Return to Palpa
11/08/2010 - 12/08/2010 12 °C
Arrived back in Palpa yesterday - 12th August after a 15 hour bus ride from Cusco. Sounds exhausting - but not for Rob and I. We travel bus cama. The word cama is spanish for bed. These buses are double deckers. The top deck has spacious comfortable seating which reclines more than any Australian bus or plane. For Eleanor and Alice the cost was $36. Downstairs is luxury class where the seats recline almost horizontal. Rob and I paid the exta $16 so that we could sleep comfortably. The seats are like large arm chairs - 2 on one side of the aisle and 1 on the other. There are usually only 3 or 4 rows of seats so you feel like a VIP. The driver has a huge cabin at the front with a bed for use by the second driver. The back is luggage storage.
Bus cama is more comfortable than international plane travel economy class. And it feels like a plane flight because during the trip the bus attendant comes round with meals - sometimes! (We have travelled on several of these buses now and never seem to get the food right. If we pack food they bring us meals and if we don't they don't feed us. Or as on the bus from La Paz we were served for breakfast a stale bread roll and about 100mls of very sweet tea and then for lunch - 1 small banana, 4 chocolate biscuits. 1 lollipop on a stick, and some fruit cordial in a plastic bag without a straw.) At some bus terminals while passengers are getting off, street food sellers will jump on with baskets of food and softdrinks for sale. Or they stand outside the bus shouting their wares and use buckets on poles to pass food up to the windows of the top deck. Sometimes passengers (locals who are in the know) will leap off the bus at a stop and grab a snack from a road side stall.
Bus Cama is also how we travelled from Santiago to Peru. We could happily have stayed on the bus all the way to Colombia. Rob is actually thinking of writing a book - "Around Peru by Bus''. Anyone interested in being a sponsor?
Many of the highways we have travelled are newly paved (within the last 10 years) and are in better condition than a lot of Australian highways. Very few Peruvians own a car so the vehicles on the highways are mainly buses and trucks. In the towns there are mini buses or vans (the local public transport), myriad taxis, and a few motorbikes. Some towns have mototaxis (very cute and fun to ride in) which are 3 wheeled motorbikes with a roof and walls (or not) which can take 3 passengers. Not that anyone in Peru worries about load limits in taxis. In Puno we were collected from the bus terminal by the hostel owner. Her husband is a taxi driver with a very small station wagon. Rob sat in the front and the 3 kids (actually adults now) and I were in the back seat. In the boot was all our luggage and the hostel owner! On very rare occasions a taxi driver has asked us to put a seat belt on in the front seat. That's not possible in the back with 4 people but ther usually aren't seatbelts in the back anyway.
Just realised that this is a slight digression from the topic. There's so much to tell. Hopefully over the next few weeks with a more leisurely travel itinerary and access to better internet at my sister's house, I'll be able to wite a few more blogs. And eventually we'll upload some photos.
Lachlan flies to Europe today for some travel before starting uni in Glasgow in September. So our Fleetwood family adventure has come to an end. It has been a truly amazing and very special few weeks. We will base ourselves in Palpa with my sister and her family for the next few weeks, taking short trips to other places. We hope to absorb some more Peruvian culture and learn some more spanish