The turbulence in our stomachs, caused by the aerial view of the Nazca Lines, is slowly fading. We even treated ourselves to tasty pancakes for lunch. Now, along with all our stuff, we are waiting at the station for the bus to Lima.
A bit of worry dawned in our eyes when after an hour of waiting, the bus was still nowhere to be seen. This is nothing new in these parts of the world, but in this case we were promised to be notified in case of a delay. It was a special bus, we had reserved the seats way back at La Paz. The bus is something like Hop On-Hop Off, but it runs long distances and includes a guide and a stop or two for sightseeing.
It is an hour late and the last regular bus for Lima has departed. We are already making plans to go back to the hostel, take a nap and buy tickets for a direct bust tomorrow, since we haven’t paid for the special one.
Out of the blue from the near dusty corner a guy comes running, asking if we are waiting for Lima. He apologizes for the delay, explains it was caused by floods on the way here. Whatever. Finally we got on the bus, it was empty except for the guide and a boy from China. They had promised the boy to take him to the tower in Nazca to see some of the lines. We stopped there and not to miss a chance, we went along with him in the tower. The view is underwhelming after having seen the lines from an airplane.
We continued on, the driver acted as if something was chasing him, made several risky overtakings. We were informed that we’ll be passing through the oasis town Huacachina, where we had to change buses. We were almost nodding off when we arrived. There waited a real surprise, the bus for Lima had left and we were effectively stranded there. The bus company suggested two options: to send us with a later bus of another company or to pay our night stay in a hotel and we can take the evening bus at 18:30 the next day. It was 20:30. The options were inconvenient, the tension was rising. Our guide was a sympathetic guy and decided to sort things out himself when he realized our plans were about to be ruined. He gave us his own room and went to sleep somewhere else. As a result, we didn’t have to pay for a room, not because of the company, but thanks to our guide.
|We hadn’t eaten dinner at a disco in a while|
We use our time by having dinner and drinking a beer to calm our nerves. This is the party central in the local desert, we ate at a disco. The shadow of a huge dune can be seen behind the hotels, it is the local landmark that attracts a lot of tourists-sandboarders. We wake up at 6:00 to take photos of the dune. Then we go with our guide to buy bus tickets for the earliest possible bus to Lima.
The whole time our guide argues on the phone with the company. They insist we pay the whole sum for the bus. If we take into account that they didn’t pay our stay at a hotel we can conclude that they even saved some money, because the normal buses are cheaper than theirs. The nerve! Not only they left us stranded in the middle of the road, didn’t offer any service, but still want us to pay them! It was time for us to play good cop and bad cop. Loudly and irritably we informed them that we agree to pay them the whole sum for the ticket, provided that they’d have to give us a receipt, which we’d present to the police and sue them for ruining our trip and asking for money on top of that.
As expected the loud voices and keywords such as police, suing and complaints attracted the attention of everyone in the waiting room. The guide understood us, but the representatives of the company seemed unable to. As the saying goes, when you work for idiots, you have only yourself to blame. Finally the guide himself got angry, said he’d get us our tickets and send us to Lima where we could visit the company’s office if we wanted. Of course, we told him about our lack of enthusiasm to go to the office and said our goodbyes.
When we were told that we were free not to pay for the whole lot of nothing we received, we thanked and vacated the area as fast as possible. The end result was this – our plans got a little messed, we arrived at Lima later but for free, we stopped along the way at Huacachina and saw the dune above the oasis, a heaven for sandboarders. If we had kept our mouths shut, we’d have paid a lot. To get the happy ending you have to insist on your rights.
We are already in Lima, visiting our host from couchsurfing. We are going around the beaches – a little relaxation after the events of the previous days. Lima is beautiful in summer. That evening our host and his girlfriend threw a party and invited some friends. There we met a boy who was looking for advice, because he was planning to travel outside of Peru for the first time. He wanted to visit Asia for 4 months and we were glad to fill his head with ideas and tips. Now he has so many, he won’t know what to do with them.
The next day we made the round of unknown to us neighborhoods and tasted marvelous food, which was served by Jano. He was also our surf guide and we tried the sport for the first time. We liked it, we’d have to try it a second time, why not a third.
The journey went full circle, we started in the summer on a beach with no suntan in Rio de Janeiro and we finished the summer on a beach with a lot of tan in Lima. We hope we’ll meet again, America Latina! Hasta Luego!
This article was brought to you in English by Marta Petrova.
Do you like this post?
Travel together with us and get instant updates on our Facebook page.