My brain still feels foggy and tired after that trip, so I’m not sure what all I can say.
We thought we might be able to make the trip in six hours, but that was not to be. The day we left, some transport union decided to close the roads in protest of the President–again. It is rather wearing after a while.
That meant that we were dodging protesters all day long. In one place, Caleb thought he could go around them, but they swarmed the truck. The people had rocks and sticks and slingshots and were not impressed that Caleb would ignore them. Thankfully, the worst they did was hit the truck with their fists.
At another town, Caleb and Konrad had the bright idea to drive across the river to go dirt roads around the protesters. I was not excited by the idea. They went in the truck and did not get stuck. The water was up to the running boards of the truck.
After a bit, they radioed that it was safe to come a certain route, so I went across the river with the van. When I got to the middle, the rear of the van started drifting down the river. The van is lower than the truck and was completely empty, so the river was strong enough to move it. Thankfully, the tires caught, and we went sloshing out. Not great for my blood pressure.
We took a long, narrow, and tremendously curvy road across the tops of the mountains. We were on that route for hours, but it was the only way around the cities blocked by protests. Twelve hours later, we arrived in Puno!
It took us only about an hour to load José’s stuff, then we had numerous stops to say goodbye to people and to do some last-minute shopping. Around 7:00 that evening, we were headed back home.
There were fewer protesters at night, but less than five hours from home, we ran up on a long line of semis. Back we tracked to find the dirt and gravel road over the mountains.
I was awake for twenty-four hours straight. Caleb and Konrad took turns driving. We found out later that Konrad didn’t rest much when he wasn’t driving because he was so worried that Caleb would fall asleep.
Caleb took over for me at 1:30 a.m. and let me sleep while they drove the rest of the way home. The van got home at around 8:00 with the truck arriving a bit later because I needed to buy a few things in Izcuchaca.
We were all completely shot after quickly unloading the truck at Esmeralda’s. We left the van for after naps. It was good to be home, and we’re glad to have José and his family here. Now to catch up on sleep.