I woke up to bingo. Bingo on the bus, in Spanish, at 7am. Coffee, a mountain of coffee; bury me, drown me in caffeine.
We had crossed the Andes. The bus swinging around corners defying gravity; the driver and host busily concocting plans through the night.
“How will we ensure we win bingo without anyone suspecting?”
“We can forget about the gringo winning; no espanol – ha, ha, loser.”
“Where is the gringo now?”
“Oh. Once more he is busying himself in the bano. He is in the toilet all the time! Earlier, when you driving like El Maestro, he was in the bano and the bano door opened and he went hurling across the bus aisle with his pecker in his hand. He was so embarrassed but he thought it was too dark for anyone to notice. But El Maestro I have eyes like a fox. I see everything in the night. I see how you are so proud, so handsome, yet so humble. Oh, El Maestro. No-one plays bingo like you. Soon we will be approaching Lima…”
Desert landscape and ocean fog, the bus pulled into the bus company station mid-morning and I immediately booked a 10pm bus heading for Huarez. Dazed, I walked for eight kilometres towards the Chile Embassy, thinking I was heading towards the Lima city centre. Outside an Embassy I was pointed elsewhere and eventually caught a taxi to the tourist district.
Here I was greeted by tanks. Another day; another revolution. Protests, so many protests, what's this one... Bingo! The ornate architecture around the windows and balconies of the buildings close to the central city plaza were inspiring and the Plaza de Armas was beautiful; being free of people with so many tanks nearby.
Late afternoon and time to catch a taxi back to the bus station. I hailed the smallest taxi I could find, keeping the passenger window open as there was no door handle inside.
El Maestro you may be king of bingo but do you entertain thoughts of climbing through the window of a taxi that cannot reach speeds of 20 km/hr.
I think not.