Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016
Today is a travel day. We got up early to pack up, eat breakfast, and get to the bus terminal for our 8:45 am direct route bus from Baños to Cuenca. The woman who has been making breakfast for us at our hotel came in early so she could make our breakfast and we could be finished eating by 8 am. I really appreciate the kindness that people can show each other.
The only direct route bus from Baños to Cuenca is on the Amazonas, and it has only the one departure at 8:45 am. When we got onto the bus it said it had wifi and also had very nice controllable air vents overhead. This bus does not have a bathroom but hopefully we will stop somewhere before my coffee kicks in.
It became apparent that the wifi wasn’t working which was a disappointment. There was no air flow either so it did get a bit warm after a while. Traveling through Ecuador by bus is very cheap. Our ride was only $10 a person and for the distance, the price can’t be beat. Bus travel is the major mode of transportation here so it is relatively easy to get anywhere you want in Ecuador too.
The downside is that the drivers pretty much do what they want. They may vear off the main route and drive into a small town and pick up extra people. I’m not sure who is getting the money for these people, but it is entirely possible to have so many people on the bus that the isles are filled with people standing too. When it gets this full it is uncomfortable for sure. This happened to us today on our way to Cuenca.
Our driver was off on some back roads, still headed in our general direction, when we ran into a road block. There is a construction crew working on something along the road and they have piled mounds of dirt completely across both lanes of the road, so crossing it is impossible. They told our driver to go back the way we came and go a different way. The road is narrow and the bus driver has to back up a quarter of a mile before there is a place he can turn the bus around. He started backing up even before the bus assistant was back on the bus.
He headed down a single lane, river stone covered road. We hadn’t gone far when we ran into two trucks stopped with men talking to each other and blocking the road. The bus driver was lost and asked for directions. The men in one of the trucks volunteered to show the bus driver our way back to the main road and toward the direction we needed to go.
Such is life in Ecuador. No one even blinks over these diversions, it’s just part of everyday life here. And speaking of diversions, I was needing one badly because I had to pee so bad and this bus wasn’t stopping. Finally at Chunchi, which was four hours into our ride, the driver pulled the bus into a gas station and many of us ran toward a different baños.
When we pulled into Cuenca it was a beautiful sunny day. Welcome home.