What a Journey !!!

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July 13th 2009
Published: July 18th 2009
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1: What a Journey 31 secs
What a journey !! Getting to Arequipa from Puno was quite an event !! Before we'd left Puno some of the other passengers seemed to think I was an employee of the bus company, after I helped an old lady get her bags onto the bus I then had to find her seat, an old man then expected the same service, followed by another guy who thought I was the conductor !! The 10am bus left at about 10h20 - which it later turned out was pretty close to the schedule by Peruvian standards, and for the first 1 or 2 km had the passenger door wide open. Things were then smooth until we got to Juliaca where it was bedlam. At the first stop we were already well behind schedule but sat for about 15 minutes while dozens of people selling corn, trout, cheese, bread, empenadas, water, soft drinks, cigarettes and all sorts of other stuff jostled with passengers trying to find their seats. After things calmed down a couple of passengers decided they needed to get off to buy something, the bus driver then decided it was time to leave - before they'd got back on, leaving a small girl screaming for her mother who was one of those who got off !! after stopping to let them back on we traveled a few hundred metres and stopped again so that the driver could try to sell the empty seats, this took another 20 or 30 minutes. By this time we were well over an hour late and the locals were getting restless. After getting through the narrow streets of Juliaca we were on our way for a 5 hour journey, but there was more to come. At one of the remote stops a woman got on selling plastic bags of food, we couldn't see what it was but bought one anyway - it turned out to be hot meat, potatoes and corn, and was pretty good !!! A bit later a pregnant woman got on the bus, I guess going to Arequipa hospital. After about an hour she was having to lie down in the aisle and was obviously in pain, I don't know if she'd gone into labour or if she had a medical problem, whatever it was the driver then started driving like a bat out of hell blowing his horn and charging through towns and villages. On the outskirts of Arequipa we found a police station and transferred her to a police car with every person on the bus feeling the need to watch, advise and generally get in the way. We eventually got to Arequipa which, thankfully is a beautiful colonial town with warm weather :-)


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