BINGO! on the way to Lima, Peru

Trip Start Jul 19, 2006
Trip End Sep 19, 2006

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Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, August 14, 2006

Cruz del Sur, El Placer de Viajar en Bus. This bus was ridiculous. It was closer to a flight than any bus we had been on previously. We checked our bags at a counter (of course we could see them just put the bags outside to go under the bus, but still). The bus had two levels of seats even. It was incredible.

Brett and I were seated in what is likely the equivalent of First Class. We decided to splurge on this overnight bus, rationalizing it with the money we would save on not having to get a hostel for the night. The seats were extraordinarily spacious, and we were served immediately upon departure. This was my first first class experience ever. It felt obscene. We were separated into the front of the top level of the bus. I felt like some rich pompous jerk. At least I would finally get some sleep, though.

Some time into the drive a buzzing voice came over the speakers. The voice was accompanied by an attendant who gave us each a Bingo card. They were broadcasting a Bingo game to us! It was strange, but I decided to play as I had nothing else to do. The numbers were read first in spanish, then in english. Both were very hard to decipher because of the noise in the microphone. Brett decided not to play. I think I had an unfair advantage because I could hear the numbers twice each time, which helped a lot when both languages were so electronically butchered. My card ended up getting completely filled, but I didn't know what to do. I asked the one of the other two people who had also decided to be elitist pricks in first class, and he told me I had to go to the back of the bus where the announcer was. I peered back into the long aisle of seats that cost 3/4 of what I had paid. Was the game rigged?

I walked down the aisle with my winning ticket, only to find two other people with the same luck standing by the announcer. As it turned out, she had a normal human voice. She held out a hand with three folded pieces of paper. We each drew to see who the winner would be. As luck would have it, I actually won. Yay. What did I win? They gave me a ticket that was good for the one-way reverse bus ride from Lima to Tumbes (probably a $30 value). Not too shabby. She asked my name. On the way back to my seat, her metallic voice came back over the speakers. "Congratulaciones al ganador...Reech hard." They all clapped as I scooted my way back to the front seat palace. It seemed like this was just rubbing it in. I think I'm done with first class for a little while.

Upon arrival in Lima we took a cab to the airport. We were able to book a flight to Cusco for a couple of hours later at 1:30pm. It cost $105, but was well worth it to shave off the 20 hour bus ride that we would have to take otherwise. We were running short on time as Brett's trip was nearing an end. We were entering the last leg of our trip together: Machu Picchu. The most visited, most talked about, most famous place in all of South America. I wonder if it will have very many tourists...

Quantifiable Summary
Bus from Piura to Lima: 140soles ($45), 14 hours, well worth the sleep.
Flight from Lima to Cusco: $105, 1 hour.
Still alive.
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