Chasing a book in Cusco

You´re on page 120 of a new book. You´re loving it.

So what happens when, in an early morning daze following a sleepless night bus journey, you leave it behind, firmly wedged inside the folding table? You go on a chase around Cusco, that´s what. You´re not damn well giving up on the literature or the S/.30 it cost you only a few days earlier. Let the mini adventure begin…

You arrive back at the bus terminal and can´t get out of the taxi and into the now deserted building quickly enough. Blank expressions. Limited Spanish finally makes a breakthrough. The bus has gone to be serviced. ´You need go…´, says the girl on reception, stalling to pull up GoogleTranslate on her computer, ´…you need go tap.´ She turns the screen. Sure enough, it says tap. Grifo is tap.

So you take the little note on which she has scribbled Grifo Los Sauses and jump into another taxi that costs you a further S/.3 and drops you in the wrong place. Yes, it´s a fuel station (you´ve figured out – remembered – that grifo is fuel station) but it´s clearly the wrong one.

A guy points at the area behind the city airport. ´Grifo Los Sauses es delante del aeropuerto… el otro lado.´ You need to get to the other side of the airport so you set off on foot down a dusty side street. It can´t be too far. And then you hit a dead-end and have to backtrack and get in yet another taxi.

The driver is a bit bemused by your drop-off choice but he gets you there. And there are two CIAL buses. Yes! But which one did you travel in: red or blue? There´s an office with some smartly dressed people who must surely be able to help but they shake their heads; polite but unwilling to get involved. Crazy tourists on a book hunt.

Two guys are cleaning the buses. You manage to talk yourself on to the bus and back to your upstairs seat and there she is, in all her glory, still snug and undisturbed and largely unread. Result.

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