I have the gracefulness of a two-legged donkey. I blame this on the fact that I was born two months early and cross-eyed. They correlate. I was born with the primordial hand-eye coordination of a baby having missed essential belly time– thus, my cross-eyed ungainly self. As I am now 5´8¨ (praise my mother’s sagacity in gorging me with whole milk for the eighteen years I resided in her house) and an elephantine beast in 96% of countries worldwide, I consider myself a fairly impervious force.
Photo by Scott Parks
That is what led me to procure a “mas economico” bus ticket for the fourteen-hour overnight journey from Nazca to Cuzco, Peru. I miscalculated my traveling durability as lateral to that of Superman.
I arrived laden with bags at the bus station at 9:30pm for a 10:00pm ride. I presented my ticket with the pomp of a Miss America contestant. The Peruvian woman inundated me with strings of Spanish and I was able to decipher that the bus had departed without me five minutes earlier. She rustled from the room as fast as a Barry Bonds sprint and accosted a cab. I bunted my bag and myself into the seat and chased the bus to another station where I subsequently waited 35 minutes before departure.
Upon bus infiltration, I spotted a local woman and her bags in my seat. She did not comprehend my Mexican ‘Spanglish’ attempts (an appendage of living in California), so I installed myself in the only available seat in the bus’s rear. Instantly upon sitting, excrement essence enclosed me, a blitzkrieg to my nostrils, eyes, and skin more swiftly than it takes my favorite Peruvian-Turrets bartender to scream profanities at me. The stench was a nauseating combination of excrement and vomit emanating from behind the bathroom stall’s closed door. It seeped through the back of the bus, reeking more than a human flatuating a dead rat after two weeks.
I mentally prepared for fourteen hours in Gringo hell. As the hours compiled, the night pierced glaciers. I fastened the windows shut only to feel regurgitation recapitulate in my stomach. This was worse than my five-year-old self slipping and falling in a massive lake of elephant excrement at the circus. I concluded breeding icicles from my skin was preferential to the fetid festering flavor. I opened the windows and my body consequently propagated paralysis.
Hours later, I cleft my comatose self with the revolting realization that I was going to pee. I sat with my arms clamped around my knees and unable to maneuver my muscles. I debated whether peeing on myself or in Satan’s Closet was the more desirable option. The urine might heat my lower body. Unless, of course, my urine coagulated as frost, which I considered an 85% probability.