Trip Start Sep 07, 2011
54Trip End Dec 22, 2011
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Twenty Soles ($7) later I had my ticket in hand for a departure in five minutes and went to pay the extortion, I mean station fee, of 1.50 Soles (50 cents) that allows passage into the boarding area. Of course this being Peru, the 10:45 printed on my ticket came and went. As the minutes ticked by the customers on board the bus became even more ticked off
What I saw today enroute makes the Jesus Cream Dude from Mexico seem like a benign oddity. Normally my preferred source of entertainment on a bus or plane is watching the insides of my closed eyelids but today didn't pan out that way. Not even an hour outside of Lima we stopped at a toll booth and a random guy hopped on and began playing a tiny guitar and wooden flute instrument while singing. He then began passing out a pack of mints to every passenger whether we refused this "gift" or not along with a five minute speech how special they are. Some more singing followed and he came around to collect either money or the mints back. I actually felt kind of sorry for the guy and bought a candy bar from him for about 40 cents.
Thirty minutes later he was gone and replaced by the meat woman as we rolled higher and higher into the desolate Altiplano. Now we all know in these types of countries food safety is a dicey crapshoot, but she took gastromical risk to the next level. This lady as filthy as her basket holding chunks of some sort of alpaca meat product moved up and down the narrow aisle shouting she has said meat for sale. No shit sherlock...we are a foot away from you and can smell both you and your food basket.
As luck would have it, the man sitting next to me ordered a portion and I can report it looked like chunks of wet dog food, smelled like ass, and the grey sauce she squirted from a worn out plastic water bottle had the consistency of loose dog squeeze
By the time we bounced into Juliaca five hours later for a quick stop, I was just ready to get off this thing. Only problem is all of us passengers were ready to roll but the bus wouldn't come out of reverse after we backed out of the stall. In the process we blocked other departures and arrivals and the bus station disintegrated into honking chaos. Just as with the delay in Arequipa, a lot of the passengers started yelling and banging hands on the bus in protest. I think this particular bus commonly has forward movement issues because the driver knew how to poke around underneath it with a long metal rod to unstick the clutch.
About ten minutes later we were finally underway for the last hour over to Puno and Lake Titicaca but not without a stop at the gas station to refuel. And yes, you guessed it, for ten minutes my fellow travelers right on cue loudly yelled and banged their hands in protest on anything and everything that makes noise. For a country that in my observations seems to place little value on punctuality, people sure do get upset over delays.
As the bus descended down towards Puno I got to thinking that this part of dusty Peru feels a continent and culture apart from where I entered the country in tropical Santa Rosa just across the Amazon from Leticia
How I Got Here:
Flying Dog Hostel to Arequipa Bus Station - Taxi - 5 Soles ($1.80) - 15 minutes
Arequipa Bus Station to Puno Bus Station - JacanBus 20 Soles ($7.00) - 6 hours
Puno Bus Station to Marlon's House Hotel - Motorbike Taxi 4 Soles ($1.40) - 10 minutes