Saturday, August 12, 2006

6 hours on a bus back to Lima.

My last morning in Nazca began as all the other ones - with breakfast and then meeting up with the guide.

Fredy showed up on his bicycle at 7:30am to escort me to the bus station. We stood on the curb outside the hotel's front door and literally, just crossed the street. In the photo below, you can see the hotel on the right and the bus station on the left. That's right, the bus station is just across the street from the hotel!



The bus station manager let us in. Fredy confirmed that the bus to Lima would in fact be arriving, he handed me my ticket and we bid each other goodbye.



I checked the bus ticket and realized that the bus was not scheduled to arrive until 8:30am so I had an hour to wait. In Peruvian time, that actually meant I had more than a hour to wait! To kill time, I chatted with the station manager. Turns out his entire family is involved in running his station. I handed him my cameara and he snapped this photo. His wife is sitting on the far left and I'm sitting next to his granddaughter. Thanks to the granddaughter's hard work, this bus station was about the cleanest station I had been to in Peru - even the bathroom was spotless! While I was waiting, the manager was helping me to learn Spanish - he would say a short phrase in English then say it in Spanish and then have me repeat it in Spanish. If I could only have him as a full time tutor, I would be speaking Spanish in no time!



The doubledecker bus rolled into the station around 8:20a and a whole bunch of bleary eyed people stepped off to stretch their legs and use the bathroom facilities. I got on the bus and found my seat. About 15 minutes later, everyone else had also boarded and the bus pulled out of the station. I waved goodbye to the kind station manager as the bus passed through the gate.

It was going to be a long ride back to Lima so I leaned back into the seat and relaxed.

As with the bus ride from Lima to Nazca, on this return trip, a movie was popped into the DVD player and soon everyone was looking up at the TV screen watching a Garfield movie dubbed into Spanish.

Then, I noticed the bus hostess preparing to serve breakfast. That's right, we got served breakfast - with our choice of either coffee or tea! I saved the cookies and kiwi/mango drink for later and just munched on the piece of break with bottled water to wash it down.



Since I had arrived in Nazca in the dark, this was my first opportunity to see the surrounding countryside. It was what I had seen from the air - high plains desert interspersed with farm land.




Along the way, I was reminded of the poverty in Peru.



Somewhere along the way, the bus pulled over next to an orange fruit stand and several passengers got off to buy bags of fruit. Soon the bus was filled with the wonderful scent of orange peel.



The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful - we passed one small town after another. I got a bit bored and started snapping photos of political campaign signs that are painted on walls in every town. Oddly enough, you start to see a pattern if you pay attention to the signs. Here are four signs from four different towns. Can you see the pattern?




Give up? From I can tell, every political "poster" is painted in red and blue - no matter who the candidate is, what position he/she is running for and what town they're running in. There needs to be a candidate with more creativity so that they stand out!

Okay, taking pictures of political signs. I admit it. I was getting bored.

The rest of the ride back to Lima was very uneventful. Unlike all my other arrivals though, I was not greeted by anyone when I got off the bus. The hotel is on some suburban street that no driver seems to be able to find. So, I negotiated with a taxi driver to take me to the Larco Mar shopping center which was the shopping center that I visited on my second day in Lima. I knew how to walk back to the hotel from there.

10 soles later, I arrived at Larco Mar. I started walking back to the hotel - it felt good to stretch my legs after the six hour bus ride from Nazca. A few blocks into the walk, I came to a coffee shop with empanadas displayed in the window. I bought two empanadas de pollo and asked the cashier to warm them up for me. There's something about the smell of potatoes encased in pastry that I find irresistible!

A short walk later and I was back at the hotel. I checked in, retrieved my backpack from storage and made my way to my room - which just happened to be the same room that I was in when I first arrived into Lima!

I had no desire to go outside so I freshened up a little and ate the two empanadas, cookies and juice. I then headed to the pc's on the second floor lobby to pen an email to GAP to ask them how I could get in contact with Khan - I wanted to thank him for coordinating my trip to Nazca. At one point, I looked up and spotted.....of all people, Kim who was part of my tour group. I called out her name and she came down to see me. Andrea joined us a few minutes later and we traded notes on how we had spent the last three days. They had had a wonderful trip to Puno (Lake Titicaca) and had returned to Lima along with Simon. They were planning to meet up with Simon at 7pm that night. I told them I would join them.

Later on that evening, I met up with Kim, Andrea, Simon and his mother who had made the trek from Cuzco to Lima to purchase items for a healing center that she was planning to open in the near future. Meeting Simon's mom, I could see where he got his free spirit, soft spokeness and gentleness from. We all had a nice chat but I think everyone was a bit tired - travel does wear you out. We snapped this one last photo and said our goodbyes for the second time - from left to right, it's Kim, Andrea, Simon and I. Fate does have a way of bringing people together. I went back to my room, finished packing and went to bed.

I left the following day for home.