All right! Teresa here, guest blogging for Kris and Joe. I’m going to give you all a little flavor of what my first full day in South America was like…
6:00am Alarm rings. We awake after a tiring night and not quite a full night’s sleep. Kristen informs Teresa and Joe that “it’s only 6:00am,” and they should awake easily. But ‘a four hour ride shouldn’t be that bad,’ Teresa thinks confidently to herself.
7:30am Hop on the Cruz del Sur bus. Ha! Protest schmotest. We made it and will have a full day in Huacachina. ‘Those fools that told us yesterday that the road would be closed are idiots,’ Teresa again thinks confidently to herself.
9:30am We are stopped at a blockade (just some strategically placed rocks on the highway). The locals are mad that the state wants to build a jail in their city rather than in a rural area.
9:34am Pass the blockade. They thought they could stop us? What, did they not hear that Teresa had just gotten in to town and was ready to go? Next stop, Huacachina!
9:35am Stopped again. On a bridge this time, along with other buses and semis.
10:30am Still stopped. Confidence waning. People seem to be settling in for the long haul. Kristen tilts her chair back. Joe looks outside longingly for air. Teresa watches as protesters carrying sticks walk by.
10:35am Teresa suggests we give the protesters 5 soles from each of us on the bus. This suggestion is met with a Whoopi Goldberg ‘honey-child’ look from Joe and a laugh from Kris.
11:15am The stewardess hands out the food and drinks. Kristen predicts this may have been done too early.
11:16am Teresa has eaten and, with Kristen’s words in her ears, immediately gets hungry again.
11:20am Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ends. I Am Legend begins.
1pm I Am Legend ends. Shouldn’t have watched the dog part.
1:10pm We get off the bus. With no engine, nor air conditioning, we’re happy to bail.
1:28pm We get back on the bus. The men with sticks were coming by.
1:29pm The stewardess announces that we should shut the curtains so the men won’t see us. Teresa flings hers closed and velcroes it.
1:30pm Good Dog starts.
1:31pm Kristen and Joe joke about how mad Teresa’s parents would be if Teresa died on their watch. This joke does not have a soothing effect on Teresa, and she quietly wonders if they are saying this out loud in the hopes that now it can’t happen because it would be too ironic.
1:33pm The bus’s power shuts down. Good Dog ends before it begins.
1:34pm The stewardess blasts some Latin music from the bus speakers. People sing along and dance. Teresa is trying to decide if this is the best or worst bus ride she’s ever been on.
2:12pm Teresa realizes that she has all her Clif and Bobo’s bars in my bag. Kris, Joe, and Teresa decide to keep this info to ourselves, since we are experiencing more hunger.
2:14pm We exit the bus again. Street vendors have arrived and are selling goodies. Nothing trumps capitalism.
3:10pm We see a helicopter in the distance. Apparently the protest is bad in the city and the president is flying in for some reason.
3:19pm Back on the bus. Cats vs Dogs begins. Teresa watches with enthusiasm. Kristen looks around nervously. Joe goes outside for more air.
3:42pm Teresa looks out her window and Kristen points out a guy from our bus chilling on the bridge with a bottle of wine. We are jealous.
3:59pm We notice a senor with too much self confidence hitting on a younger girl.
4:13pm Kristen informs Teresa that this is movie is actually the sequel to Cats vs Dogs. Something about ‘Revenge of Kitty Galore’.
5:20pm Movie ends. License to Wed begins.
5:42pm The stewardess falls into a dead sleep. Kristen points this out to Joe and Teresa.
5:46pm Someone shouts out a request for an Inca Cola. The stewardess remains motionless.
5:47pm People take pictures of the stewardess. Some sing her ‘Happy Birthday’. Someone pokes her arm. She sleeps.
6:00pm Most of the strong men (minus Joe) begin to get their backpacks off of the bus and seem like they are going to try to walk out of the barricade. Kristen (repeatedly) tells Joe and Teresa that this would be very bad, since it would basically be Joe defending the whole bus on our behalf. Teresa becomes distraught.
6:18pm Darkness ensues. The stewardess wakes up to everyone staring at her.
7:01pm The movie ends. The stewardess– who by the way is probably 17 and holding everyone together very well– turns the lights on so we can see.
7:02pm The bus driver runs upstairs and yells at her to conserve the power.
7:02pm The stewardess becomes enraged and decides to literally ignore every single things the driver tells her from here on.
7:08pm The driver calls her via bus phone, which is about six inches from her left hand. It rings 19 times. The stewardess checks her cell phone messages and does not once look at the phone.
7:10pm Kristen again voices concern about our group splitting up. Luckily, the tough men decide that they want to stick it out on the bus. We are still a complete team.
7:26pm We get word that we might actually be able to go if we each give 5 soles to the protesters. Kristen proclaims that this is “kind of like extortion”. Teresa informs her that, in fact, this is extortion. Joe laughs while Teresa becomes angry that they could have saved hours if everyone had listened to her earlier.
7:27pm The women on the bus begin to take off their jewelry. Teresa thinks this is because they don’t have the soles to pay and are going to offer jewelry instead. Kristen informs her that, in fact, this is because they are hiding their valuables from possible looters.
7:27pm Teresa, Kristen, and Joe shove money down their socks and hidden cargo pockets. Teresa frantically puts her passport down her pants.
7:31pm The old women on the bus begin saying the rosary. Kristen looks worried. Teresa sees this and becomes terrified. Kristen and Teresa are simultaneously surprised at how much they remember from high school Spanish.
7:34pm The stewardess again ignores the driver’s calls from the bus phone. Kristen, Joe, and Teresa laugh.
8:01pm The stick people don’t come by for money. Teresa keeps her money and passport hidden, just in case. She wonders if she should have just gone to Florida for vacation.
8:12pm Teresa looks out her curtained window and spots dozens of police in riot gear.
8:19pm The barricade is lifted. The police are much more fearful than guys with sticks, Teresa realizes.
8:20pm People are jovial again. Zookeeper begins. The bus moves for the first time in hours.
10:00pm We pull into the Cruz del Sur bus station. We have made it, safe and sound. Teresa puts her passport back into her pack.
That was the end of a very long bus ride.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. The next day, we went sandboarding in Huacachina, which is an oasis in the middle of a huge sand pile.
First, we were treated to a very awesome dune buggy ride, zooming through the sand mountains. Our driver seemed to relish in the fact that we were slightly terrified. He even stalled on one hill that was a bit too ambitious for the rickety buggy.
Joe, Kristen, and Teresa also realized after a couple of missteps that, while sandboarding looked cool, it was actually way more fun to lie down on the board on their stomachs.
The day ended really well. For Teresa, the long bus ride made for a great story, and the buggy ride and sandboarding could not have been more fun.
We took some fun pictures of us at a good little vista too.
Next up, on to Cusco…