Ep9. Did you Always Wear a Money Belt?
(view out the window during the really long bus ride)
I’m trying something new with this format. Do you like it? Please give me feedback!
- LN.Lurie (at) yahoo (dot) com
- @hydrix13 (twitter)
“You used a money belt the whole time, right?”
Back in Ecuador on the Worst Day Ever (See Spidey Sense), I met this Canadian guy named Tony. We kept in touch and decided to meet up in Lima and travel to Cusco and hike Machu Picchu together. Before I leave Ecuador, He warns me about the bus ride down to Lima.
“Blah blah blah. You should wear a money belt! Blah blah blah. The latinos see you as a target and will steal everything from you! Blah blah blah those buses get stopped/robbed all the time. Blah blah blah you should be using a money-belt all the time! You should never take it off! Blah blah blah BE AFRAID!”
I’ll be honest- normally I ignore all these warnings- but something about the tension of his voice, his stories, the fact that I had just gotten (poorly) kidnapped in Ecuador all made me think that maybe I was just getting lucky this whole time- and maybe my luck will run out soon. So I donned my uber-sexy-beige money belt and put everything of significant value in it (my iPhone, credit card and passport), arrived at the bus station late and barely made it onto the bus in time.
That was the most exciting part of the trip.
The ride was advertised to be 48 hours. You weren’t allowed to use the coach-toilet for “solid waste. Only liquid waste”. The bus stopped a few times to drop people off/pick people up but I never knew how long the stop was- so I just stayed on the bus, sitting, cramped, next to a guy who snored and thought my seat was also his, for 52 hours. The added hours was due to getting stuck behind herds of goats a few times.
I got a lot of reading done. Did I mention I had 52 hours? If not, I’ll say it again. I sat, cramped, on a bus, with all my valuables in my money belt pressing against my bowels, constantly reminding me that I had to poop and I probably shouldn’t have eaten the on-board meals of white-bread, mayo and government-issued cheese slice. As a bonus, though, passengers got their choice of beverage: Inka Cola (tastes like bubblegum) or brown hot water (“tea”).
I won’t bore you with any details of the bus ride. Let’s just say it was long… and boring… The entertainment was endless, though: Movies played (with the audio blaring from the over-head speakers) from 8am until 10pm. If no movies were available then music would be pumped through that reminded me of a party bus. Some of the locals would dance in the isles or have arguments with their spouses.
I wish I could say that I was scared shitless, but that would be the opposite of what I was. I was full of shit and scared- because of a warning and anxiety that was given to me by someone who was unlucky many times throughout his travels. The worst part of the trip was not being able to poop which made me really uncomfortable.
Finally we get to Lima. Surprise, surprise, nothing bad happened on or to the bus. And this was the last time I used my money belt. I actually started using it as a bottle-cap holder but Chilean TSA wanted to search it because they thought this was suspicious.
MORAL: Don’t listen to other people’s fears. Listen to your gut.
Health tip: I found this out later- but if you drink lemongrass tea 1-2 days before your long journey, it acts as an anti-diarrhea agent or a non-cramping alternative to long-travel-time woes.