No more 20+ hour bus rides!

13 Nov

WOW. It was one interesting and very LONG journey, but we are finally back in Lima, Peru. The 2500 Km journey up the Pacific coast was painful, but we managed. We took a 4 hour flight that had 2 stops all the way up to Arica, in Northern Chile. I’ve never been on a plane that landed and took off three times before – let alone in just 4 hours, so that was an experience.

Once we got into Arica, we took a shuttle to our hostel and slept for 8 hours, ate breakfast and caught another taxi to the international bus station. When we got out of the taxi, there were a bunch of men asking us if we wanted to go to Tacna. It’s really common to take a shared taxi with strangers across the border, so we got the best price and Stef and I squeezed into a car with 3 other people plus the driver. Not particularly comfortable, but it only took 1.5 hours to drive to Tacna and the border crossing went smoother than if we were in a bus.

Once in Tacna, we had to wait at the bus station for almost 3 hours before our scheduled departure. Cruz del Sur is a major bus company and it’s considered the safest here in Peru, but the tour agency recommended CIAL for 20 soles cheaper (less than $10). I was a little reluctant, but I knew Stef was on a tighter budget so I agreed to go with CIAL. We payed the tickets in full and then it was time to wait…

I found a little internet cafe and did my usual online business – facebook, email, searching flights to Thailand, etc. Once I got bored, I decided to look up the CIAL bus company and I was horrified! The whole first page had travel advisories and blogs about recent crashes and tons of people claiming it’s an awful bus company. My heart started pounding… I knew something wasn’t right from the start. I ran back downstairs and told Stefanie all about it. We made up some lie in order to switch our tickets to Cruz del Sur and thankfully, it worked! We had to pay a 15 soles penalty, but you can’t put a price on safety. I felt much better once we had Cruz Del Sur tickets in our hands.

The bus ride was suppose to take 18 hours, but ended up lasting 22 hours. We had to stop so many times for police check points and once to change a tire. I was so annoyed. I wanted to be in Lima already! Normally, it wouldn’t bother me too much, but the anticipation kills and every little interruption is extra irritating. Anyways, we made it in one piece and that’s what counts.

We arrived in Lima yesterday afternoon. We’ve been shopping for last minute gifts and taking it easy. I really wanted to buy an alpaca blanket since Cusco and I found a super soft, colourful blanket in Lima at the local market. Yay! I’ll be extra cozy on the flight.

My flight is at 8am tomorrow, but I need to be at the airport 3 hours before. Supposedly, it takes a long time to go through security, which means an early wake up and a sleepy-eyed good-bye to Stefanie. It’s going to feel weird leaving her, especially alone but I know she will do just fine.

Next blog will be posted from CANADA! Ah!

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2 Responses to “No more 20+ hour bus rides!”

  1. Jackie March 27, 2012 at 4:00 PM #

    Oh my gosh I want to go to Peru!!! Your blog is amazing Melissa!!! You’ve been to so many places..I’m jealous lol. Post more soon:)

    • MelissaToandFro March 27, 2012 at 11:13 PM #

      Thanks Jackie!

      Well, as I like to believe, there’s always time to travel 🙂 Peru was an amazing experience. It’s where I first volunteered abroad and it’s also where I learned Spanish. Definitely recommend it!

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