After a wonderful day exploring Machu Pichu and hiking; we were off for quite the adventure (unknown to us). Along with our new friends Juan and Gri, we had pre-arranged our travel back through a tour guide. Now…I just want to preface this with the fact that we didn’t research tours and just went with the tour that Gri and Juan had found. The first leg of the journey back to Cusco was wonderful. We boarded Perurail and took about an hour for a half-hour trip to the ‘Hydro-electric Plant‘. Yep, you read that right….they dropped us off at a real and true hydro-electric plant. Workers coming and going and sparse facilities.
This (above) is a view of us heading to the ‘bus station’ from our train. If you look closely on the left side you will see several shacks with tarps for awnings. The awnings are held up with sticks (sorry I didn’t get a good picture). The shacks are so close to the rails that when a train comes, the awnings have to be pulled back to allow room for the train to pass. We experienced this first-hand when we disembarked the train and stopped to buy water. The vendor we were buying from frantically pulled us into her shack and saved us from the on-coming train. Thank you Senorita!!
So….here is the ‘bus station’ !! Yep….what more can I say?
Teresa attempting to stay dry.
Juan and Gri….he looks (and is) a little unhappy with the entire situation!
Me, Teresa and Gri….before the rain!
Our ‘bus’ was supposed to pick us up at 2:00pm and finally arrived around 3:30pm. Our ‘bus’ wasn’t really a bus at all but a van suited to seat 11 and we crammed in 12 passengers PLUS the driver. Teresa and I were smashed in the back in an area made for three with two others and our bags! Needless to say….we were in for a long, uncomfortable ride!
The ride was the worst ride of my life! I’m really not exaggerating here…it was horribly scary and dangerous. I thought to myself as we crossed rushing water over the road that my Dad was worried about me during this trip but he didn’t have a clue to the biggest worry was going to be simply getting from one place to another.
The road that we traveled followed a raging river most of the way with only a couple of zig-zags through small villages along the way. The river was ANGRY, rough and full of huge boulders. The water was totally brown from the churning of the waves. I’m no expert but I would probably have to guess that it was at a class 5 or higher (if that is possible). The hair-pin turns and steep drop off’s and multiple land-slides were just another obstacle. I really wish that I could put into words how dangerous this road was. I was literally terrified out of my mind! The picture below is of a truck placed in the flow of the water coming down off the mountain over the road. I think it was placed there to help prevent traffic being washed over….
Below is another picture of the water rushing over the road. We passed over dozens of these spots and each time my life flashed before me and I had to remember the words that I told my Dad before I left: “If I die; remember at least I lived a good life”. I really didn’t want to die NOW!! For the first time in my entire life….I suffered a total break-down and panic attack. I finally had to place my head in my lap and force myself NOT to look out the windows as tears streamed down my face. It was quite difficult for me to keep from insisting that the driver STOP and LET ME OUT. I felt that my own two feet were much safer…..but I held fast and endured.
At one point, we got a little stuck in the mud and as the driver attempted to ‘rock’ us out of it a mere inches from the back wheels sliding off the cliff….all of the passengers were leaning to the side in the van with hopes of helping it along the right path. I’m sure that I’m not the only one on the van that breathed a huge sigh of relief when all four wheels were back on solid ground!
Below is a photo out the window of the van. You can see the snaking road, and the river below. What it doesn’t adequately show is the sheer drop off and the numerous landslides all along the way.
This one (below) shows a little better what we saw just inches from the wheels of the van….I’m not good with distances so I can’t even begin to tell you the height of the drop.
To add to the fact that the road was simply dangerous; our driver thought that he was Mario Andreti and drove like he was at the track. With every curve in the road; he sped up….seemingly attempting to ‘drift’ around the curves. Some things should be left on the track! To prove my point that he was driving too fast….the trip was supposed to take us nearly 7 hours and we arrived in Cusco in a mere 5 and a half.
I took a video to show a little better the road that we were travelling; however, I am unable to upload it now but will share it as soon as I am possible. Teresa and I didn’t get to bike down the Worlds Most Dangerous Road in Bolivia; but I think that this more than made up for it. NOW, I WANT MY T-ShIRT that states “I SURVIVED” !!
Today; I am thankful to be alive!
- The Potosi Taxi (arediscoveredlife.wordpress.com)
- BootsnAll’s Indie Travel Challenge 2012: 2012 Indie Travel List (arediscoveredlife.wordpress.com)