Night bus lovin'.

Trip Start Sep 28, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Peru  ,
Friday, May 4, 2012

I've been trying to take a bus to Arequipa as early as possible, but I’m informed they only go at night. This sounds pretty dubious to me, but there is’nt much I can do about it, considering I’d already booked the ticket.  Something must have been lost in translation.  When I said; first thing in the morning, he heard; last thing at night. Nonetheless I find myself with a ticket for 9pm and a whole day to kill.

Of course this is something I’m becoming especially adept at, and it scares me just how I intend to return to society when this journey draws to a close.  I consider driving an ATV in the desert, but it’s quite expensive and charged by the hour.  I’ll wait till I head east for that experience.   It crosses my mind to do the sand boarding again, considering there are a few more attractive girls on the afternoon session, and I can kid on I’m a pro.  In the end I settle to take some well-deserved rest and occupy myself with some life administration.

I pretty much don’t talk to anyone the whole day, and you have no idea how wonderful that is.  All too often I’m busy in my own world, and I have some well-meaning youngster battering me with questions about who I am and where I’ve been.  A friend warned me about this, that eventually I will become so jaded with in-your-face happy travelers freshly on the road I'll want to get Camp Crystal Lake on them.  I screwed my face up in scorn, as I’m always happy to meet new people. Yet sometimes being alone is the best thing in the world; especially if I've eaten something dodgy and a rat has crawled up my arse and died.

With one eye on the clock I sit and watch the sun change position in the sky.  By the time it disappears, the town is coming out to play, and I’m heading to the taxi rank, the usual travel alone nerves kicking in. This is always a good thing, as you can often become complacent when you’re too comfortable.  That’s when bad things happen.  Night buses, taxi’s and terminals after dark are never the safest places to be, so I’m on super high alert as usual.  Apart from being the butt of a joke between the driver and his friends, it passes without incident,and before long I’m boarding the Tespa overnight to Arequipa.

I’ve mentioned before the efficiency and all round excellent operation these companies exude.  Sure you’ll get the odd cowboy outfit, but for the most part the service and comfort is top notch.  You have to give your fingerprint before you board, and a smiling man commits your mugshot to a video camera.  I can only presume this is for when the vehicle goes off a cliff they can identify the bodies.  Thoughtful.

And off the cliff we nearly go.  I’m finding it hard to sleep, and slip in and out of semi consciousness.  On one such occasion we are taking hairpin bends at stupid speeds, and I’ve snapped out of my poor slumber to find I’m gripping the thigh of the large Peruvian man to my left.  Whether he was asleep I know not, but I quickly pretend to be in a dream world, fighting the obvious terror keeping me awake.  I don’t recall many times on this trip when I genuinely thought I was going to die, but that was right up there.  Second only to trying to kiss a Lama.  It is with great relief that I can report we made it in one piece, with only a slight hint of homosexuality. 
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