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Monday 8 Mar 2010
Lima, Peru

Luxurious bus travel!

The plan was to get to Nazca by bus, a fairly long-ish journey of about 8 hours, and with two main transport options: cheap non-airconditioned bus companies like Flores, or for double the price a huge double-decker Mercedes behemoth with reclining seats with companies like CIAL. I decided I'd try out the cheaper one since the trip wasn't going to be an overnighter, plus 7 hours wasn't too bad. Predictably the cheaper bus had a rather lax scheduling system so, after trekking over to the Flores station I was told in no uncertain terms that there was only 1 bus for Nazca per day.. at 6am! This is despite the Flores website saying they have a bus every hour!

"Fine! CIAL it is!"... I wasn't going to stretch this out any longer, as it was hot, and this situation smelled earily familiar. "When in doubt (or extremely agitated) just shut up and pay up for the expensive option" I always say.

And wow was I glad I chose the latter! Not only was the huge CIAL bus terminal pristine and airconditioned with efficient staff AND punctual buses, but when I went to pay for my ticket and was given the option of upgrading to 1st class for only 2 euro more, this entitled me to enter the VIP lounge where I was waited on hand and foot and given free drinks and snacks while watching the huge plasma TV. "Nice! Now I wonder what the bus is like!"

The bus was pure lush. Literally a hotel on wheels. I wisely chose to get a seat in the single-seat aisle, rather than the double-seat aisle as this ensured no sleepy person would choose to lay their head in me lap. The seats reclined back ALMOST vertically.. well about 150 in total, and were made of soft SOFT leather. The bus suspension was excellent and we were FAST. I'd heard so many good things about the long-distance sleeper busesin South America from my Brazillian friends back home, and now I under stood. Despite it being a day trip from 3-9pm, I actually fell asleep despite myself. Apparently the 2nd class seats don't recline quite as fully, but seriously, when upgrading to 1st class costs only a few euro more, you'd be mad not to go for it! We even got food served to us... Chinese stir-fried chicken no-less!

On an aside note, Peruvians are MAD about Chicken. Pretty much every 2nd restaurant (or practically EVERY restaurant in Lima) I've seen here specialises in boiling/frying/broiling/charcoaling/slicing/dicing our feathered-friends. It's actually really hard to find a place that serves honest to goodness beef steaks or even fish!

One small thing I would mention which I found rather bizarre was the movie the onboard TV was playing throughout the whole trip. It was the most bizarre thing I've seen in a while: basically a Mexican drama about a ludicrious love triangle between 1 slutty girl and 2 men, and she would constantly sway between them, and that pretty much sums up the whole plot. The only thing is, there was no dialog, it was all done through mariachi singing at some bizarre club. Basically guy A would sing to the girl on stage.. she would fall in love with him, cut to the other guy throwing back liqour then taking to the stage himself and singing to her. She falls for him instead. And so on and so forth... I couldn't stop laughing throughout the whole trip! But to be honest if I was on a longer bus trip I think I might go insane... thankfully my MP3 player soothed my ears somewhat.

So eventually we arrived in Nazca... I hadn't really had my heart set on any particular hotel in town, so when a bloke came up to me and said that he had a room with private bathroom and TV, plus internet and breakfast, for only 40 soles a night (that's about 10 euro folks!), I couldn't resist. The hotel "El Mirador" was decent enough, plus looked out onto the main Plaza de Armas (every Peruvian town seems to have one of these) so I was happy enough. The guy then offered to sell me a flight above the lines for the next morning... "Wow this is all happening so fast" I thought, but when I managed to haggle him down to 200 soles for a 3 person flight lasting 40 minutes I knew I had a good deal, so I went with it.

All of this in the space of about 30 mins... not bad, but it was late and I needed sleep Laughing

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South America Twenty Ten

Travel blog by peterforan



After previously dipping my toes in Latin America via trips to Cuba and Central America, it's time to go for the big splash! 3 1/2 months to take in as much as I can, armed with little more than my camera, laptop and a few dodgy Spanish phrases.

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