The bus to Otavalo

We took a bus journey from Quito to Otavalo for the weekend. This two hour journey turned into a fun, life-threatening ride which educated us on Ecuadorian road rules.

The overall journey is through some serious mountains and valleys. The driver was quite astute at when to pass on a two lane road and when he could accelerate without tipping the bus. It was a wide two lane road, but the general rule seemed to be ‘if I want to pass you, I can and you will slide into the emergency lane to let me do it’. No joke, half the time the passing was done with oncoming traffic bearing down. People just moved to the right and the bus straddled the center, dotted line until around the vehicle (picture included).

The bus passing a large truck.

Now, this seemed normal after a while, and then we overtook a lorry truck (large delivery truck), which happened to be passing a similar type of truck. Essentially, we were three wide going up a hill and into oncoming traffic. However, our seasoned bus driver knew what he was doing, ignored the flashing lights of the oncoming car, and patiently but quickly completed the double pass. Honestly, we would have won anyway against that oncoming half ton car. It is a mass to mass relationship thing.

Our bus driver shaved 30 minutes off the normal travel time, and he gave us a lesson in Ecuadorian bus travel. It was quite a wild ride.

Other notable parts of the ride included the random stopping to let vendors on to sell ice cream, pig skins, or sweet pastry type food to the passengers. The movie that was shown was a 70’s version of Sister Act where a nun constantly gets herself into trouble, in Spanish of course. Oh, and the views out the window were rather impressive (see below).

A nice view from the bus.

4 thoughts on “The bus to Otavalo

  1. I am glad I was unaware of the bus ride beforehand or I would have been on a sedative waiting for you to reach your destination. Looks like your trip is going very well and making friends everywhere.

  2. You might have explained, in your rudimentary Spanish, that your father would never drive 3-wide into oncoming traffic. That yous are Tom’s pride and life blood, and that your father is a safe, responsible driver and that “He would slit your throat!” if he ever saw you endangering his proginy that way.
    Or maybe not.

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