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Night Bus to Huaraz

Written on: Thursday October 18th, 2007

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Location: Huaraz, Ancash, Peru

Author: Julie

Hola!

We spent a quiet day at our hotel, conserving our energy for our 10-hour night bus to Huaraz. We had lucked out with a late check-out and spent the day writing our blogs and editing our photos from the previous day. It takes a couple of hours for each entry and we were more than a week behind so we had plenty to do with our time.

At 8 PM, we checked out of our room, dumped our bags in the little restaurant next door and ordered our last ham and cheese sandwich from the kindly owner. We took our time, knowing our bus was only at 9:30 PM. At 8:45, I asked Kevin to double-check our bus tickets, and luckily we did since our bus left at 9:15 and not 9:30 like we both thought! There were two buses leaving that night and we had confused our departure time. We quickly hailed a taxi, threw our heavy backpacks in the back and told him we were crunched for time. That was a mistake for he took it upon himself to become Micheal Andretti on the little, narrow cobblestoned streets. At a stop light, a pedestrian alerted him to a flat tire. No matter, he continued to drive like a mad-man, which to be honest, was great fun if a little scary and got us to the bus terminal with 5 minutes to spare. We tipped him 5 soles for his efforts, but were quite glad to be back on terra firma. The driving in South America has been a great experience for us. They drive all over, not paying attention to the lane lines, fit their cars wherever they can, turn left or right from the opposite lane, cut off other cars whenever they can, and beep for everything. We?ve discovered there are various levels of beeping, from soft friendly ones, to cautions ones, to angry ones. Taxis beep twice to let you know they are empty just in case at that moment you decide you want a ride. Unlike us in North America, who beep only in defensive situations, they use their horns for every possible occasion.

We got in line for our bus, dropped off our bags and received a baggage claim ticket. This was the first time this happened, we were impressed. Up to now, whenever the bus stops one of us would look outside the window to make sure someone didn?t leave with one of our bags. Our high-tech bags tend to stick out from the plastic or fiber bags used by most citizens. Before being allowed to board, we had to sign our name on the passenger list and leave a thumbprint. I?ve never been fingerprinted for local transportation before, this was certainly new. The morbid thought that it was to help identify our remains if we were to plummet off the side of a mountain crossed my mind. Our bus was a fancy double-decker model, with the rich passengers paying 70 soles for bed-style seats on the bottom floor and poor travellers like us paying 45 soles for semi-reclining seats. We didn?t know what to expect with the description ?semi-reclining? on a night bus but were pleasantly surprised. For the cost of 15$, we had Lay-Z Boy style chairs that reclined to a very comfortable angle, a blanket, pillow and an attendant who brought us tea, coffee, water, soft drinks, and light snack of a sandwich. Fantastic service! Imagine having that on a Greyhound bus? During the ride, she would play movies for us in English with Spanish subtitles so we could actually understand what was being said and not have to invent our own dialogue, and even better they weren?t Van Damme movies like on previous bus rides. The only downside is that the first movie was obviously filmed with a hanheld camera in a movie theatre and had a shadow of a head in the right hand corner for most of it. At about midnight, all the lights were turned off and I slept most of the way. If the ?cheap seats? were this comfortable I wonder what the bed seats were like, maybe they had a massage option? We arrived at 7 AM, on schedule in Huaraz.