Writings while on my bus ride:
My 9:30am bus has
left at 10:11am, so right on schedule =) Oh Latin America… (the movie playing
on the bus just subtitled the exclamation “swish!” as “cambio!”)
scratching the sand out of my ears from my sand dune-ing adventures yesterday. I, along with a Czech couple, went along for
a crazy ride in a dune buggy; the ride itself was a combination of free-falling
and breaking and we slid down the dunes before zipping right up the next sand dune. Between these roller-coaster-esque streaks, we
stopped at the tops of dunes and, waxed-snowboard in hand, sled, stomach down, face forward, down first a 30-foot dune, then an about 50-foot dune, then an 80-ish-foot
dune! [It must be noted that these are my own estimations, and, as height-estimation is not my forte, these approximations should be taken with a grain of salt or...ahem...perhaps sand? Either way, they were very tall dunes.] Sandboarding proved both
exhilarating & painful at the same time if you didn’t brake at all and brakes=dragging
feet. Perhaps the most breathtaking though was
watching the golden/red sun set over the sandy landscape.
I caught the last Cruz del Sur bus from Ica to Lima and stayed
a few hours in a hostel in Lima (the bus station wouldn’t allow me to stay the
6 hours in the terminal at night) that a young Peruvian I had sat next to on
the bus helped me find. Cristian is
a pretty well-to-do Peruvian and was all about taxiing to the hostel, but this
morning I figured out how to get back to the bus station for only
1 sol (remember, 2.8 soles to the dollar),
my transportation a combination of buseta
and a pair of working legs.
Currently I’m in
the bus, on an 8-hour trip from Lima to Huaraz. And we’re back to
desert-country outside. It is, quite honestly, a vast wasteland out here. We’re
driving into the clouds, and my recent bathroom break, complete with an open
window, tells me it’s cold outside. I hope my hostel is toasty…
* * *
1000s of meters up
in the Andes and I’m groovin’ to American
Boy. Is that bad? …no… it’s just staying sane…
* * *
Car lights at dusk
seems to be optional. Or maybe not; maybe they are just permanently off. –Never Give Up on the Good Times, Spice Girls
= For the Win!
* * *
(The previous part of this entry was written while I was riding
the bus. Now I'm cozy in my hostel...)
What. a. day!
It started off at
about 6:50am, 25 minutes before I had set my first alarm. Eventually anxiety
that my hotel wake-up call would forget to wake me up crept in, and I got up in the
cold. My wake-up call never did come, but I was out the door by 7:45am all the same.
Determined not to spend too much money by getting a taxi-ride back to Cruz del Sur (the bus company), I asked
around and gathered I had to take the #28 mini-bus to the main avenue, Javier
Prado, and from there…well directions got a little vague, but it was a start!
An example of the mini-bus/hollowed-out-van/busetas
So I got on a #28 buseta that was zipping by, explained to the helper lady what needed to go down, and for
1 sol (about 35 cents) I got to Avenida
Javier Prado. Great. I started
searching out a taxi, knowing that from wherever I was, it was a straight shot
to the bus station.
available taxi I found said he’d take me for 8 soles, and when he didn’t agree
to my bargain of 5 soles, I told him to forget it, and I continued looking for
a taxi. My search was futile (it was busy taxi-time!) and after 5 minutes of
failed taxi-flaggings, I asked a street vendor just how far the Cruz del Sur bus station was.
“You see that Interbank?” he asked, pointing to a
fairly large building in the distance.
“It is right
in front of that..right right in front. You get in front of the Interbank, and you are at Cruz del Sur.”
I asked how long it
would take to walk there, “5, 10 mintes?” He thought it over ever-so-briefly. “ya…ya, about that.”
[One thing I’ve
learned about Peruvians is that they tell you what they think you want to hear.
If you ask how much something will cost, always estimate it will cost more. (I'm talking about things with a fixed cost such as bus tickets or hostel prices.)
Always estimate things happening later or taking longer as well. But with a
I indeed arrived
at Cruz del Sur, albeit a 25-minute
walk later. I had to ask 3 more people on the way to keep me on track, but I
got to my destination with an hour spare…
…or an hour and
45 minutes, as it turned out, since we didn’t leave until 10:15. On top of it, Lima traffic
was craaaazy and it took about 2 hours just to get out of the city.
Admittedly the ride got off to an ominous start. The vast-wasteland/sand/dune-scape was very much present for the first hour after
leaving Lima. The bus got very cold and the complementary pillows and blankets
were much appreciated. It only got cooler as we headed up, up into the clouds.
This was not boding well for my stay at an even higher elevation, and I
distracted myself by watching a “feel good” movie (playing on the bus),
followed by a less interesting movie, followed by an even less-interesting
movie…movies played non-stop the entire 8 hours 20 minutes on the bus,
and this decline in movie quality continued the rest of the ride, so by the 4th
movie I stuck my iPod earphones in and watched the changing landscape go by.
BUT! Back to the
trip. In a beautiful moment, the heavy cloud-cover that perpetually hangs over
Lima was replaced by clear, blue skies, sun, and warmth! And many photo-ops
were had as we climbed the twisted highway up the Andes. The rest of the ride
was beautiful despite the racket of the movies, mountains making way to
snow-capped mountains, leading to babbling brooks and tiny villages. It was all
Note the blue skies and beautiful landscape! Ya!
arrived in Huaraz in the darkness of nightfall (6:30pm), and I recovered the one wine bottle
that had been taken from me (but just one of the bottles, not both had been temporarily taken away) and I was
a little bewildered about where I needed to go next.
Well, a guy named
Elvis (stellar names, aren’t they ?) completely saved me, whisking me and a
couple (girl, French; guy, originally from Kuwait, 25 years in Spain, now
English citizenship) to a pretty nice hotel that offered us ½ price for having
come with Cruz del Sur. Then Elvis set up my two trips for the next two days,
took me to both bus companies that will have the overnight bus to Trujillo (next city), and
went so far as to ask if I’d dance with him tonight! I declined since we were going
to eat (Fleur, Kuwait, and I), but imagine dancing with Elvis!
[I saw a dead cat
on the way to dinner :/]
interesting because this couple I met is at the very very beginning (they
arrived in Lima on Monday night) of a 3-month adventure, and they were keen on
grabbing dinner tomorrow, but I can imagine by the end of their trip I will be
but a faint fragment in their memory. "Remember that first night in Huaraz when
we were super-exhausted…and we got dinner with that American who startled us
with seeing the dead cat in the road?…I wonder how her travels continued…" =)
I better get to
sleep. 8am wake-up for breakfast, and then tour time!