A Bolivian Boat Without a Sail
Let’s Reflect- Bolivia 2010 – Cochabama to Santa Cruz
The raggedy bus rumbled to a hasty halt, sending my sleepy head sailing into the tough leather seat infront of me. I shook myself awake and saw nothing but blackness out every window. 2:00 am gleamed on my ipod. We certainly hadn’t made it through our 14 hour journey from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz and by the looks of it, there was no town in sight to be picking people up or dropping them off. Before I could figure out what was happening or try and assemble a sentence with my embarrassing Spanish skills, everyone was up and making a move for the door. What else could I do but follow the herd. Eventually, a couple random English words floated into my ears from off in the distance. Like a game of Marco Polo I slipped and slithered through the crowd of drowsy souls, searching for answers.
Turns out, there was a surprise boat road in this evenings itinerary. We were each given a small ticket stub and sent to wait by the side of a long wooden dock that led off into the nothingness. Our chicken bus, which conveniently had all our bags strapped to the roof, went off in the other direction and stuttered onto a makeshift wooden raft before floating out of sight. I crossed my fingers and hoped we all floated in the same direction.
Sooner or later a little boat putted over to the dock and myself, two British backpackers and at least a dozen other locals piled into the shaky craft. Just as we lost sight of shore and were surrounded by nothing but blackness, our engine died, for the first time. Our young captain popped off the top in a routine fashion, jerked off the belt, wrapped it up again and pulled at it like an old lawn mower. A couple more rips and it roared to life, only to fail 3 or 4 more times before reaching the other side.
Unfortunately, our bus was still no where to be seen. 10 minutes ticked by, than 20. There were many more shivers than words whispered. Thankfully, 25 minutes later, our spirits were lifted as the bus drifted in. Why it took so long we hadn’t the slightest clue. Did someone empty our bags and fill them with mud and toilet paper? Nope. No new passengers lingered inside or had their feet dangling off the edge. A mystery to remain unsolved.
Most importantly, all was well, just like it always is.
Step by step, sail by sail, pedal by pedal, we always get where we need to go, one way or another.
Keep your head up, you got this!