Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bussing back to Bogota--7/23-26

Other than my one hour flight back from Cusco to Lima at 11:30am on Star Peru, I saw that flights elsewhere in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia were not very cheap. It was over $600 to fly from Lima to Bogota where my July 29th departure on American Air to Seattle was waiting for me. With all of that, I decided I would take buses back to Bogota.

The Star Peru plane was again late to depart at noon instead of 11:30 am so I still had time to bet to the Civa terminal by 3:15pm. My bus trip from Lima to Bogota started up a little rough when my airport taxi driver dropped me off at the wrong Civa bus terminal. I was leaving from the deluxe Civa bus terminal instead--and not the ordinary one. Fortunately the Civa rep got me on a taxi to the right place just in time for my 3:15pm departure on the 23rd to the Peru/Ecuador border.

It was a comfortable first class ride complete with two full meals as we traveled about 1200 km in 20 hours over a fairly smooth freeway. Cabs and minibuses got me to and through both borders of Peru/Ecuador and Ecuador/Colombia.



Panamericana ticket office in Huaquillas, Ecuador, where I got my ticket to Quito

I call this bus ride to Quito my disco bus because of the strange lights they turned on whenever we were coming to a major bus terminal.
When I got to Quito dawn was breaking as I was dropped off on the southern terminal called Quitumbe and had to catch the trole bus to the northern terminal called Carcelen. It was about an hour ride from one end of town to the other where I would have to catch a connector bus from the Terminal Y to Carcelen. I then was able to book a bus that would take me to the Ecuador/Colombia border in Tulcan.
Since I had about a half hour before my bus, I had a breakfast of two fried eggs, a ham and cheese sandwich and two cups of cafe con leche at this outdoor terminal cafe.

Both bus rides in Ecuador and Colombia were the twistyist and most harrowing rides I have ever been on with scary passing of trucks on blind corners---blinking left turn lights for OK--and very steep dropoffs with few guard railings.

No wonder my last bus ride ended up with a broken transmission just 4 hours from Bogota. It took 3 hours for a replacement bus to rescue us.

I enjoyed riding the bus with my seat mate Myrian since she helped me improve my Spanish as we travel this bus for about 25 hours. She joined me at both meal stops and told me her daughter was fluent in English.
After the 3 hour roadside wait, we got a replacement bus that was even better than the last because the wifi worked well and we had individual movie and music screens where we could pick out the shows we wanted to see. On the last ride, they played Hunger Games Mockingjay. I chose to watch Divergente and was spared watching Fast and Furious 6 for the fourth time. I also selected the salsa music after the movie was over.

When we first started out on our original bus, the drivers stopped shortly after leaving the terminal, and quickly and furtively loaded about 6 big bags of potatoes on our bus, money was exchanged and we were off. Now with the replacement bus, the two drivers of the broken down bus hustled to load the bags of potatoes on to the replacement bus. Apparently the new drivers agreed with this operation after much exchange of words and telephone numbers. If they had loaded these potatoes slowly, I would have thought that the bus company was just hauling freight rather than making some side money.

At a police checkpoint, the police boarded the bus and took one guy off for questioning that stalled us for over a half hour.

The total trip took 72 hours on the journey from Lima to Bogota with 4 taxi rides, 5 colectivos and urban buses, and 4 long distance buses. A great adventure topped off with a strong hot shower and private room at the Chocolate Hostal in Bogota on the 26th.

I saw a few more sights here in Bogota like the fabulous Museo de Oro and another Botero Museo. These are some of the best museum I have seen in South America.

A gold conch shell.

A death mask and one of many on display. Just imagine all of the other gold items the Spaniards melted down rather than retained in their original state.
Although I I am not posting any Botero pictures here, you can see many at my Medelling blog report. I think he got his inspiration for voluminous people and things from these kind pre-Colombian objects.

At the Museo de Oro, I spotted this large picture of a Quechua man holding his cocoa jar. This is the same guy I saw during my Ciudad Perdida trek. How amazing is that.

This South American adventure ends for me today as I fly home, and get back to Seattle on the morning of the 30th. It has been a great adventure.

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