off their containers others turning around and re-parking next to or behind me. It was a dark chaotic blur of lights, diesel fumes and black rushing shadows. Finally about 8pm the bus in front of me pulled forward and onto the ferry. I pulled ahead into his spot and waited. Small Truck cabs ( i call them worker cabs) were rushing back and forth linking up to the containers and loading them onto the ferry. The freight was then followed by its accompanying semi cab. Someone came to my window and asked me to move aside, he needed to get his truck past me (expressed mostly by hand gesticulations but also in spanish) He had to shout over the cacophony of engines and I used that as an excuse for his to repeat things. I maneuvered the camper up and around the cab beside me. The man in another cab motioned with his hands to help guide me. The worker cabs were busy rushing back and forth and semis were zipping around me…. Lights blinding. The man came back and motioned for me to go back to my original spot. I remembered how to ask, “Isn’t it better to say here?” and just as he said no, one of the worker cabs started moving directly at me headlights on high beam and blinding. I was sitting in front of the container he wanted to move. I was trying desperately to move forward enough move in reverse but the worker cab meant business, they had a schedule to keep, and he was inches away from the front of the truck as I made the final turn out of the way. The truck driver who’d been helping me yelled out, “Buena Mujer!!” What a woman!
It was finally our time to get packed in. The attendant had me entered the ferry front-first, unlike all the trucks who backed in, and then mounted a lift that took us to the second level of the ferry.
We were finally directed into our spot, chained down and I took a long deep breath. We were done and I took a sleeping pill ready to let the rocking of the ship put me to sleep. . It was 10pm before the ferry left dock but I was already drifting away. The poodles and I had had a long day and we will have a long day of driving tomorrow.