Today, for the first time, I have used one of these battered, little VW busses for a drive between Huanchaco and Trujillo and first of all I would like to take the opportunity here to very briefly describe this experience as the following: What. The. Actual. Fuck.
These busses are literally the live equivalent to the well-known circus act of “How many clowns fit into a clowns car”. The internet even provides you with the academic backround thereunto, including some world records. (http://www.caranddriver.com/features/the-physics-of-clown-cars-feature) In Germany however, those VW busses are allowed to carry up to 9 people including the driver. On the way back to Trujillo the vehicle carried 25 passengers, excluding the driver. True to the motto: “There is room in even the smallest of huts” they cram everyone and everything solvent into the car. With slightly bent knees, my head cocked and a wry back I find myself in the arms of a young Peruvian, who somehow managed to adapt his head, neck and back into the round shape of the roof of the car. If you would relocate us in this very moment into another setting, we´d be a perfect real live copy of Gustav Klimt´s “The Kiss”- In reality however, with all existing brawniness (which is in my case none), we are both trying not to smack our head against each other. Meanwhile the bus host rips open the door every now and then, yells at total strangers on the street and basically mentions the driving direction while passing by. A little animation for potential customers can never be bad, can`t it? And because of this happening while passing by, potential stops may be a little abrupt from time to time* (*always). One moment of careless and *wham* – we do smack our heads together. My new friend huffs wearily, the bust host cackles. This guy that I call the bus host is in the end the one that has everything under control, apart from accelerator and brake. In terms of the brake I am not quite sure if the driver is in control either, but that´s just a minor point. The bus host yells driving directions, shoos boarding and deboarding passengers and collects the money. Kindly he also keeps an eye on the street. Thankfully especially in moments when huge, fully loaded trucks are approaching in high speed from the left. He is also the one you will have to notify when you need to get off the bus as there are no fixed stops on the road. At least none that would be visible to my European-clouded eye. There is just a specific route that is driven on. Busses and taxis call for attention by honking and aforementioned yelling and are stopped by waving a hand. So let´s hope that I will always be able to catch the right bus and get off at the right point. As I am able to write this very text, I made it at least one time and am not lost at some deserted place, crying. As you certainly have noticed by now, the Peruvian public transportation is an ongoing fascination yet also a confusion to me. But like the Cologne citizens say: “Et hätt noch immer jot jejange” – which basically means that in the end everything will be fine.
Nighty night hearties