We endured it.
The bus ride from Santa Cruz to San Ignacio was long, bumpy, and full of stops.
Things got off to an unpromising start when we arrived at the bus terminal and discovered our tickets had been sold to another bus company. This after Yoli had received assurances that the particular bus her sister Lucy had chosen for us would be traveling that evening. Turns out we were the only passengers booked, so we were put on another bus leaving 30 minutes later.
As we waited in the bus terminal I was struck again by how everything is done by hand — all the tickets, luggage bags, taxes. etc. All on hand-written receipts. And yet … the receipt for using the bathroom (Bs 1 for the privilege) was computer-printed.
A deluge broke out just in time to get us wet as we were trying to find our bus and climb aboard. The bus itself was comfortable, but boy, it took forever for us to leave the terminal, and then to get out of the city.
I was quickly reminded that there’s no such thing as an interstate in Bolivia. The highways run through towns, and most of them have something to slow down buses or stop them, like speed bumps or a big market along the main road.
I was also reminded that no matter how nice the bus, capitalism reigns. We had no sooner left the terminal than the driver let a salesman aboard who spent the next 15 or 20 minutes trying to sell the passengers various “natural” creams or lotions in a loud voice. He asked if I wanted some. “Quiero silencio,” I grumbled.
Yoli bought four tickets, hoping we could sit two kids to one seat. It didn’t really work out that way. Yoli had Joseph in her lap all night, and Josie and Ludi traded my lap throughout the night. The wiggly creatures and frequent stops meant that we slept, but not much.
At a certain point (probably after the bathroom break in San Javier) there were no longer any paved roads. Driving along the dirt road was like one of those Star Trek camera-shaking battle scenes, stretched out for hours. Or like riding inside a thunder cloud. Or being inside a clothes dryer.
But after ten hours, we were there. It was 6 a.m. and we headed to the church where Yoli’s sister Noemi lives.