i had to write a narrative essay for my English class, something that happened to us with a moral or something like that, but i thought it turned out pretty well, take a gander if you like :)
In the summer of 2008 I was lucky enough to visit Cuzco Peru with my step-mom. It was really a “Homers Bowling Ball” of sorts; Chris (my step mom) had no one to go with her so she took me as my graduation present, I was excited to go, but had no real interest in Peru before hand. While in Cuzco we had made friends with one of the local street kids, Denis, who had promised to show us around. One day Denis had taken us to a local town, they were having some sort of festival that day, so there was a big celebration going on. We stopped for lunch at a place with a balcony so we could watch, an amazing sight to be seen for sure. After lunch, and a hike up some of the most breathtaking (in more ways than one) mountains I have ever seen, we boarded the local bus back to Cuzco; and thus our adventure begins.
Public busses are, as in any place you go, rather different than a tour bus, the seats
(If any remain for you to sit) are usually beat up and not very welcoming to say the least, they are crowded, they are just too hot or too cold for your comfort, and more often than not they don’t run as well as you like. Now that’s just any old public bus, but in Cuzco, well that’s in a class of its own!
Remember when I said that public busses were crowded? Well compared to this bus, it’s nothing. You’d think being from New York, and experiencing the subway during a rush hour, I would know what a crowded car looked like. That’s what you would think, but you would be wrong. You don’t know the meaning of crowded until you have been on a bus like this. For one thing this bus doesn’t have a capacity limit, if there is anyone at a stop and an inch of space you better believe that they are getting on for the ride. By the time Denis, Chris, and I had gotten on, the only space left was in the very front of the bus by the door, so that’s where we stood. Denis was directly behind the driver, Chris right next to him, and me leaning against the dash. I didn’t think it would be a bad ride, by any means, until I looked out the window. You see this part of Peru is in the mountains, not just in the mountains but atop the mountains, because of this, the roads are all built into the sides of it forming what seem to be cliffs.
Heights don’t scare me, I mean I had just climbed up and down mountains, through ruins, being up high doesn’t scare me, it’s the falling. Falling down to my death, that’s what scares me; and according to where I was standing, that possibility, was at large. This driver of ours was just zipping around these mountains, on every turn I was certain that he would miss judge just how wide the road was and we would all be plummeting to our certain deaths, but thankfully, he knew his route well, and this wasn’t the end.
Along the way we had picked up a few more passengers. Two of which were Americans, the first we had seen all day, they were on their honeymoon. The woman stood on the stairs across from me and the man had squeezed in the aisle (God knows how) and was holding on to the baggage rack above. The man really stuck out like a sore thumb, he was fair skinned, blonde hair, and over 6ft tall, the tallest one on the bus by far. We talked to them about where we were from, and how we liked Peru, the man was fluent, so he tested my six years of high school Spanish, needless to say its not very good. They only expressions I knew well were “cuanta cuesta?” “donde esta…?” and “dos coca-colas, por favor” not exactly top-notch. I have to say, speaking to this couple and practicing my horrible broken high-school Spanish had really distracted me from the oh-so-near cliffs we were speeding by. But I also noticed the longer I was squished up against the window, and the more I took a chance by looking out the window, the more comfortable I was. I realized I wasn’t the only nervous one either. The newly wed bride, was far closer to the door than I, and grasped the bar a little tighter on every turn. Chris, she was worse off than both of us, she was very convinced today was our last day, and practically became the drivers bodyguard, always asking the passengers to not touch the driver in case he were to slip or make a false turn, it was insane. When I saw her doing this, I couldn’t help but laugh, it was silly. When I thought about it logically, this man driving us, had been doing this a long time, he grew up here, he knew what the roads were like, its not like this was his first day on the job or he just hopped off a plan from Timbuktu. So I had to laugh at myself for getting so scared. And now that’s how I have to handle any fear. Laugh at it, find the silliness in it. I had once heard in a movie (and don’t think this strange, but it was Disney’s Lion King) “Danger? I laugh in the face of danger! Ha! Ha! Ha!” so that is what I do. If I don’t, then I would just go on being afraid, and who wants needs that? 3 years ago