It was a fresh cool wind that blew in that Sunday evening. It was almost as if nature itself was signaling a change in the air and we felt uneasy but weren’t exactly sure why. The day had passed without much to see or do and a dreaded bout of ‘Squirt Alert’ (see previous post from Cachueta) had left me drained, tired and a bit raw round the nether regions. The bus terminal was particularly busy with travelers, most of whom were locals and the few gringos that were there, stuck out like nuns at an orgy. Local old ladies, donned in traditional dress, were aggressively selling their wares of knitted blankets and clothes.
The price of the ticket from Villazón to Potosí varied depending on the quality of the bus (from rust bucket to brand new double decker) and the number of intermediate stops, so we went for the express luxury option of 8 hours in a semi-cama (half bed) coach supposedly with toilet, DVD, drinks service, air-con etc. The ticket agent was coughing and spluttin’ everywhere as she hand wrote out the tickets, but thankfully there was a glass screen between her and us to block the north easterly gale of flem and mucous that spewed forth. The bus was full, so we would not be able to sit together, but figured we’d be able to swap seats with someone, once we got onboard. The bus was due to leave at 7pm and arrive in Potosí at 3am, where at 4am, we would get a 3 hour onward connection east, to the of city Sucre. 7.20pm came and went and we could see our bus sitting in front of the terminal but no driver in sight. We went to information to get a status update and were told ˝Yes, the bus will leave at 7pm˝. ˝ But its 7.20pm now˝ we said, which was shot down with a surly ˝7pm Bolivian time – NOT Argentinian time!˝, so we just figured that Bolivia wasn’t too punctual and made our way to the bus and waited patiently.