It all started very smoothly. We boarded the 8:30pm bus to Arequipa in Cruz del Sur´s Javier Prado station. It was one of their new lines of buses to replace the old – and it´s now official, Peruvian buses are ten times better than anything available in the UK. With clean comfortable seats, an on-board meal of chicken and rice, showings of recent movies – it makes British buses look positively 3rd world. On top of this, there is wireless internet for those who need it.
The one thing I always did disapprove of on South American buses was the games of bingo. It´s a completely different story now I have won a game. I had never realised how fun bingo was. I now have a free ticket worth S/. 100.
We were awoken at 6am the next day by the bus making a turn – a 180º turn that is. We were told by service provider Flaco (no-one did bother to learn his actual name) that a significant part of the Panamericana highway and all the road to Arequipa would be closed for a few hours. Peru´s international car race, known as Caminos del Inca, was taking place and we had to wait for the 20 cars to pass. It wasn’t all bad though – disembarking from the bus and standing on the side of the road meant we had free tickets. It was also a chance to see random townsfolk and other stranded travellers (for the race passed through the town of Attica) crossing the road back and forth when they pleased – the two poor policemen of the town trying to keep the two mile stretch of road they patrolled, on foot, clear of people. Apparently a child running across the road in Cuzco was hit by a race driver at more than 100mph a year or so back.