Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vicuñas, Llamas, and Alpacas, Oh My!

llamas and alpacas among sheep
Before I get into the topic from the title, let me tell about the trip back to Pucallpa. Victor and I took a cab to the station for about 10 soles less than we paid to get to Nilsa's. We'd checked one agency and they wanted 130 soles per person...tried another, and it was only 80. know the saying, you get what you pay for. The agent apparently double'sold a couple of seats, so we were an hour late taking off while they tried to straighten THAT out. We were served lunch around 3:30, and things were pretty uneventful - oh, the first two movie attempts failed about a third of the way through, then there was a movie that worked all the way, and another had been on for a bit when suddenly it went blank - and the whole bus basically shut down. BROKE down.In the dark. In the middle of nowhere. Around 8:30 at night, so we'd only covered about a third of the distance. Truth to tell, I have occasionally wondered about the what-if's of such an event, and now, I had the dubious pleasure of adding this to my experiences. It could have been worse, of course ' we could have blown a tire and gone careening off the road, flipping, or crashed, or taken a trun too fast on the mountain roads, and bye-bye. This was just a slow break-down. What got me and the other passengers angry was the lack of professional behavior of the driver and other 2 crew members - no Please excuse the delay, due to circumstances beyond our control. We will try to do thus and such - remain calm, and stay with us. No. Apparently they just kind of shut themselves in the driver section, no explanation, and around 7 or so IN THE MORNING they went off to the nearest town, about 3-4 hours away, grabbing a ride from a cab or other car, ABANDONING us with no word of explanation of what they planned to do. Meanwhile, those of us who had not bought munchies, figuring on the dinner stop on the way, had not had anything to eat since that lunch. We were in the mountains, so the night was cold - fortunately, the bus was fairly well insulated, so we were all right if we stayed within. There was a chemical potty onboard too. But really... So, come daylight, folks began to try to get a way to the next city where this particular agency (Leon - remember it and DON'T USE IT! Grrr!) was also located. As the number of passengers dwindled, Victor and I also decided to flag down a motorist, in this case, a cab, and for 30 soles EACH he drove us to Huanuco where I am now. Another cab took us to Leon where we saw some other of our fellow passengers, and collectively voiced our complaints to the management. They did not pay us back the money we had to shell out to get there, but they DID treat us to lunch - though really, a few soles is NOT 60! And we leave for Pucallpa AGAIN tonight around 7, arriving in the wee hours of the morning. But NOT a good way to run a business - again, if you're gonna travel through Peru by bus, do not take the Leon line. So there!
Now, it was daylight when we got the cab, and while the color of the scenery was kind of drab, being in the cold mountains, finishing up winter, the mountains themselves were magnificent to see. AND...I saw, YES, VICUÑAS! in the wild! and llamas and alpacas mingling with sheep! I thought, well, had we continued through the night I would have missed that, so that is ONE thing that worked for good, because Father God knows I get a kick out of such things! Vicuñas! I tried getting some pix, but I don't know how well they'll have turned out till I can review them on the computer.
Can you see the vicuña???

Victor and other disgruntled abandoned passengers
So...we're hanging out here in Huanuco until it's time to take the bus. And at least they have internet!

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