Wednesday 24 November 2010

On the bus in South America

Ecuador bus crash 25/12/10, Photo: AP
Buses in South America are scary, and unfortunately they are also the cheapest, most convenient, and often only way to get around.  The buses themselves range in quality, but most are in good nick, and some of the overnight buses are actually quite comfortable.

A nice bus doesn't help too much since the drivers are all insane.  Overtaking on blind corners and driving far too fast for windy mountain roads with sheer drops are par for the course.

At one point we passed a massive truck that had tipped over on one of these roads, and I had an ominous feeling that we might be next.  Thankfully we weren't, but there was a deadly bus crash in Ecuador shortly after we got back.

The other hazard is that you might get something stolen.  We didn't have any problems with bags in the luggage compartment of buses, but someone on our tour got their bag slashed in the cabin on a local bus coming into Lima.  The thief crawled under our friends' seat from behind and cut open their backpack as it sat on the ground at their feet.  Nasty!  The first our friend knew about it was when she picked up her bag at Lima and a whole lot of stuff fell out.

The moral of the story is to keep your bag in your lap, especially on local buses where people frequently hop on and off, facilitating an easy getaway.  Unfortunately it makes an already uncomfortable journey just that little bit more uncomfortable.

1 comment:

Lydia said...

So glad that you weren't the ones in the crash. You guys have had your fair share of close shaves.

When we were in Albania, our driver would honk his horn before rounding a corner on a single-lane by a cliff. If he didn't hear a reply honk from the other side, he knew he didn't have to slow down.