Back on shore we're invited to donate into the "retirement hat" beind held out as we disembark, given our shoes back, and directed towards the office where photos will be available for selection and purchase. Since we'd been at the back of the boat we're first off, and after the loo we have a browse of the photos taken by the onboard snapper. With apologies to her, they ... weren't very good. Not just the ones of us, we had a very cursory swipe through and weren't taken by any of them. What's more, they wanted $35 - that's USD, not MXN (even pesos use the dollar sign) - to get any. $35!!
Also, there's no transport back to San José del Cabo, or any of the hotels. The transport for this trip is one way, and you're left to your own devices on the way home. I'd feared this was the case because some website had mentioned it, but Helen was convinced it couldn't possibly be true.. until we were told it was.
Worse yet, because we'd been to the loo first, and done a runner from the photos, we totally failed to find out where the cabs or buses - we'd been told there was a bus - leave from. So we wander around the marina front towards town, fending off countless attempted interactions from people trying to sell us stuff or convince us to do stuff we don't want to do.
At the corner, we nip up to street leve and pick a direction. A bus stop is spotted, some urbano transporte with destinations daubed on the window with white paint. Helen says "San José del Cabo?" to the driver who shakes his head apologetically; a passenger tells us where to go, but we both think the other one has heard and understood him correctly when in reality neither of us did.
So, we walk a bit further. Cabo San Lucas is pretty horrible, just a nasty drunken frat boy town and soon we've stumbled, almost literally, into the red light district. "Hey, rich Americans (sic), come see show girls. It's couples night tonight" and so on. I'm not hugely impressed with this turn of events. We're stranded somewhere a good 40+ minutes away from where we're staying, with seemingly no cabs around and anyway they'd probably cost a fortune, and no idea how or where to get a bus from.
I'm thinking our best bet is to go into a reputable hotel lobby and ask them to get us a cab, but there's nothing reputable in sight and I'd still rather not fork out what will be a huge chunk of cash anyway. Not yet finding this particularly funny, I'm stressing and we fix that by going into an empty Irish pub - no customers, 8 members of staff all - and get two bottles of Dos Equis, for 70 pesos paid with 100 and no change is forthcoming.
Sitting at the bar is the quietest place, so we do, and midway through the beer Helen decides our best bet is, fuck it, ask the barman. I'm sort of onboard with this but also think we're just going to signal ourselves: hey, lost idiot tourists! Don't worry, my friend will drive you, very cheap, very reliable...
I'm a horrible person. The guy tells us exactly where the bus stop is, and the name of the bus. Ruta del desierto, from two blocks away on the right hand side, past Puerto Paradiso and near McDonalds. His directions are perfect, spot on, and just as we approach the stop a bus arrives. The driver struggles to remember the English for "74 pesos", the fare back to San José for the two of us.
We only have 61 pesos. and a bunch of US dollars. For fucks sake! But at least I'm starting to find things funny now.
OK, so this bus is meant to run every ten minutes and I saw some ATMs back near the bar. Walk past the shopping mall called Liverpool. First ATM: US dollars only. Second ATM: broken down, with some odd message about a note being too long. Third and fourth ATM: same as the second. Fifth ATM: US dollars only.
Cabo San Lucas is a US dollar kinda town. No-one comes here for authenticity. Might as well be in fucking Blackpool. But, aha! Over the road back past the Irish pub there's a branch of Santander, with two ATMs in an indoor lobby. In goes my card; there's no option to have this in any language other than Spanish, so let's see what happens.
Entering the PIN is OK. Picking my account is OK. Choosing 600 pesos is OK. Then there's some random question requiring a Si or Non and we pick Si - I think we've just donated 3 quid to some nurses. Then the screen goes largely white. My name is at the top right, and there's some Spanish we can't translate at the top left, and nothing else. It's a good 20 or 30 seconds like this and I'm thinking, OK, I really don't want my cash card nicked by a bank in Cabo San Lucas. I'm vacillating wildly between finding this stressful as hell and hilarious.
We press all the buttons. Nothing happens, but the ATM to our left starts making noises. Eh? I'm thinking it's game over and then, oh! Something comes up on screen! We don't know what it means, but it's asking si.or non again. Fuck it, si.
A receipt comes out. Then, hmm, does it ask us another question? Or just display a message? I can't recall. Either way, a couple of seconds later it seems to be in "OK, you're done, bye now. Next!" mode and my card still hasn't come out.
Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. And the card comes back out. Oh thank fuck. Thank fuckity fucking fuck. I mean bloody hell, what an excellent palaver. At least if it had been swallowed it was a branch of Santander and not Dave's Roadside Pesos or whatever.
Aaaanyway. Back, again, to the bus stop. A bus is there waiting, and we hand over 100 pesos and get 26 back. He asks if we want to go to the Megastore in San José. Um, not to our knowledge. We don't actually know where to go, just that this bus is our best best. Seats taken at the back, off we set.
There's a bloke aggressively drinking either a can of lager or some form of hyper caffeine energy drink. When he restlessly moves seats several times, twitches a lot, and spends his entire journey agitated on various phone calls, I guess the latter.
About 20 minute into the journey I realise that despite having no data, I do have cached maps in Google maps on my phone. And it's showing our correct location! This is excellent; we can see the hotel, we can see San José, and we know that if it goes straight on at the big roundabout we're not as confident as if it turns right.
It goes straight on at the big roundabout. A couple of minutes later, a friendly man behind us asks where we're going and says we need the next stop, and to walk a straight line through town. We ask the driver to corroborate, and stop, and he does. A couple of mariachis are walking towards us as we turn left off the bus; turning back to wave thank you to the friendly passenger, he's frantically waving that we should go the other way. Thank you, señor! Muchos gracias!
It is one straight road. We're not anywhere touristy, everything is very sleepy and quiet and there are a few taquerias and other food/drink places open clearly only for locals, each with only around 3 people in. They all look excellent, as our adventure has been, but let's face facts - it's a bit crap that they offer transport in one direction to the boat only, and leave you stranded in CSL afterwards. Helen is particularly unimpressed about this being the case had she been travelling solo.
Anyway, at the far end of the road we turn left, walk about 3 minutes and are back at the hotel. It's been fun, but we are shattered, or at least I am. Even at 10pm it's like 22 celsius or some madness. I'm a sticky hot sweaty mess, and not in a good way, so jump straight in the shower. Then I crack open a beer, and fall asleep before it's even finished.