The earliest bus that goes the journey between Sucre and Samaipata leaves at 4pm – possibly because they got tired of all the screaming from the back when they went during the day – so I was finally going to have to face that which I had been avoiding throughout our journey through Bolivia: The Overnight Journey.
My hopes of a nice, easy ride were raised somewhat when we arrived at the terminal and saw some decent looking buses parked out front. None of them were ours, of course, but still the fact that they even had decent looking buses in this country was enough to give me some hope.
Unfortunately my overly-optimistic imagination inevitably leads to disappointment.
We boarded the dumpster-with-windows and took our seats which, thanks to some ‘mal comunicacion’ between the travel agent and the bus company, were now right at the back. We were joined by a young mother and her five-year-old, and an older gentleman in a stetson.
The first 20 minutes out of Sucre was on nice, smooth tarmac. Once again, hopes were raised.
Despite this radical departure and my obvious torment, the Cowboy next to me had managed to fall asleep very easily.
After four hours of terrain that would make a Toyota Land Cruiser weep into its wheel arches, we arrived at Aiquile. Nobody except me seemed to have noticed that we had veered off the edge of a cliff and were lucky to be alive – they were all content to hang around the bus chatting or go and find food in the cafe.
After the stop, we were moved to newly vacated seats near the front. Erin assured me that we were, in fact, on the right road then dug out my iPod and a pot of Jalapeño-flavoured Pringles to help calm me down.
It wasn’t long before I learned that the recliner on my new seat was broken.
At the rest stop, we had picked up more passengers than there were seats. One of the men standing in front of us had decided that the most comfortable position was not leaning on the headrest of the aisle seat of the row in front, but was, in fact, to lean right across me and support himself on the head rest of the window seat instead.
At around hour 7, our bus was plunged into a thick fog that made seeing impossible and did little to stall my descent into full blown nervous breakdown.
Needless to say, I got very little sleep that night.
Are you looking for Christmas gift ideas? See our guide to the 50 Best Gifts for Travelers. They are ideal for travel lovers who want to pack light and include something for every budget.