Saturday, July 2, 2011

22 hours, 2 friends, 2 countries

I have arrived in Peru!

It was of course an interesting adventure, one I wished I had a friend to hold my hand through.. but it is me against the road again, soltera & free as a bird to do whatever I please!

I woke up on Thursday morning and decided it was time for me to leave Dana & her family and head to Peru. I couldn´t get Peru off of my mind.. there gets to be a point, where you´ve been in a country for too long.. and even though you haven´t seen everything you want to see, you just know when the time is to leave.

I found my time, told Dana & the fam.. gave huge hugs and many thanks for giving me a home in Ecuador for 2 weeks.. and left for my one hourish trip to Riobamba.

The road was... well.. let´s just say, that it needed renovation! And I needed someone to hold my hand!

Thankfully, I arrived in Riobamba! And I wished I had more time to spend there!! Everyone in the city seemed super nice, and the people there looked beautiful!! I swear, the majority of people I saw walking around were gorgeous.. and it seemed like a nice city.. not sure there is much to do there though!

My ‘direct’ bus to Guayaquil was supposed to take 5-6 hours.. somehow the bus that stopped every 5-minutes to let people on and off, the entire journey, made it to Guayaquil in FOUR hours. Now, I was left twittling my thumbs at the ginormous Terminal Terestre in Guayaquil.. luckily they had internet cafes, clothing shops, and McDonalds! What a better time to need comfort food than when you’re about to finish the last and most unknowing leg of your 22 hour journey?!

I was told by who knows how many people, including my guidebook that the border crossing between Peru and Ecuador was more than dangerous. THAT is, if you do it on your own and not on an international bus that takes you from one city in Ecuador into a different city IN Peru… apparently if you decide to take a bus to a border down and taxi your way to the other side (you CAN walk, but it’s super far through no man’s land and with a bunch of hastlers) you can land yourself in a whole lot of trouble.. i.e. having a taxi take you down a random dirt road and demanding a specific amount of cash from you, I even met a girl who her friend had been picked up by the police because they told her it was too dangerous, and then after they said she needed to pay them for such a service along with being all flirtatious and touching her legs… basically, nothing good comes from the Peru/Ecuador border crossing. Then when two guys tell you that they did the border crossing together and it scared the crap out of them… I hardcore opted for the international bus!

While waiting in line for the bus to come.. it was late.. a 50-year old Peruvian lady adopted me.. at least, I like to think she did! Her name was Luc, and even though my Spanish is horrible, she continued to talk to me. She told me about her family, her favorite things about Peru, and talked to me about what I’ve been doing the past few months and why on earth I would do it alone. Then, when the bus finally arrived, we had to separate because our seats were on two different parts of the bus :(.

OF COURSE, the guy that I had noticed being the ‘class clown’ of the bunch while we waited in line is sitting next to me! Geeze, what did I do wrooooong?! First, I get on the bus to find I have an aisle seat.. after asking for a window.. then he hesitates next to me while looking for his number.. and OF COURSE… he says the magical word, Permisso! GAG!

So, I soak it up.. put my big girl pants on, and know exactly where this is probably headed. We start talking, he says he doesn’t know any English.. even though every now and then when I needed a translation, he magically knew the words IN ENGLISH! Anyways, we talked about absolutely everything he wanted to talk about…his life seemed interesting as well, his father being Italian and his mother a Peruvian… then the convo of course leads to the…

In Spanish:
Byron: You’re such a nice beautiful girl, you shouldn’t be traveling by yourself, it isn’t safe.. I’d like to come with you to Mancora so you aren’t alone.

Me: HA!

No, thanks.

Byron: You don’t understand. Uummm… ummm… ::thinking how to say it in a different way:: Do you have a dictionary?

Me: Yes, hang on.

Byron: :::finds the word, undertake.. the word connected to it is attack:::

Me: :::thinking.. gotta love those direct translations, and the second word is obviously a sign from God.. although a sign wasn’t needed for me to understand the creepiness of the situation::: NO, thanks for the offer.. but I enjoy being alone.. I have been with many people traveling the past month, and Peru is for me to travel by myself.

… welp, that pretty much stops the conversation… I blow up my pillow… and take myself to sleep land.

We finally arrive to the Ecuador side of the ’24 hour’ border crossing at 1AM…as we walk to the office to find no one in there.. and people begin sitting down (they’ve obviously been a part of this circus act before).. I find Luc again, and she tells me that they probably won’t open until 3AM.. I chuckle, mainly because I’m praying I didn’t hear her correctly.

I run and find the bathroom.. immediately entering the office of the crossing I pray my nose to stop working.. the whole thing smells like a sewer… walk into the bathroom, there’s a man peeing with the door open.. obviously that’s the men’s.. open another door, nope that’s an office.. a lady points to the room I just walked into and says that’s the only bathroom… the man is done doing his business in the dark.. I walk in,, GREAT, the light doesn’t work.. strap my bookbag to the front of me, find my spare toilet paper, DROP my handsantizer on the soaking wet floor… FABULOUS… angry, I slam the door and squat in darkness, wishing I had dropped it low a few extra times on the dance floor to make my legs stronger :). I debate whether to just leave the sanitizer or not.. but decide it’s worth its weight in gold and wrap it up in toilet paper (no soap in the ‘bathroom’ of course).

Luc and I chat it up for TWO hours longer and exchange phone numbers.. I’ll definitely be calling this lady when I arrive in Lima in August.

We finish all of the border humbo-jumbo at 4:30AM, and arrive in Mancora, Peru at 6:30AM… groggily I get off the bus, yell at taxi drivers to stop talking to me while the driver looks EVERYWHERE for my bag, and start walking…..

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