Freezing bus nasty

Trip Start Sep 28, 2011
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Monday, May 28, 2012

I've managed to get my boots back with spectacular success.  I went to the office, they sent me to the warehouse, my boots were there.  I was back in the hostel within the hour, packed and ready to go, which meant only one thing for the rest of the day: faff.

All these hostels I've been staying in recently have tourist information and travel centres.  You can book pretty much anything you want through the hostel itself, which means you hardly have to leave the comfort of your room.  Of course each hostel claims that they don't take a cut, but that's a little dubious.  Anyway I was pestering the English speaking attendant about buses out of the city.  Apparently all I had to do was rock up to the station around 6pm and I'd board something no problem.

The hour approaches and I stuff things into my bags with no real care for order.  My new boots are posing a problem, being the bulkiest footwear I now own.  It takes me twenty minutes of huffing and puffing before I realise I should just wear them.  My tennis trainers are now dangling on the outside of the ruck sack.  I'm coming to the conclusion this may well be the most boring entry I've ever written.

I waddle my way up the road and foolishly book the first bus I see that serves Sucre.  It's only 60 Bolivianos and it departs immediately.  I was thinking this was a bonus as I would be there earlier than expected.  In actual fact I'd bought a seat on the nightmare bus from hell which would ensure not only was I to starve, I was also going to nearly wet my pants, contract hypothermia and sit in an upright seat for 15 hours.  This is what happens when I'm not with Spanish speakers.  I nearly said with Paddy, but he'd get a big head.

Bus stations are heaving with options.  There are that many companies you wonder how any of them get any business.  In each station there are always 'pushers' who sing destinations at you, desperately trying to get you on board their service.  It's like an out of tune choir.  With so much choice you would expect to be able to locate the right one for you, at the right price, with a secure, comfortable company.  Of course I'm an idiot when it comes to this kind of thing, and I was swayed by the first one I approached.  It has got to go down as the worst bus journey I've ever undertaken.  Do your research.

At around 11pm the temperature really dropped.  I'm sitting in a broken chair needing the toilet, but of course there isn't one on an all night bus.  Why would there be?  My feet are falling off in my boots as I look around and see every other passenger snugly asleep under a blanket.  | remove my guitar from the soft wool case, throw off my icy footwear, and shove both feet down the fret board end.  It's surprisingly warm.  Placing my day bag on my thighs to keep the cold at bay, I then remove my arms from my hoodie sleeves and fold them under my T-shirt.  I look extremely special, but at least I was warming up.  There was little to do but lean against the window and stare into the blackness.

Driving back from Christmas late night shopping sprees in York with mum we would pass by a large warehouse which always seemed to have it's lights on with some kind of clandestine activity.  Being an inquisitive sort and avid reader of the Famous Five and Secret Seven novels, I always used to assume something unsavory was underway and was desperate to investigate.  It was actually a Yellow Pages distribution centre.  I was bitterly disappointed.  It never put a stop to my curiosity though, and as I gaze out into the Bolivian night, I wonder what's going on behind closed doors.  Tiny lights in far off dwellings intrigue, and I sit and imagine what could be taking place.  They sweep past like war time tracer fire, and I have to be content in knowing I will never know what goes on out there, never seeing it again, never being privileged enough to witness another world.  Imagination runs riot as sleep overtakes, but I find myself thinking something in particular as the dreams begin.
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