Forget spending money on adrenaline rushes like skydiving, mountain climbing or roller coasters. In Lima, for only one sol (~$0.30) you can take a ride in a micro bus, a thrilling ride that may end where you are going — or at your last destination.
Almost daily, you hear about people dying in accidents with micro buses. And why? Because the drivers operate their vehicles like twelve-year-olds on their first joyride. They pack up to 20 people into a small minivan, then drive from stop to stop taking the curves on two wheels and barely missing the other cars on the road. Forget stopping for pedestrians, in Lima the cars always have the right of way. You either jump out of the way — or (don’t) live with the consequences.
Call me crazy, but I’m one of the few people who loves riding the micros. You have to jump on and off while the vehicles are still moving. If you don’t get a seat, you have to stand hunched in the low-ceilinged van with your back in a knot while hanging onto the railing for dear life. And try not to fall. Because with all the sudden starts and stops, you’re thrown around like a squash ball in the tight space. All the while listening to cheesy Latin music on the radio, and incessant honking all the vehicles your micro almost hit. Whoever has the boldest driving style wins.
But just the same, I’m always happy when I finally reach my stop. Not so much for having made it there alive, but because I can finally unfold my back, push all the joints back into the position they are supposed to be, and stretch.