It was just another routine rest stop on a Bolivian bus ride.
My wife stayed on board while I went to find a toilet.
But, upon my return, I was horrified to find an empty curb where our bus had just been parked…
Um… what do I do now?!
As my panic began to grow, I spun around looking for any sign of our four-wheeled transport.
That’s when I heard a familiar voice calling my name from afar.
“Greg… Greg… Over here!”
Moments later, I located Carrie sitting on the edge of a shoddy wooden barge a few dozen feet from shore.
Next to her was our bus.
. . .
This video is of my reaction as soon as I realized what was going on!
My mind quickly raced through my options
A running jump across 10 feet of water could reunite us…
…but I left my Superman cape at home.
Or, I could run through the water to reach the barge…
…it didn’t appear to be more than waist-deep.
Fortunately, from across the water, I heard my dear wife’s calming voice say,
“Don’t worry; no one else from the bus is here either.”
At this point I had a choice…
- Submit to my feelings of complete terror and helplessness; or,
- Accept the situation and know that it will eventually make one helluva story.
. . .
Fortunately, that line of thinking calmed me down and I chose option #2.
But now, I was left with the mystery of how to reunite myself with my bus and my wife…
When all else fails, ask the locals
I knew there had to be another way across Lake Titicaca; so, I found a few locals and asked,
“Excuse me. My wife and my bus are floating away on that boat.
What do I do?”
A few non-committal shoulder shrugs later, a friendly woman pointed me towards a small motorboat that was quickly filling up with passengers.
The captain told me to give him two Bolvianos (about 28 cents) and have a seat.
A boatload of nervous passengers
At this point, several of my fellow bus riders were on board and acting far more nervous than I.
“Hurry up; let’s go! The bus is going to leave,” they shouted at the captain.
“Tranquilo, tranquilo,” he replied.
Finally, with the motorboat full of passengers from our bus, we set off on a three-minute ride across Lake Titicaca.
The trip was so fast that we landed on the other side before the bus.
A happy ending
Another few minutes would pass before I saw Carrie walking down the street.
Our bus was not far behind; although, we had a few more minutes before it finally left.
A few days later, we learned my separate motorboat voyage was, indeed, a normal part of the bus ride between Copcacbana and La Paz.
However, the driver usually tells the passengers what’s about to happen.
Doing it any other way leads to lots of frightened locals…
…and one American watching his wife float away.