The Taxi Chronicles – Part 3

Feb 26, 2012

After a wonderful cultural day in the community of Taray with our home stay families from Ccaccaccollo, we walked across a foot bridge and then into the town of Pisac.

Foot bridge Taray, Peru
Foot bridge Taray, Peru

I thought that the bridge was for pedestrian traffic only, but quickly found out that the rickety old bridge was used for tuk tuks too. Yikes! Better get out of the way and off the bridge. The river is raging below!

In Pisac, we sat down for coffee and dessert at a cafe and for a breath of civilization after having spent 48 hours in Ccaccaccollo which was a pretty big adjustment for all of us.

After dessert, it was time to head back to our home stay families to tuck into bed for the night. Andres (our G Adventures guide), walked out to the main road and began talking to the taxi drivers to find one who would take all six of us to Ccaccaccollo. It was a bit of a challenge because most of the taxis were cars, not vans. And, most of them were hoping for fares headed to Cusco where they could get return business to Pisac, not to Ccaccaccollo which there would be no chance of getting someone to hire them to come back down. Not to mention that it was night and the road up the mountain was dangerous in the day time!

Andres finally found a driver willing to do the trip. Edward stuffed himself in the front seat where there would be the most room for his long legs. The girls smooshed in the back seat and that left Steve and Andres to hop in the trunk … well, more like the hatchback part, not really a trunk. It was a little like sardines for the next 30-45 minutes around big turns, up steep hills and in the dark. I was glad that I was looking forward and not sitting in the hatchback because it seemed even scarier to think of not being able to see what was in front of you and the height that we were traveling up and up and up!

It very much made me stop and appreciate all of the safety rules we have in Canada that are just not even considered in other countries! Seat belts are almost never worn in Peru. Maybe be a very responsible driver and possibly for children, but generally speaking, most passengers do not wear seat belts. It is quite common for there to be several extra people piled in a car than there are seats for. People ride in the trunks / hatchbacks of cars or on the open back of a half tonne truck without even thinking twice about it. Children sit on adult’s laps, or in the front seat. There are no booster seats or car seats for young ones.

It really makes you think when you start to realize all of the differences and the advances that we have in Canada in comparison.

About 3/4’s of the way up the steep mountain to Ccaccaccollo, we met another taxi coming down the long winding road in the opposite direction. Let me just say I was very thankful to have been on the inside of the road instead of nearing the edge of a cliff. The cars stopped dead in their tracks and then inched by each other nearly scraping paint off the sides of each other’s vehicles. It was incredibly nerve wracking just to see it take place and absolutely amazing that it could be done!

A couple of minutes later, our taxi driver let us off at the community plaza and we all went our separate directions to our homes. I crossed my fingers for him that he wouldn’t meet any further traffic on the way down the mountain because once was enough stress for anyone!

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