Imagine a bus in Bolivia. You’re lying back while a Bolivian beauty massages every muscle in your body. It feels like everything is vibrating. A fast percussion rythm is playing in the background, changing volume constantly. An Argentinian gaucho serves you a fine piece of beef, marinaded in garlic sauce. Outside a black landscape passes by, now and then huge caterpillars glow in the dark. A nice breeze comes from the wooden fan above you. Suddenly you feel cold. The masseuse turns into the gaucho, he grabs your head and bangs it against the seat. You want to complain, ‘What the…’. Again he grabs your head, twists your neck and pushes you against your seat. You wake up.
No, you don’t. There is no sleep in the Bolivian bus. You can’t escape, not even into your imagination.
Imagine a bus in Bolivia. You’re sitting in the last row. It feels like you are constantly rumbling over railway tracks supplemented by the ten seconds after the wheels of an airplane touch the ground during a really rough landing. But it doesn’t take ten seconds, you are here for hours. Your seat is not reclinable and has no armrests. There is absolutely nothing to hold on to. There is no light, the night is pitchblack, the only thing you can see are groups of workers in heavy machineries next to the dirt-track the bus is driving on. A woman a few rows in front eats garlic. Probably with something else, but all you can smell is one overwhelming scent. The people in front of you open their window every twenty minutes and the cold air of a night in the Andes streams back at you. You freeze, sudden bumps shoot you up in the air and slam you back onto your seat. Your head dashes in all directions, crashes almost constantly against the headrest. Your neck is stiff and your legs hurt from holding balance against the seat in front of you. There is nothing to hold on to.
Imagine a bus in Bolivia. There is not sleep in the Bolivian bus. You can’t escape, not even into your imagination.
You look at your watch. 15 hours to go.