One hell of a bus ride II

Trip Start Jun 13, 2008
1
7
51
Trip End May 25, 2009


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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Saturday, June 28, 2008

OK... I wrote this moments after it happened in a notebook so that it was fresh in my head... It happened very shortly after me finishing the blog I wrote from Copacabana...

The fact that I'm writing this, means that I'm fine... so (mum!) don't worry at all!

So, Tom and I boarded the 13.15 bus from Copacabana to La Paz... Tom was reading his book and I was checking out the scenery - we had a great view because we were sitting behind the sheet of glass that separated us from the driver and his "co-pilot".

About ten minutes into the ascent above Copacabana, I noticed an Oasis Overland sticker on the glass and pointed it out to Tom... our friend Andy is the UK manager, so it was like seeing a little piece of home!!

As he looked up from his book, we saw we were approaching some road words... you know when they're digging up the road and they put in temporary traffic lights, or have someone with a STOP/GO sign...? So that traffic can take turns to go by?? Yeah, it was just like that, minus the lights or the sign...

So the driver is taking it really slowly because it's a very windy road on the edge of a cliff. He was tooting his horn to warn people we were coming, but the VW combi that came flying around the corner couldn't have heard him. It's weird, cliched and yet true, that even thought I could see how fast he was going, it seemed to be in slow motion.

Our driver was almost stopped and still punching his horn. The combi slammed on his brakes and tried to turn, but skidded in the dust and came crashing lengthways into the front of our bus.

As it was happening, I grabbed Tom with one hand, pressed the bar in front of me, and braced my legs as best as I could... I didn't have any idea how hard we were going to be hit, or what effect it would have on those on the bus... Looking back, big tourist bus, small Combi, it's probably obvious that we were going to be fine...

Later, the guy sitting behind me, who spoke no English, teased me for shouting 'Oh my God, oh my God!" - can he seriously blame me?!?!?

The windscreen of our bus shattered over the driver and his "co-pilot" and the Combi came to a halt to the right of our bus. The first thing Tom and I saw when we looked up was an old man in the back of the Combi with blood dripping from his face.

All the passengers on our bus were fine, and the driver and "co" had got out of the bus, so I turned to ask if there was a doctor or nurse, but there wasn't. Before much else could be said, the old man had put a coat over his head and the Combi, pretty battered and bruised, drove away.

After everyone realised that everyone else was OK, the bus started chattering and everyone started taking pictures from the inside.

The driver went in a passing car to go and get some help and left the "co". Eventually most people jumped out at the police came and marked out the skid marks with rocks and took some photos.

We only had to wait about hald an hour from the time of the accident to getting on a new bus, so you can't really knock their efficiency!!

A young Bolivian girl stood at the front of the bus and asked everyone, in English, to donate some money to the owner of the bus... Tom and I gave all we could, but that wasn't really much...

After that, I have no idea why Tom and I would sit in the same seats on the new bus, but we did... The road works continued for a good two miles, so every corner was a bit scary after that!


The rest of the bus journey was fairly eventful too... We had to get off while the bus went on one boat and we went on another... then when we finally arrived in La Paz, the driver dropped us in the middle of nowhere! Tom and I had no money, so some very nice backpackers shared a cab with us and we managed to get to our hostel, which our little travelling group had booked for us... well done them!!

The approach to La Paz was pretty amazing... You come up to the top of a hill and are faced with a gigantic crater, filled in with a city... I didn't get to take any pics, but I think Tom did, so have a look at his!!
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Where I stayed
Blanquita

Comments

yourmother
yourmother on

Oh my God!!!
All I can say, is thank GOD you're both still in one piece!!! What an experience!! This is the ONE problem with travelling by road.. the drivers!!!
Any way at least you're both ok! I haven't looked at the blog for a few days because I thought you were incommunicado, so to speak!! No wonder you've emailed to see why I haven't written!
Hopefully you've both recovered now and delayed shock hasn't set in!!
Everyone this end is fine. I went over to Meriden yesterday, so your email arrived while I was out.
I'll email tomorrow and let you know what else is happening, so take care and talk again soon!!!
Call me if you can.. I'll be in tomorrow!
Lots and lots of love
Mum xxxxx

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