When explaining my reason for travelling to South America, I often told folks that I was looking for a new perspective on the world. I wanted to see how my life in one of the world’s most expensive cities compares to those in developing countries. Yesterday, during our bus ride to Ica/Huacachina, my window provided a small glimpse into how dramatically different the two can be.
After three nights in Lima with Kelly and Christian, which included so much pisco… ohhhh, so much pisco, we decided to head south to Ica and the desert oasis of Huacachina. This meant that it was time for our first long-haul bus ride (~5 hours) with a Peruvian bus company, Cruz del Sur. During my months of research, I had read horror stories of bags being stolen from below the bus, crooked drivers who would say that the bus had broken down only to force you into a taxi where you would be robbed, etc. Instead, we experienced the most organized, high quality bus experience of my life. Bags were checked and tagged just like an airline and the inside of the bus included 45degree reclining seats, a free meal, and various video screens. All for 30 soles, or about $10. The only downside was that the banos were not nearly as plush, and I had quite the experience trying to hold on while inside. I escaped unscathed, but stayed in my seat for the remainder of the ride.
Beyond the Lima city limits, we passed countless small communities of disintegrating brick and tarp homes. All had dirt roads that were mostly void of any vehicles. There appeared to be no electricity and one can deduce that there was no running water. It was a stark contrast even to Lima, which just days before had taken us aback with its various neighborhoods of worn down buildings and barred windows. As we watched town after town pass by our bus windows, it became blatantly obvious how lucky I have been throughout my life. While this was not the first time in my life that I’ve seen how others live with less, it was the most dramatic. There seems to be no other explanation than luck, and with that, my eyes are now wider than ever.