Across the Andes

We are traveling through the Andes on a bus. I wasn´t sure it was possible but they rival the Alps for sure. Stark, sheer, dry, red and yellow peaks extend in endless mazes that our bus driver remarkabally manuvers around. We are very tired from our travels thus far. Over 24 hours of non-stop travel have already passed and we have nearly the same left before we reach the village.

Our voyage has had a rough start. Let me elaborate…

Tuesday started with heavy rain in Southbury, CT, as we drove by car to the CT Limo pick up. A van that was overbooked luckily choose us from another couple to go to JFK. Upon arrival at JFK, we sat and ate the lunch we got prior, people watching as we waited for our time to check in. From here all went well untill our flight was also overbooked. We were in the last boarding group but fortunately we were allowed on without trouble. The plane then went through a series of delays which postponed our flight nearly 40 minutes. Worried about our extremely short 1.5 hour layover in Atlanta, Natali and I keepy a close watch on our flights ETA.

Somehow, the pilot, with extremely rough take-off and landing, managed to get us there only 25 minutes late. A quick call to Natali´s Mom and we were off to the gate. When we got to the gate we were welcomed with a message of “last call, boarding, Lima to Atlanta.” We quickly got our tickets checked and I began to board untill and alarm went off. I moved back, confused and turned to Natali startled. The flight attendent asked who opened the door, I saw no door that had been opened and continued to look at her, confused and still. Then, she waved us through telling us we were late as if we had made a mistake by stopping after the alarm. We boareded, sitting next to Johnny, who you already know. This flight was without delay and we actually arrived early after as suspicious and hefty airline breakfast of fruit juice, bagel, ham, omlet, and potatoes.

Customs and baggage were simple although my backpack´s rain flap ripped in travel. After waiting a while we attempted t call Bernardo, the village leader and arrange transport to Pucallpa. 1 hour, no luck. We then attempt to walk to the city center as previously mentioned for food, but locals, when asking for directions tell us it´s dangerous and laugh at us a little for our attempt. We turn back, slightly discouraged. Another hour, no luck contacting Bernardo, and so we decide to get some food and drink upstairs as well as a quick visit to an internet cafe to find a bus. Passing up McDonalds, which unfortunately followed us from the states, as well as Dunkin Donuts, and an assortment of sketchy fried foods, we settle at a Chifa fast-food place and order veggie fried rice and an Inca Cola. As we fill our empty bellies, security offices tell us to get up and move. Having no idea why, we politely comply and move to another table. Still no good, we are asked to leave the area, and so is everyone else. Apparently their is an umarked box by a garbage can and they think it´s a bomb! We are beggining to think our adventure has really begin untill we head back downstairs to take out come money from and ATM to pay for the bus and taxi to the station. Natali takes out 200 soles which are promptly not given! A Taxi Green driver, (one of the more reputable cab companies), helps us and goes with Natali to the information desk to ask what they can do. I stay behind with the ATM in case it comes out, feeling nervous leaving her side and slightly distraught at the status of our travel thus far. The cash doesn´t come out, and the information desk claims they don´t take visa (it´s not everywhere you want to be apparently) even though the ATM says VISA in big letters. No matter, we head off with the Peter the cab driver to an ATM and then the bus station. My priorities are again strained as we stop at a bank and Natali walks alone, 20 feet away to take out a large sum of money as I stand by the cab which we are now invested in (it has our bags in the trunk.) Natali is fine and perhaps it was silly of me to worry. We are on our way, 200 in hand, chatting with Peter about Lima´s streets and happenings.

We get to the bus depot, pay peter a hefty 80 soles and find out the bus is full. All that is left is a sketchy economy bus with no bathroom. We are informed by the attendents and a Peru National Police officer to go across the street to another. It is more expensive by nicer. 80 each. It is comfy, has a bathroom, 2 served meals, etc.

Now I sit on the bus, picking which parts of my meal wont make me sick, wafting off the smell of adorable peruvian baby vomit, mending my broken seat belt as we bumb over the Andes, sipping Inco Kola, which tastes like bubbly swish-and-spit (if anyone remembers that stuff from elementry school), and diverting my stare from the man across from me which I just noticed is in handcuffs!!

OH Perú, I love your adventure already. It all happens faster than I can write. (oh, and the glacier tipped ridges at sunset are amazing!) 11 hours untill Pucallpa… I may have to start leaving more for the memory and less for the pages of my Journal.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Across the Andes”
  1. Je suis La Lune says:

    wow, and I thought my adventures in Europe were bad enough! :-p glad to see you're ok so far. Can't wait to see the pictures. You should read my friend Robbie's blog. He's in Uganda and has similar, yet different, experiences than what you're going through. Check it out! http://www.ugandanvegan.blogspot.com/<3 Liz

  2. heliopath says:

    what a start. travel distressing hiccups always color trips. never the less they make great stories. will be reading loyallyro

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