The Valley Race

I think it was about March when we heard rumors of planned construction on the road between Cuzco and Curahuasi that was planning to take the rest of the year.  This is good news!  The road needs help.  When it goes through the valley near the Apurimac River, it is nothing but gravel and dust.  Oh no!  This is bad news, because the road will only be open for 30 minutes at 9 AM, 12 PM, and 3 PM during the day.  If you miss this window, you will wait three hours for the next opening.  We travel to Cuzco every 6 weeks to get cash (You cannot get cash in Curahuasi.  We do not have ATMs.) and to buy groceries.  This trip and its convenience, or lack of it, affects us.  I am traveling it even more now as we try and get our new house fixed up with conveniences like hot water and kitchens.  When you travel to Cuzco, you try and get down in the Apurimac valley before, but not too long before the window you are aiming for.

The calm before the storm. We are all waiting for that road to open so we can start the race to the other side of the valley.

The calm before the storm. We are all waiting for that road to open so we can start the race to the other side of the valley.

Then you wait for the rush to begin, because when they open the road it is like Death Race 2000 as everyone rushes to try and pass all the semi trucks and buses that invariably move much slower through the construction.  Plus, if you get stuck behind one of those trucks going up the other side of the valley, you will never pass them because of how curvy the roads are.  So when you see the road opening, all the drivers run to their cars like Speed Racer, hop in as quickly as they can and start passing each other on the left and the right with horns blazing.  It is a macho test of bravery; one that I invariably back down from at some point as I look at my sweet unbuckled children in the rear view mirror.  So I will generally find myself behind some slow semi as it traverses the worsening detours through the valley.  This construction has added an hour to an already long trip.  I cannot wait until they are done.

Can I squeeze through that gap to get in front of these slow pokes?

Can I squeeze through that gap to get in front of these slow pokes?

2 thoughts on “The Valley Race

  1. Definitely a fun memory of the trip from this summer. When the traffic jam starts moving, cars merge from the right, from the left, and at all speeds. Muy exciting! Do be careful.

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  2. Fun post, Will. Another point of interest is the people who knock at your window selling corn on the cob with cheese, fruit salad, drinks, and chicken with rice. Who knows how long they’ve been out there with their food products?

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