When the bus seats get filled here in Peru, they keep on cramming the people in anyway. They’ll cram people in all the way up to the bus door. And the most annoying part about it is that about five seats back, the bus remains completely clear and open in the ailse. Normally, if I were one of those standing, I would simply push my way to the back of the bus so that I could be as far away as possible from the front door, not to mention the front windshield with no hand holds.

But if you have to get off the bus at an earlier stop than the bus station, your best bet is to stick close to the front. Just the other day, Matt and I had to ride for ten harrowing minutes in the front of the bus from Coya to Pisac. It was just a short ride. The bus was crammed, but they waived us on anyway. The conductor accidentally closed the bus door on Matt’s fingers. Neither of us had anywhere to hang on except the emergency exit in the ceiling of the bus.

All I could see besides the driver and the pavement in front of me was the bus speedometer, which was broken. The driver was flooring it too, passing other busses and cars and he had to squeal to a stop at one point to avoid hitting a dog. I felt like a monkey with my arms all stretched out, short as I am. I held onto the cracks in the emergency exit for dear life.

The bus came to a stop in Pisac. I was one of the first in line to get off. Just then I looked one last time into the bus windshield. Hanging from the rearview mirror was a little stuffed monkey, arms stretched above his head, just like mine had been.