Teresa’s First South American Bus Ride is “Kind of Like Extortion”.

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.

The blockade at our first glance. Seemed cute at the time.

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.

Time to get back on the bus. Us gringos are ushered to the front of the line.

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.

Teresa, amid all the vendors and hullaballoo.

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.

Our last minutes with the precious, safe sun.

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.

Our bus view. The ladies in front of us, whom you can't see since they are a good foot shorter than the seats, are the ones initiating the rosary. This picture was shot during better, lighter times.

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.

Joe, getting ready to sandboard, which is an adjustment from skiing.

Kristen, looking like a pro while she waits for everyone to be ready.

Teresa, gradually realizing that these bindings are different from snowboarding's.

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.

Our dune 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.

Kristen sandboarding, before we realized going on our stomachs was way faster.

During our trial phase.

Joe, about to show us how it's done.

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.

Kristen's "gran jete something something dancey" picture. That's the entire city in the background.

Teresa, dropped from the sky while taking a nap.

Joe, karate kicking the sand out of his shoes.

Next up, on to Cusco…

About shoefry

Taking off for a year to see what the world has to offer.
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5 Responses to Teresa’s First South American Bus Ride is “Kind of Like Extortion”.

  1. Kerri says:

    Just when I’ve read enough blog posts to think that I could maybe muster up the courage to travel like Kristen and Joe, I read this one and shrink way back into my shell. I needed to take a Tums just to get through that post (very well done, by the way, Teresa). Glad all is well now and hope you are enjoying the rest of your adventures. Oh, and if I ever join a protest, I’m totally doing boulders in the road.

    • shoefry says:

      The bus ride actually wasn’t too bad! There were only a few moments of brief panic, but these blockades are so commonplace that everyone remained pretty calm and in good spirits. I was just so grateful that we didn’t have spend the night on the bridge.

      Luckily Teresa’s time here has been a blast! I am sad she is leaving soon!

      You guys could come visit anytime!

  2. Dee says:

    Guys – sorry for the late comment, but I’ve spent the better part of the last two days trying to revive Mom and G-ma after they read this blog. Gotta run – they’re calling for more smelling salts again.

  3. Mom says:

    OH Dear!!!!!!!!!

  4. Pingback: Peru: Final Thoughts | shoefry

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