The bus ride from hell!

South America
December 5th 2011
Published: December 5th 2011
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Oh man let me tell you about the epic bus journey Chev and I just undertook. We are trying to stay on a very cheap budget as I have told you before so we decided to take the bus from Bogota to Quito. The bus from Bogota to the boarder was suppose to be 25 hours and then from there another 5 hour bus ride to Quito, so 30 hours by bus, plus time to get across the boarder and to the guesthouse in Quito. We had prepared mentally, physically and emotionally for this trip. We had water, snacks, movies, sleeping pills and blankets. Should've gone smoothly if not quickly. We caught the 10:30 am bus on Monday and things started to go wrong right away. The bus left 45 minutes late. No big's Colombia, things run slower there. We drove along and the first few hours flew by. Then Chev and i figured out how the driver was staying awake for such a long drive. He had the aide of a certain Colombian export. We weren't sure if we should be thankful of terrified. We continued moving along when the traffic started and our bus driver's sense of direction failed. We're pretty sure we took a wrong turn and then ended up on a crazy back road. Now the roads in Colombia are mostly two lane roads, with double yellow lines being merely a suggestion. At times the roads were so tight with trucks trying maneuver past each other that the vehicles in opposite lanes were moving an inch at a time until the trucks, or buses could make the turn. The drivers are very skilled, albeit a bit impatient and the use of the horn is essential in the whole business. There was also the added issues of lanes being closed due to construction and therefore traffic on,y being let through one direction at a time. The traffic and road closures even caused us to stop on the road long enough for the drive to turn off the engine a couple times. All of this lead to us being 10 hours behind schedule! We spent 33 hours on our first bus getting to Ipiales and then got through customs at 9:30 at night, half an hour before they close on the Colombian side. We had great luck finding cabs and when we got to the bus state in Tulcan, Ecuador the bus was leaving for Quito in ten minutes. We hoped on and made it to Quito in the five hours we were told it would take and finally got checked in to our hostel and were in bed by 3:40 Wed morning. So glad to be here but definitely contemplating flying from now on. It was certainly an adventure. And we did got to watch four really bad movies in Spanish, three with English subtitles, I read an entire book cover to cover on our first us ride and we got to see the beautiful and surreal landscape of Colombia so it wasn't a total loss.


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