Asuncion to Chaco Paraguay and Villamontes Bolivia
As we continue to wait (with no reason, or explanation) we start to make friends with those who are also waiting. Not all of them are not like us who are on a single parent travel.
I discover that I have been charged double what others were charged for the tickets. Through this article, you will understand why this was actually the worst bus company.
Anyway, after my discovery, I approach the management and they insist I was charged the minimum bus fare for the trip. However, they later give in to my demand and give me $5 back – whoopy-doo. The man who makes the refund ends up on our bus and I can see he thinks I am only a troublemaker.
I get help again, get out and change spots with my son. We have 2 sleeping bags and socks on, and the bus is FREEZING. I feel my toes will snap off. I need to elevate them but I have no leg space. So I throw my feet onto the back of his headrest. Oops – I hit him in the head.
So the driver gets my feet in both his hands and gives me a mighty throw. He then picks them up again and hits me! He is screaming at me. I can recognize he is telling me he will throw me off at the Frontier. Yikes – it is 2 a.m. So I curl up as best I can and suffer.
The bus stops, and a bunch of Aborigines come in. These poor folks have been waiting in the freezing cold for over 2 hours. There are kids, so I give one girl my Polo Ralph Lauren jacket. She is only about 10 years old and doesn’t take it off the whole trip.
The night starts to get worse. We head through Police; Army; Security and Immigration checks. We have Seat; Passport; Luggage and personal bag searches and checks.
I get to the Frontier at 4 a.m. and I am in fear I will be left. The Paraguay Frontier is hours from the Bolivian Border. So technically you are stamped “out” of the country, but you are still in the country. Then the fun starts. The bus breaks down. Not once but 5 times.
The driver who gave me grief has to suck and spit petrol. He glares at me, and I give him a nothing look. I will not engage in his fight. By now a new driver has moved into the seat, and he gives me leg room – nice man!
We have a break and get some fuel. It is well into the morning and we are still in the Chaco of Paraguay.
We then get a serious Bolivian border check. But it is not Immigration. Out comes the luggage. We line up in the hot sun and wait to be patted, and searched. Along with us is the other company’s bus – complete with Mennonites.
We finally hit the Bolivian Immigration. A rather obese and rude man takes my son’s hat and puts it on himself. Now my son is very clean. He has had head-lice in Fiji, and he is paranoid (he has spotted a boy on the bus we are pretty sure has them!). He also loves his hat and he does not want to part with it. So when the Immigration man puts on my son’s hat and pretends he will keep it, I fear we will have a fight and be arrested. I try to calm my son down.
Fortunately, the guy gives it back off his greasy head and whacks it back on my son’s head. But now it has his dirty hair in it and my son doesn’t want it on his head. I feel so bad for my 8-year-old. He looks like he is about to cry.
We are finally in Bolivia. The bus continues to break down. We have had over 12 stops for security inspections. We have been on this bus for 20 hours. We wanted to catch the night bus to the next town from where we get dropped off.
We then walk to the bus terminal. We discover there is a mini-van in the morning and they will collect us from the hotel.
Wonderful. We walk back and check in and discover there are only cold showers. So we rug up and go out for dinner. The whole meal each is less than $2. The room is big and clean and does have a TV. In the morning, I discover a kitchen outside. I am not sure if it is for public use, but I am sure if you asked nicely they would let you use it. They did give us bowls and spoons for breakfast.
I am already liking Bolivia! And my budget sure is.
We recommend the following budget hotel and suggest room 18 at the rear overlooking the waterway:
Residencial La Costanera
Dir. c/- German Busch e/Mendez Arcos y Sbte. Barrao Ville Montes, Bolivia
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