We thought we had it figured out. We would tour Lake Titicaca and get back to Puno at 3:30PM, catch a bus from Puno to Cuzco at 4PM, arrive in Cuzco late that night and get a room at Loki, a backpacker hot spot. Keep dreaming boy, that only works in Germany. This is 3rd world territory, shit-happens-country, and you better come prepared to deal with derailed plans. It was the summer of strikes in Peru; we really should have known better.
Our bus is finally ready for us around 10PM. With the old buses and out of date roads, a 6 hour delay is not unusual for Peru. At this point, however, our journey is no longer a straight shot. The staff makes us aware of the ongoing strikes and blocked roads. The new plan is to ride to the town of Sicuani, get out and walk a blocked section to the next town (a 30 minute walk, we were told), and catch a cab from there that would take us the remaining 6 hours to Cuzco. Still optimistic, we roll with the punches and get ready for a 12 hour overnight journey. Of course as soon as we leave the bus turns into a refrigerator because the heat doesn’t work. Typical. I’m cold and I can’t fall asleep, so I sit and nurse a Cusqueńa, the local brew.
The roads are blocked off by the people of local towns who are taking issue with recent Peruvian legislation. In April, the government agreed to sell mines, parts of the rain forest, and local water supplies to foreign companies. In exchange, the government profits, while locals see their resources and their livelihood pillaged. All in all, 2 out of 3 major roadways to Cuzco are at least partially blockaded.
We get to Sicuani around 2AM and start walking, all the while looking for a cab or a bus. The scene is surreal: miles of semi trucks full of cargo line the road, waiting for the Continue reading