Monday, February 21, 2005


Bus Travel on the Pan Am

Occasionally I want to make a blog entry, but I hestitate as I know the contents will worry my mum. But then I remember that my mum uses the internet only once in a blue moon, and so I proceed. Here we go! I forgot to write about Tito's experiences his last trip to Lima on el cheapo buses... and rather hair raising they were too. Basically, there are some safe buses that go direct to Lima. They don't stop for anything as they whizz down the Pan American Highway. They cost about 70 soles (about 10 pounds) for the twelve hour journey. Then there are the others, which stop en route to pick up passengers who just stand by the side of the Pan Am. They are two to five pounds for a 16 hour ride (and worth every penny?). As the Pan Am highway, between cities, is situated between vast ocean and vast desert and shedloads of absolutely bugger all, it is rather dangerous to pick up any old person who flags down the bus - the buses are constantly targeted by thieves. Not surprisingly, when the nearest police station is often a few hundred kilos away. Anyway, on the way down to Lima, one of the passenger windows was shattered by a stone thrown with the intention of making the bus stop. Did the bus stop? Did it eckers like. It continued at full speed after half a dozen passengers had received a glass shower. They then spent the remaining seven cold, gusty hours picking shards off clothes and out of hair. Nice! Even more excitingly, on the way back, the bus encountered an unexpected traffic jam on the Pan Am, caused by robbers who had lit a massive fire in the middle of the road. They then duly robbed all cars and buses which had to stop there. Happily, Tito's bus escaped pillage, as the bus driver wouldn't let the thieves on and the passengers shut their windows with timely haste. After waiting over an hour the police came and the traffic could pass. Needless to say, we'll be taking the priceier bus down on Saturday... and hoping for the best!

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