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42 hours Ride

BOLIVIA | Thursday, 28 May 2015 | Views [400] | Scholarship Entry

“-Ladies and gentlemen, we are trapped in a road strike and we don't have a clue when we will be arriving in our destination.” Said our Bolivian bus driver while big drops of sweat formed in his forehead and dripped all over his clothes, making big pools of humidity in his once very tidy uniform. By now, after 42 hours of driving and sitting still because we were being held for hours, not one single person who boarded this bus in Salta, Argentina, looked groomed or clean. The drive towards the city of La Paz in Bolivia was supposed to be a straight 27 hours bus ride with no stops or transferring, reason why I choose this specific company, but as any good adventure starts, my plan backfired.

Here I was, a solo-first-time-backpacker, as inexperienced and curious like any first-timer, in unknown territory and surrounded only by Bolivians (who couldn't have looked more relaxed while facing a strike and being trapped in the middle of nowhere). I was sited on the second floor, in front of the panoramic window, a lucky sit I thought, later on to find out it was the chilliest place to be and my window didn't have a curtain, making me duck my head and body in an yogi like position to hide myself from the car lights. Though to my biggest and immeasurable surprise I wasn't unhappy with my accommodations. It wasn't only the samples of Bolivian food being served by the bus attendant in little carton boxes with exotic smell, the chubby infants with curious eyes and easy smiles or the the ladies wrapped in their colorful ponchos and round little hats that made this little unfortunate trip so fortunate.

After I reached the peak of my patience I decided I needed to find my own way to reach La Paz. How, was the only question. And there, sited in the same roll of chairs in the panoramic widow were Consuelo and Carmencita, two ladies with 72 and 79 years old, Bolivians by birth, Americans by raising and my two new best friends.
It took a big tantrum combined by the three of us to convince the bus driver to leave us in the middle of the road. Our next task was to find a ride to the nearest city because only private cars were aloud to pass, but we managed. We had to share a single bed in a sketchy city along the way, scrap our left coins for meals as there were no ATM’s or banks around, but that little act of rebellion that we experienced together gave me an unique adventure to tell and share with two of the toughest traveling grandmothers.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

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