Adios Arequipa /On a posh Peru night bus [YQrtw Day 104 Jul 22]

Location: Arequipa, Peru

I have been in Arequipa for two weeks. It’s kind of funny how I ended up staying in a place I’ve not heard about before my trip and which I only learned about at Iguazu Falls.

Not sure if I’ve told you the story about the Peruvian girl who told me that the weather in Arequipa is always warm and it is known as the City of Eternal Spring. I jot down the name in my iPhone notebook and forgot about it until I needed to plan my Peru trip in Santiago.

I’m glad I went to Arequipa. The language school I went to was great, stuffing my brain with different past tenses and some future tenses.

The city was beautiful with buildings built with limestones. Food in Arequipa was good too but I suppose this is true for Peru.

I didn’t do much on my last day in Arequipa. I finished packing and checked out of my room. Then I went to a cafe where Tripadvisor reviews promised good coffee.

I managed to find “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. The book cost only 4 soles (S$2) and is surprisingly thin. But from the first chapter that I’ve glimpsed through, everything you need is still there.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Spanish
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Spanish

Tasha (not her real name and previously known as N in my entries) still had her room with the hostel so she let me take a nap in the spare bed. How nice it is to be able to lie in a bed!

Finally, it was time for me to head to the bus station. I was really stressed out because the smallest note I had was a 50 soles note and about 4 soles in change.

The hostel didn’t have any change for 50 soles neither. I always find it funny when businesses do not have enough change lying around.

In the end, I had to tell my taxi driver that I only had a large note and that I was willing to be charged an extra 2 soles to get change back. He didn’t quite get it until the end but all was well.

On the taxi, the driver asked me if I am married/ do I like Arequipa/ when will I come back etc. I answered all of that in Spanish. (Not very good Spanish but still…)

10-hour Oltursa bus to Cusco

At the bus station, I found the Oltursa counter and started my check in process. At the counter, the guy weighed my suitcase, stapled a label with CUSCO on it and a serial number.

Oltursa bus tickets
Oltursa bus tickets
Oltursa check in counter
Oltursa check in counter

Then I paid the 2 soles “exit tax”. I find it funny that we need to pay bus terminal taxes like airport taxes.

There was also a carry on luggage check. The man felt my bags (all 4 of them) for what I think is alcohol because the video on the bus said no alcohol is allowed.

Then everyone hung out at the lounge. The lounge had comfortable sofas but not enough for every passenger. Thankfully I found a 1-seater sofa and hogged it with my stuff.

Oltursa lounge in Arequipa
Oltursa lounge in Arequipa

Among all the passengers, I spotted 4 British girls while the rest seemed to be from Latin America. From what I’ve heard, Cruz de Sol has loads of foreigners. I’m kind of glad we didn’t have that many chatty foreigners on this bus.

Soon it was time to board the bus. My seat was the very last on the lower floor. The facilities on the bus astounded me. This is definitely the best bus I’ve ever taken.

Oltursa cama seat
Oltursa cama seat

The seat is big with comfy cushions. There was a small pillow and a blanket waiting for me on my seat. On the right of my seat were two electric outlets. I immediately made use of it by charging my phone.

The seats are able to recline quite far but not enough to be called an actual bed although the type of seat is called “cama” (bed).

The bus left at 8:35pm, just 5 minutes after the scheduled timing. I guess that is considered really punctual in South America. (Not that Malaysian buses are any better.)

Once the bus started moving, we were served dinner. The main dish was rice and fish with a side of tequenos while the dessert was a rice and quinoa mix.

Main dish on Oltursa bus
Main dish on Oltursa bus

There was either coffee or tea to go with the meal. The bus only had the teas preferred here: spiced tea with flavors such as anis, cinnamon and others. I still have a supply of ceylon tea from Sri Lanka so I chose to have that instead, along with a tea spoon of sugar.

There wasn’t any movie playing on board although there was a video of safety in Oltursa buses and some travel program about one of the destinations covered by the company.

I got ready for bed soon because there was nothing to do on board. My phone could not connect to the internet and I do not want to use my laptop because I have motion sickness when trying to read on a moving vehicle (trains and planes are alright though).

I sent mom a text message telling her how good the bus was. Her reply was that she could not read my message. I totally forgot that my Claro SIM card could not send out messages in Chinese. How is that even technologically possible?

Anyway, I went to bed in my seat with my eye mask and ear plugs. When I woke up for the toilet, I realized how cold it was outside as the little cubicle was freezing. As the bus swerved violently, I laughed out loud and my breath caught in my chest. Was this the work of altitude sickness, I dared not investigate and instead went back to my seat to sleep.

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