The 24-hour bus ride was delayed by only about 16 hours. Not an exciting trip to report, but the view toward the end of the ride, by Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) was nice.
Before I had arrived, Nadia had asked if I wanted to go on a tour. I said sure. I didn’t know that it would mean a 4:00 AM pick-up time the morning after I arrived.
Nadia and I waited for the van, she with her big mug of coca tea. The pick-up time came and went. She kept going to other streets to see if the van might be over there. At 4:45 AM, it turned out that the van was around the corner.
Into the van. Off on the trip? Not exactly.
In the van, Nadia was sitting behind me. We were having mild, tired conversation.
[Change to present tense.]
Literally, less than 2 minutes after entering the van, I hear a huge noise in the front of the van. I turn sharply and see a massive break in the windshield. I have no clue what happened. Everyone else is murmuring. After a brief breath, the driver starts heading off. I am not quite sure where we’re going. I see three options, in my head:
1) We’re going to get a new van.
2) They need to find someone to talk to about this, i.e. a higher manager.
3) We’re going to go on the trip, anyway.
We drive along, when someone in the van yells and points at a truck that is parked far into a dirt lot.
I figure that maybe we’ve stopped to find another person to talk to about getting another van.
Nope. The situation becomes clear: Someone threw a huge rock or many rocks at the van. And the driver that was sitting in the truck is one of the people.
Meanwhile, people start yelling about shadowy figures that are off in the distance, saying that those people came from the truck and ran off.
The driver of the truck sits in his seat, glaring. One of the tour guys calls the cops (again?) and we wait. We’re parallel to the truck. The driver gets out and knocks on the door of the van. The women next to me inside the van open their eyes widely. No one lets the driver in. The driver gets back in his truck and it’s clear that we’re in for a ride.
The driver turns the truck on. We then go diagonally to corner him off. It looks like it’s possible that there’s an alley or street directly behind the truck. I wonder if the driver will reverse that way.
The driver keeps trying to find a way to get out; we keep adjusting, until we are in a ‘T’ with the truck. Nadia yells that I should move, as the truck driver ramming us does not seem outside of the realm of possibility.
I get out of my seat that’s close to the potential ramming side. This whole time, I’ve considered videoing or taking pix, but question the wisdom of doing something that might be a catalyst for the driver to do something crazy.
Then, the cops show up. They handcuff the driver and take him to the police station. The van that we’re in is also driven to the police station. We sit around, waiting for more information. Turns out, there is no other van, so we can either change the day or get our money back.
People laugh as I do my standard Roni pic with the broken glass. Then they drop everyone off, I go back up to my current accommodation and go to sleep.
Additional info: Nadia later says that the people off in the distance apparently had rocks, and if the police hadn’t come, they would have pelted us some more.