My time left in South America was running out. Keen to maximise the use of this time, I left B at the beach (Mancora) in the north of Peru and set off solo to the depths of Ecuador. Thinking I had found a bus that would take me directly from where I was to where I wanted to be (Baños) I proceeded to go out all night and spend my final night in Peru partying it up with my Mancora family. With minimal amounts of sleep, I packed my bags, said goodbye to friends and headed for the bus stop with plans of sleeping for most of the 15 hour journey. But as we all know, when travelling, things rarely go to plan.
It all started at the Ecuador boarder crossing, where I was suddenly informed that I needed to take all of my possessions off the bus as I would be taking a different bus from there. Ok, can deal with that. Collect all belongings and stand in line for 30mins with my backpack on, being physically moved around by a lady from the bus company but never being told what was going on - apparently my Spanish was that bad that she didn't even try. Meanwhile the other people in the queue are amazed at this tiny fairy girl carrying a bag so big that she suspects she can actually fit in it. They would come up behind me and, without saying a word to me, lift up my bag (which is still attached to my back) to see how heavy it was, comment to the people around them and wander off...weird.
Finally I get to the front counter and the boarder control personnel are less than impressed with my passport and form. So... where are you from? Inglaterra (England) And where do you live? Australia ...And where is this passport from? Inglaterra ... No this passport is from United Kingdom. Yeah...... They then proceeded to examine my passport and pass it around amongst themselves. Eventually they gave up trying to understand and just let me into the country. Finally getting stamped in, the lady from the bus company piled me and 6 other people into a taxi and hurtled us off to a bus station.
At the bus station while trying to put my bag under the bus as instructed I discovered (through the kind translation of a random girl) that I would in fact have to change buses again, por supuesto. Now, on my own (everyone else was on different buses), and scared shitless that I was going to miss my next bus change I forced myself to stay awake. No easy feat when this leg of the journey started at 9pm and I had a maximum of 2 hours sleep the night before. However, this bus trip wasn't all bad, I did get to sit next to a rich, eccentric Ecuadorian lady for a few hours who chatted to me in basic Spanish, mainly about her ridiculously fluffy cat....which happened to be climbing all over me at the time. hahaha. Random times.
At 4am we finally arrived at Ambarto, where I once again needed to change buses. Grabbing my bag, I realised that we were not at a bus station, we were just on a main road with not much going on. During this realisation I was informed that my next bus would appear on the other side of the road and that I should go over there and wait. No indication as to when or what company it would be. So, 4am, on the side of a highway in a random Ecuadorian town stood this fairy with all of her worldly possessions. Needless to say I decided to hell with the bus ticket and the correct bus, I'm hopping on the next bus that is going to Baños! Which is exactly what I did. The bus cost $0.80, I decided saving myself from potential death or kidnapping was worth that.
At 5am I arrived to Baños, found a hostel and finally slept. Alive, physically ok and mostly sane. Nothing is ever easy in the life of bus travel and when things are hard nobody speaks any English!!