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Monday, 26 April 2010

Mas Economico Bus

Written by Kara Carlson
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Mas Economico Bus, “mas economico” bus ticket, fourteen-hour overnight journey, from Nazca to Cuzco, Peru, inept, funny travel stories, Kara CarlsonI have the gracefulness of a two-legged donkey. I blame this on the fact that I was born two months early and cross-eyed. They correlate. I was born with the primordial hand-eye coordination of a baby having missed essential belly time– thus, my cross-eyed ungainly self. As I am now 5´8¨ (praise my mother’s sagacity in gorging me with whole milk for the eighteen years I resided in her house) and an elephantine beast in 96% of countries worldwide, I consider myself a fairly impervious force.

Photo by Scott Parks


That is what led me to procure a “mas economico” bus ticket for the fourteen-hour overnight journey from Nazca to Cuzco, Peru. I miscalculated my traveling durability as lateral to that of Superman.

I arrived laden with bags at the bus station at 9:30pm for a 10:00pm ride. I presented my ticket with the pomp of a Miss America contestant. The Peruvian woman inundated me with strings of Spanish and I was able to decipher that the bus had departed without me five minutes earlier. She rustled from the room as fast as a Barry Bonds sprint and accosted a cab. I bunted my bag and myself into the seat and chased the bus to another station where I subsequently waited 35 minutes before departure.

Upon bus infiltration, I spotted a local woman and her bags in my seat. She did not comprehend my Mexican ‘Spanglish’ attempts (an appendage of living in California), so I installed myself in the only available seat in the bus’s rear. Instantly upon sitting, excrement essence enclosed me, a blitzkrieg to my nostrils, eyes, and skin more swiftly than it takes my favorite Peruvian-Turrets bartender to scream profanities at me. The stench was a nauseating combination of excrement and vomit emanating from behind the bathroom stall’s closed door. It seeped through the back of the bus, reeking more than a human flatuating a dead rat after two weeks.

I mentally prepared for fourteen hours in Gringo hell. As the hours compiled, the night pierced glaciers. I fastened the windows shut only to feel regurgitation recapitulate in my stomach. This was worse than my five-year-old self slipping and falling in a massive lake of elephant excrement at the circus. I concluded breeding icicles from my skin was preferential to the fetid festering flavor. I opened the windows and my body consequently propagated paralysis.

Hours later, I cleft my comatose self with the revolting realization that I was going to pee. I sat with my arms clamped around my knees and unable to maneuver my muscles. I debated whether peeing on myself or in Satan’s Closet was the more desirable option. The urine might heat my lower body. Unless, of course, my urine coagulated as frost, which I considered an 85% probability.



I opted for Satan’s Closet. Inside was rigorously reminiscent of my reckoning. It appeared an array of people had explosive diarrhea after consuming the Peruvian delicacies: guinea pig, alpaca, and rat. The effusive excrement spate over half of the toilet bowl. In the sink was what appeared to be an array of people’s vomit after having consumed said animals. I assumed this was in reaction to the excrement. I opened the window next to the toilet and hung my head out like a dog in a car ride, convulsing in revulsion and amusement.

I exited Satan’s Closet like an alcoholic escaping from AA and returned to my seat to find my purse missing. I inspected the surrounding seats to discover the two Peruvian men who had been sitting in the seats in front of me gone, as well as my purse.

I had purchased the purse earlier that day. Inside was every American dollar and Peruvian sole I owned, my ATM card (only access to money), my license, my sunglasses, and my camera. My camera had photos on it from the previous month and a half’s South American travels, as well as those future photos of my journey that I would now never take.

This realization manifested itself forty-five minutes before the bus broke down. Still hours from Cuzco, everyone evacuated Satan’s Bus at five-something in the morning to await another bus. I reclined in the chilled morning air, surrounded by Andes Mountains on my way to the Sacred Valley. I determined that was the last time I would ask for a mas economico ticket. Also, that I would keep my two remaining valuable possessions – my passport and my laptop – as close to me as if they were my little Peruvian children.

Mas Economico Bus, “mas economico” bus ticket, fourteen-hour overnight journey, from Nazca to Cuzco, Peru, inept, funny travel stories, Kara Carlson

Photo by Brad Shelton

©Kara Carlson

Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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