The Price of Oil ...
Puno Travel Blog› entry 7 of 8 › view all entries
I´m quite willing to rave about the standard of Chillean buses, but I´ve yet to extend that nicety towards the Peruvian counterparts. Let me explain the convuluted adventure that had me board my first Peruvian bus ...
In Arica I alight from the ovenight bus from Calama, and am immediately surrounded by the usual taxi drivers plying their wares. One of them asks if I want to go to Arequipa, and I perk up. Me and a couple of other girls from the bus all buy our tickets and get led out to the ´taxis´that are supposed to take us over the boarder. Taxi? Broke down Chevvy, more like. Sharing rather apprehensive glances, we all jump in, and make it across the boarder with no misshapes. Once we arrive in Tacna, however, things start to go downhill abruptly.
To get to Arequipa, you have to pass through a town that has a bridge just before it. Diesel protesters have taken the bridge over, and travel to Arequipa is thus made impossible. Tired, grumpy and thoroughly fed up, we band together, and as one of them speaks fluent Spanish manage to land on our feet with a ticket to Puno, instead. This is another overnight trip, which makes two in a row. It´s not overly pleasant sleeping on even the Chillean super buses, but this bus we take is cramped, has no toilet and is specifically designed for going over rough terrain. Which we will be doing for 9 of the 11 hours. There was a guy at the travel agency who we made firm friends with, and he took us out to the centre of Tacna, and showed us around. Tacna is very pretty, and their Cathedral is something else; I have many touristy pics of us all posing outside it. They seem to have quite a thing for statues as well, mostly very patriotic and themed toward the Chillean/ Peruvian war.
The times I wake up, we either seem to be stopped, reversing or inching our way around hairpin bends, with solid rock on one side, and sheer cliff on the other. I think we may have broken down at one point, too. I´m just glad it was dark enough not to see anything, and I was tired enough to eimply not care. Several sources reccomend avoiding overnight buses in Peru, and I´m now firmly on their side.
What I´ve seen so far of Peru has been quite beautiful. I´m quite happy to leave the desert behind, and driving around LakeTiticaca in the rising sun was beautiful.
We arrived safely in Puno & the 5 Isreali girls and I banded together once more, and found ourselves a nice hostel that had hot water, which succeeded in washing all our aches and pains away. After two nights on buses and in the same clothes, there is nothing quite as blissfull as hot water and a bar of soap.