>Bus ride from H-E-L-L!

>Sara’s post about a horrible bus ride through the Andes in Venezuela totally inspired me to write this post. First, a photo:

This picture was taken at around 6:00 am when we finally arrived in Cuzco, Peru after about 20 hours in two different buses from Arica, Chile. And it sums up our experience on those buses.

Eight of us set out in February 2007 for a two week trip to Peru and Bolivia. As I remember, the first bus that took us from Tacna to Arequipa was uneventful. We stopped in Arequipa and bought food. (Mistake!*) The next leg of our trip to Cusco was going to be all at night, so we all tried to settle down and sleep.

I awoke to my friend L. vomiting, soon followed by R. I handed them all of my plastic bags to have on hand when they needed them next. No sooner had I done that then I started feeling SOOO strange. My head started tingling and my stomach was doing flip flops. Just in time, I grabbed one of the bags from R. who was right across the aisle from me and puked my guts out. Luckily, I only vomited once, but I spent the rest of the bus ride with a bag in front of my face, feeling as if I was going to lose even more of the food I ate in Arequipa.

Poor R. and L. They vomited the whole way. We almost ran out of plastic bags for them. At once point, R managed to step on a bag of vomit and get it all over the floor of the bus. And somehow she vomited on her pants, so she had to take them off. It was really awkward when a young Peruvian man entered the bus and she had to sit next to him (somehow we didn’t all have seats next to each other). She was very smart and fashioned a kind of skirt out of her fleece. I feel SO bad for the person who had to clean that bus. We definitely left our mark.

Anyway, I have never been so happy to get off a bus. Our wonderful hostel met us at the bus station and brought us to the place where we would spend the next few days. They gave us coca tea and breakfast. Thank goodness. After a little bit of rest, we were ready to hit the sights of Cusco. On all subsequent bus rides, we were pretty nervous about how our stomachs were going to handle it, but luckily nothing even came close to that horror.

*Two months later, during a trip to San Pedro de Atacama, the director of our study abroad program told us that it is best to climb altitudes on an empty stomach, especially while on a bus. Um, why didn’t we know about this in Ferburary??


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