I had another one of those expat experiences last weekend. One of those moments where you go in no time from “I’m so happy to be here” to “What are these people thinking”, or vice versa.
This past Easter Sunday we decided to take a trip to Urubamba and eat Easter dinner at “Sol de Mayo”. This in itself was a big step for us. “Sol de Mayo” is one of our favorite restaurants, where you get a heaping plate of excellent typical Andean food. However, “Sol de Mayo” was also the place where Brianna decided to throw noodles on the back of an unsuspecting customer about 6 months ago, and we hadn’t been back there since 🙂
Instead of taking the traditional buses from Cuzco to Urubamba, we took one of the “fast cars”. These are simply combis (vans) that drive direct from terminal to terminal, which saves about 20 minutes or so over the traditional buses between Cuzco and Urubamba.
No matter how many times we’ve taken the trip from Cuzco to Urubamba, I still enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way:
So we’re the proverbial fat and happy in the back of our combi, no more than about 1/4 of the way to Urubamba, when the driver pulls over to check the rear tire. No big deal, tires get damaged regularly on the winding / pothole-filled mountain roads. The driver gets back in and gets into a fairly agitated discussion with the boletera (the girl who takes bus fares). The boletera gets on her cellphone and starts an equally agitated discussion with the person on the other end of the line.
Next thing we know the combi turns around and limps back to the nearest service station. By now Patricia is mad because she overheard the driver and boletera discussing something about a problem with the tire before we left. The combi pulls into a service station and we get out.
Combi driver knew tire was bad before leaving Cuzco.
Combi has no spare tire.
Service station has no tires.
So these guys started out on a trip with a known bad tire, no spare tire, and a bunch of paying customers in the back. Oh, and the driver drove like a maniac on the flimsy tire. Only in Peru!
The boletera took off walking, never to be seen again. We waited about 15 minutes hoping that a spare tire would magically appear, but then we just hailed a taxi and went the rest of the way by taxi. Luckily the road from Cuzco to Urubamba is quite busy with numerous combis/buses/taxis, so we didn’t have to wait too long.
After that we had an uneventful trip and a wonderful Easter dinner. Brianna ran around the restaurant and generally acted like the lovely little hellraiser that she is, but at least no food got thrown at anyone 😉