Friday, June 1, 2012

Stuck in Sapecho

After the 2 days jungle tour, we got our bus tickets to La Paz for the festival on 2 June.

It was an all day parade to celebrate Señor Jesús del Gran Poder, supposingly in honor of 'lord the great power', but turned out to be showing off how rich you are with the fancy costumes and getting drunk all day long.
One hour delay, we finally see our bus in the Rurrenabaque bus terminal. It was already 10pm. Good to see that it's really a bus not a cargo van nor truck, but a real tour bus, so we would be able to lie down on our own seat.

The seat, however, was not that comfortable, I was able to lie down in some 120 degree but there was no place to stretch my legs. Under the seat in front was blocked and there was also a panel on the side, so I was unable to stretch my legs on the aisle neither.

The road was quite bumpy, we were throwing up and down, right and left all night long. I felt more like a roller coaster than a bus and was holding Adley's hand tight, with the thought of a YouTube death bus ride that our Chilean friend once mentioned. A bus driver somewhere in Bolivia was driving on a narrow mountain road, and ask the passengers all went down, knowing the risk. But then he ended up falling into the valley.

It was dawn and we arrived in a small village, Sapecho. The bus stopped. We thought it was a toilet break, but we found there was a chain barricading the road, with a sign saying, 'Atencion: Corte de Ruta 0600-1600 Lunes a Sabado', 'Corte' means cut or disengagement...which is bad. Are they really closing the road for a whole day!? We just arrived at 6:30am and if only the bus had not delayed, we might catch their curfew. We now need to wait 10 hours doing nothing.
We saw some passengers and driver surrounding the road workers, discussing and then a lady exclaimed that 'i have a job!' but seems nothing could be done, we have to wait! Everyone then scattered in the small village, when some shops was opening, people bought some mandarin, toothbrush, toothpaste and had breakfast. The workers who took care of the chain, only let cars into the town but not out.

We had some breakfast and tried to watch a movie on the computer, but suddenly music on the bus was turned was only 8:40am, more hours to go. And the music stopped again. And on. We kept watching a magician version of Romeo and Juliet, 'The Illusionist' with our headset.

Then, we decided to take a walk to town and around. We checked with the driver, who confirmed we could only move at 4pm, so we start walking.

We found a phone to call our CS host in La Paz about the delay, then found a pharmacy and got some mosquito repellent (the bites from the jungle and these few days are so itchy and its now swollen), then a store for juice and settle down writing our blog. This gonna be a quiet and relaxing afternoon. We was 15 minutes walk away from the bus, hope it won't suddenly leave us.

We returned at around 1:15pm and other passengers said we could have left at 12:30pm but was waiting for us. We rush to the bus and everyone said 'Vamos! Vamos!' (Let's go!) only to find that there are a few more passengers yet unreturned.

We strolled to a nearby store to have a quick fried chicken rice with banana and potato. (B$11). We were chatting with a Japanese from Brazil who could only speak Spanish and Portuguese. He was interested in Chinese eating frog and snake. Then a family of 3 returned finally and we rushed back to the bus.

We left at 2:30pm eventually, but only after 7 minutes, we are stuck on a bridge again. A stone was blocking the road and the workers have to move it away when we could move on.

Just another 1km, the bus stopped again, the construction was blocking the road, it was eventually at 4pm that they clear the block and let us go again. (AT: even the truck before us could pass the previous gate at 11:30am but it still had to wait here till 4pm, I would rather wait in the town with food and juice instead of at the middle of nowhere).

At 6pm, we arrived a town named Caranavi and was told we could have dinner until 8:30pm! It's a small town, with all the eatery or street food located near the bus station, apart from a few pharmacy and telephone cente, there was nothing much to see. We strolled around and went to two different restaurants to have beef soup and barbaque sausage rice and enjoyed using their toilet. (public toilet always cost B$1 or more). Then we strolled around again and ended up drinking coconut juice at a street stroll of the plaza. Finally, we went back to the bus to start off again.

It waited so long in order to get more passengers in Caranavi and they did got a few more.

Eventually we arrived La Paz at 3am, which took us 30 hours to get there!

We got on a taxi, woke our host Daltry at 4am to let us in his house, that's very nice of him for not minding that and was always friendly and helpful, with the help of the porter calling his mobile for us. We finally got a nice hot shower and a warm shelter and slept just an hour before dawn.

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