I pride myself on being adventurous when I travel. Sometimes it works out amazingly and sometime I am taken for a ride, literally.

A few nights ago we decided we would take the bus to the Gran Plaza. We were under the impression that the Gran Plaza was the main square in the center of Merida. Later we found that the Gran Plaza is a mall and the main plaza is actually the Plaza Grande.

This would have been useful information before we got on the bus.

We had just finished shopping at Walmart (Yes, I know, but it is where the gringo gets his goods in Merida) and it looked as though it was about to start raining. So I had the bright idea to hop on the bus and ride it back to our house. I had recently read that riding a bus the entire route is an excellent way to learn the city; since it was about to pour anyway we though what the heck and got on the bus. I made it a point to ask, very slowly, for a stop at the Gran Plaza to which he responded “si.” And there we were off on our little tour of the Yucatan. Everything was going fine except the bus kept going and going. Finally we came to a stop and the driver yelled out Gran Plaza and a little Mexican lady looked at us and smiled, shaking her head up and down. We ignored the driver because he obviously wasn’t talking to us because we were nowhere near the Centro.

The driver pulled out and we were on our way. Soon, civilization ended and the bus began filling up with people and I started to get a bit concerned as to where we were actually heading. I walked up to the driver and pointed to the sign that says Gran Plaza on the front window. He said it would take 1 hour to get there and gestured that we could get off the bus and wait for another bus heading in the other direction. Since we were in the middle of nowhere we decided that this was not the best plan of action.

We stayed on the bus hoping it would soon turn in the other direction. This, of course, didn’t happen. Not when we reached the interstate, not when we went through the industrial park and not when we were in the middle of nowhere without a light to be seen. We finally began to turn after going through a small village where the power was out. At this point we were the only people left on the bus and the driver was demanding payment before he would turn the bus around and head back to Merida.

After heading back through the village, industrial park (were it was shift change at the Pepsi plant was occurring) and back on the interstate we began to realize, when the driver yelled and looked right at us, that we both knew the stupid gringo had confused Gran Plaza and Plaza Gran. When we finally made it home we were drenched as the bus stop was a few blocks from our house.

It was adventure where I was taken for a ride, but learned a valuable life lesson in regards to business.

It is a good idea to be clear before you start your journey where you are trying to go and make sure those around you are also clear where you you want to be taken