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The Andes – A Bit Like Lightwater Valley

Many years ago I used to go on day trips to that magnificent Yorkshire theme park, Lightwater Valley. Aside from the Death Slide and The Ultimate, one of the biggest draws there was, for a while, The Rat. This ride basically consisted of an hour or so of queuing, followed by a couple of minutes of a fairly speedy roller coaster in the dark.

I’m currently sitting on a Cruz Del Sur bus through the Andes on the route from Lima to Cusco. This basically seems to consist of a couple of minutes of queuing, followed by 21 hours of incredibly fast roller coaster, most of which has taken place in the dark.

Of course, most people’s idea of travelling on a bus in South America might consist of dusty, bumpy roads and an uncomfortable, clapped-out old bus being pursued by packs of dogs. Well the existence of such buses remains to be seen but this one couldn’t be further from the stereotype. Large bed-seats, TVs, air-con, hostess serving dinner – it’s all pretty luxury airline. But when in darkness you are catapulted from one side of your large bed-seat to the next, the lady opposite is sick and you’re informed that under no circumstances should you poo in the toilet for the next 21 hours, you really start to wish you’d popped that sleeping pill!

The driving is remarkable. Never have I felt closer to being a NASA test pilot whilst simultaneously resembling a side of beef in a getaway meat wagon. Lewis Hamilton would struggle to hold the lines that this double decker takes around hairpin bends at 70mph.

But then daylight creeps in and the scenery emerges. You never got this at Lightwater Valley…

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A Plane With A View

A few mini adventures in Lima today, including an impromptu Spanish class and lots of men with guns (don’t panic mum).

It’s weird to leave in summer and arrive in winter – cool and drizzly today. Long bus journey to Cuzco tomorrow, 21 hours in fact! I hope the views will be as good as those from the plane – the Amazon and the Andes:
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Taxis, planes, drunks and a fruity sour welcome

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Today has been a long old day. We began at 3.30am on Sunday, have travelled for 21 hours and it’s still only 6.40pm on Sunday.

The flights weren’t as bad as expected (Iberia have a dearth of in-flight entertainment – H:”that was actually the worst film I’ve ever seen”) and were brightened up by spectacular views of the Amazon and the Andes and by a conversation with a bilingual drunk who got himself into a spot of bother with the crew.

Lima seems sprawling and smoggy through a taxi window, but luckily we have a lovely place to stay courtesy of another bit of great Unwin organisation. We now feel just a little tipsy after being fed shots of some kind of pisco sour drink on arrival. Now to attempt to stay up for a few hours more.

As Babs would say,”it’s all about the body clock now!”

Buenas noches!