Yesterday I began a 21 hour bus journey from Lima to Cusco. I’d taken long term coaches before and although I’d heard about how brutal this famous route is, I decided against taking a knockout pill that I’d been given by the Aussie girls in Brazil. What a disastrous decision! The twists and bends are complete unforgiving and once you finally manage to get to sleep, the driver decides to kick it up a gear and see what g-force he can get you retching at. Thank god the majority of the mountainous sections were at night as well otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d have soiled myself with the constant danger of hurtling of the tiny cliff-edged road.
I had found in Brazil that coaches dragged on a bit due to the insistence of companies to take breaks every two hours. This eventually led to every coach journey being at least an hour late. I was worried that the same might be true in Peru but it turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. Peruvian coach companies don’t take breaks at all in fact. A few meals are provided as well as a selection of drinks and snacks to purchase. Obviously this means that there’s no need to step outside the coach for 21 hours, you’ve got everything you need right in your seat! Call me old fashioned but I’m pretty sure that’s how conditions like Deep Vein Thrombosis come about.
In addition to this, the waiter in charge of meals and the shop sits right at the back of the bus and is also in charge of DVDs. Unfortunately there’s no speaker at the back of the bus so he insists on putting the volume on maximum, temporarily deafening anyone in the near vicinity of what I can only assume is the “Treble Master 3000”. The woeful Spanish dubbing didn’t help. Imagine Stephen Hawking changing his language settings to Spanish and then narrating Apocalypto. It was truly awful.
Anyway, rant over. There has been a silver lining to the whole experience. I woke up this morning as we drove through the mountains with the sunrise hitting each crest and river in turn, each bend bringing a different perspective on the landscape. Having had the sunset over the barren landscape surrounding Lima I can’t believe how much the land has changed in a few hours. The lush greens and rolling streams certainly made the hardships of coach travel a lot easier. Once again I’m heading deeper into a country that I’m sure I’m going to be coming back to at some point.