June 27, 2012
Any seasoned traveler is well aware that there’s rarely such thing as a trip without complications, and that getting from Point A to Point B is not as simple as it sounds. Our bus ride back to Calca from Cusco this past weekend epitomized this immutable travel trend.
After a weekend of experiencing Peruvian national pride through the Inti Raymi festival, making chocolate at the chocolate museum, and exploring the city, we were ready to head home to Calca. Our travel woes started when our group of seven split into two to take taxis to the bus station. Ashley, Benedicte and I arrived at the terminal de buses and soon realized it was not the one we had arrived at the day before. After trying another bus terminal or two, we found a bus to Calca and hoped that the other group had decided not to wait for us, as we had no way of getting in touch with them and furthermore, no way of knowing which of the multiple bus terminals their taxi driver had chosen to take them to.
Our overloaded bus chugged along up the hill past the Cristo Blanco and the ruins at Sacsayhuaman (sexy woman!) and after navigating through the Inti Raymi crowds and the sea of traffic, we were on the open road. Well, at least for a few minutes, until a tire blew out. As the driver and a handful of skillful volunteers evaluated the situation and changed the tire, we made some new friends that made our travel predicaments not only bearable, but downright enjoyable. Three little girls took quite a liking to us, asking about where we were from, if we had jobs, sitting on our laps, trying on our jewelry, and engaging in a little photo contest with us. Ashley asked Sarita, our new two-year-old friend, to smile as wide as she could. For being two years old, she was quite witty and had us (and the whole back of the bus) in hysterics. When the bus got moving again and we reached their stop (which was really just the side of the road, seemingly with nothing around), we were pretty bummed to say good-bye to our amigas and their family.
The point is, we all know that when you’re traveling you have to expect the unexpected. (Please forgive the cliché.) However, it’s easy to forget that sometimes the best stories and experiences are born out of the most inconvenient situations. This interaction for us was a reminder to make the most of those frustrating situations. If our tire hadn’t blown out and taken forever to fix, our bus ride wouldn’t have been anywhere near as enjoyable and entertaining. In other words, more often than not it’s worth it to embrace an onerous situation and look at it not as a hindrance, but as an opportunity. ~Nadine Custis