Lima is almost 4,000 km south of Venezuela on the Pan-American Highway, but all the way up through Peru and into Ecuador, next to the usual sellers of bread, snacks, fruit, and vegetables, there were a lot of Venezuelans quietly begging for help, with signs and sometimes babies in their hands.
Another sad thing is the amount of rubbish. Everywhere has signs imploring you not to leave trash, and everywhere has piles of crap piled by the roadside. Several times, we saw people literally throwing things out of car windows while stopped at junctions or tollbooths.
It seemed as though the general standard of buses declined as we went north. The bus to Pucón in Chile was pretty luxurious; the one from Lima to Trujillo was good; and then everything went downhill. Admittedly, the first two were night buses where big reclining seats must sell well, but the non-VIP buses gradually got dirtier and more cramped as we went further. In Ecuador, it seemed as though every long distance bus (and, for all we know, the local ones as well) came with a designated orator who would shout at you for the first twenty minutes before getting off. It wasn't clear to me whether they were asking for money or giving some sort of religious or political speech - but a total refusal to make eye contact worked well for me.
Different countries have different rules for their buses, too. In Chile, you hand your luggage to the conductor who puts it in the bowels of the bus and gives you a ticket. In Peru, the bus stations had a small check-in desk that took luggage for all departures (and gave you a ticket). In Ecuador, there was always a gate charging you ten cents to go to the departure area, but no fixed rules about how to get your luggage there, and nobody to check you weren't stealing other people's bags when you took them off the bus. It all seemed to work pretty well in the end, though.