I´m in transit heaven

Trip Start Jan 23, 2008
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31
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Trip End May 23, 2008


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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Friday, March 21, 2008

We arrived this morning after another all-night bus ride, which involved a transfer in the Middle of Nowhere. This lonely bus stop in the dark steamy night might have been unsettling, were it not for the dozen or so armed soldiers who had set up a road block at the crossroads. Apparently, the remoteness of the area and proximity to Peru invites a little more military interest in the comings and goings. Not only did the soldiers give a sense of security, but the roadblock meant that the buses had to actually slow down, which was WAY easier for identifying and flagging down the right bus.

Amazingly, we had to wait only about 10 minutes for the next bus to Cuenca, another 8 hours away. Mind you, this was in the middle of nowhere. And yet we still struggle to achieve adequate mass transit in a wealthy, populous, green, metropolitan cities.

Sure, the road was entirely packed dirt, gravel, and occasionally mud. Sure we had to back up for a few minutes to pass a large truck coming the other way. Sure you had to wait until the driver needed to stop to step outside for bathroom breaks.

But the fact is that we could get from the End of the Road to the Middle of Nowhere to just about any city using the bus system. I found this impressive and inspiring.

Interestingly, we met an Argentinian couple who have been traveling south by bus from Mexico for the last few months. Their journey had so far involved over 80 different buses, and over 250 hours of bus time. They actually found Ecuadorīs bus system pretty bad (although not the worst) and said that the Argentinian bus system worked like a dream.

We still have three countries and MANY buses before we can judge for ourselves. But I sure hope itīs less than 250 hours between here and there.
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