snapshot from a bus window

we sit on the bus in juliaca, waiting to leace for cusco.

dirty stray dogs fight raucously in the dusty streets. carts selling homemade soups out of 5 gallon plastic drums, fresh blender juices and ceviche do a brisk business as the early afternoon patrons pull up a stool, eat, and head off to the market. the soup is ladled into ceramic bowls which are then rinsed and dried; the fruit smoothies are poured into plastic bags and tied around a straw for portable drinking. vendors board the bus hawking every conceivable notion – cups of gelatine, blankets, notebooks, fruit, socks, crackers and drinks. the dust rises and falls and rises. empty brightly coloured pedicabs roll up and down, plying passengers in a lonely way. a vegetable cart with a loudspeaker ambles through, shouting his tomatoes. insistent music sounds a refrain from the tent selling mixed tapes. women with their giant bundles make their way slowly home under the weight, and bicycles and minicabs wend their way lazily around. the sun is dry and strong and hat brims are pulled forward. the ice cream man arrives with a tinkle. exhaust clouds and dissipates. old men on a nearby bench carry out animated conversation in their faded and tattered clothes. a woman carried a basket of fresh tamales, the aroma wafting up. two young girls hop on the bus nd begin unwrapping their cloth bundle on a ledge in front of our seats, take out a roasted lamb carcass and a machete, and begin hacking off juicy greasy pieces to wrap in brown paper and hand to the eager customers. the dust continues to rise and fall. the vendors move under shade.

finally, the bus coughs to life, and in a plume of smoke and rattle, we’re gone…

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