Okay, to be fair my plans were confused by the train that was cancelled – I didn't find out for sure until late last night and wasn't able to really do any research. This morning I woke up and talked to the hotel people who recommended I go to a teleticket at 9AM to buy a ticket on Cruz de Sur Tours. Unfortunately, I found out they were all sold out for today.
I went back to the hotel and got a phonebook to look for other tour lines. I don't have a phone and I hate talking on the phone in English, so when I noticed most of them were grouped together I decided to check out and grab a cab out to that area of town. Long story short: I spent two hours wandering the streets talking to tour place after tour place. Every single one had no room on buses to Huancayo before 10PM. Ugh.
I was literally about to give up and get a ticket for the late night trip when I spotted a place I didn't notice the first time. They were also sold out, but this nice lady told me that in fact there are tons of "normal" buses leaving constantly from Terminal Molina / Yerbatero. Crap – I realized that a few people had told me this but I didn't recognize the word "Yerbatero" and it wasn't in my dictionary so I thought they were referring to a company, not a place. This lady was the first person to add the word "Terminal" so I figured it out!
Thus I was off! Grabbed a cab to Yerbatero and as soon as I got off I was surrounded by guys trying to get me to ride their bus. It was really unexpected and a bit bizarre. When I said I was going to Huancayo it was down to two guys for a bit, one guy said his bus was leaving first. The other guy said that guy was lying to me, his bus was leaving first. Then the first guy said no, the other guy was lying and they proceeded to almost get into a fist fight over it. I stood there going "calma calma!" but they wouldn't listen, so finally I told them both to wait and that I had to use the restroom.
After the restroom, I came back and only one guy (the one who called the other a liar first) was active, so I got onto their bus. For 20 soles (~$7) I got a seven hour bus ride! The irony – the first guy wasn't lying, his bus left first (by about 10 minutes). Doh!
The bus was actually pretty nice and the trip itself was all right. It was cloudy and raining most of the way so I wasn't really able to see as much as I hoped. I did get some pictures though, and they are of course on my flickr. The bus stopped once at a restaurant with a pit bathroom, where I picked up a "tortilla de pollo" which turned out to be a big omelet of some sort. Weird.
Another long story short, I made it to Huancayo around 7:30PM… with no idea where I was going to stay. I had a taxi take me to the main plaza, then started going door to door in hotels. The first couple I tried were all full, but I eventually found a room at Hotel Kiya. I only booked it for one night, I have a lead on an interesting hostel that I will probably stay in for the next few days instead.
So, that's it… I'm pretty tired after being up at 5AM and all this drama, not to mention all the walking around carrying a 35lb pack and whatnot. Going to find some food quickly then crash out, gotta get up and meet the mototaxi tomorrow!