When we bought the tickets at the ADO counter, I didn’t know why the 8:30 a.m. bus was 60 pesos less than the other buses to Córdoba. In the interest of saving about $10 USD, we bought the cheap tickets. I’m just speculating, but I think the cheap tickets were because the bus we rode was inferior. We sat in the two front seats in clear view of the dashboard. I was a mechanic for 10 years, so I really freaked myself out when I started looking around.

There was electrical tape covering a red light on the dash, but that’s not really that big of a deal. It could have simply been the light that tells the driver to buckle up. One of the only people I’ve ever seen wear a seatbelt in Mexico was me. As we got rolling, I noticed the brake light coming on every time the driver hit the brake pedal and a distinct metal-to-metal grinding sound coming from the left front wheel. The driver didn’t seem to notice these things, but he was complaining about the erratic buzz of an alarm in the dash and a two-inch red light that accompanied the alarm that read “STOP.” The fact that you are reading this post means that everything turned out fine and the bus didn’t tumble down the side of the mountain engulfed in flames. However, next time will demand that the bus pulls over, I will snatch my luggage from the belly of the bus and find alternate transportation.

The bus ride to Córdoba apparently goes past the snow-covered peak of Orizaba, the tallest mountain in Mexico. I wouldn’t know because the mountains were covered in layer of thick fog and I was too busy gripping the seat in terror as we flew around the blind corners of mountain roads. I was just glad to get to Córdoba.

The taxi driver that scooped us up from the bus station told us that they didn’t get many visitors in Córdoba. Unlike Oaxaca City, the only other gringo we saw was some guy staying at the same hotel we were. His t-shirt from Washington DC gave him away. Plus every time we saw him, he gave us the nod of recognition that I get from folks who live in the United States every time I visit Mexico.

We found the hot-pink Hotel Palacio online and it is quite a bargain. It is situated about a block from the zócalo and only cost us $40 USD a night. For years it was the tallest building in Córdoba and you can see Orizaba from the hotel. We stayed on a floor that looked like it hadn’t been remodeled since Manuel Ávila Camacho was president. I have not been in a hotel where the windows actually open for years, so I took advantage of this feature and took some photos of the city from the top floor.

Our first night in Córdoba we spent drinking coffee and eating French fries at one of the cafes on the zócalo. All of a sudden, the lights in the park went out, the instrumental version of La Bamba fired up and the lights in the Palacio Municipal flashed on and off to the music.

The following day was my birthday so we grabbed some ice and a few tall boys from the 7/24 market across the street, filled the sink with ice and streamed some music from the Internet.


egg-shaped tunnel


foggy mountain road


partying out with the YouTube


fancy purple fountain


good cheap taco place


our hotel bathroom


The water pressure in this shower was fantastic!


view from the top of the hotel


It took me a while to figure out what this was.


another view from the hotel


The Hotel Palacio in the morning


We finally saw Orizaba an hour before we town.

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