Too Much Bus for Me
I spent nearly this entire past week on a bus. I'm through with ridding busses for a little while.
I started in Puerto Natales, Chile after our Torres del Paine adventure and took a bus to El Calafate, Argentina. There William and I split up so that he could spend more time backpacking in Patagonia and I could spend more time Tango dancing in Buenos Aires.
The idea was to get to El Calafate by 4PM and buy the 5PM ticket up to Rio Gallegos. Our bus didn't make it to El Calafate until after 5PM, so I had to wait until the next day to catch the next bus out.
So I stayed at a hostel in El Calafate for about $8.
The next day I was able to catch a bus to Rio Gallegos. The bus got to Rio Gallegos in time to buy another ticket to Comodoro Rivadavia for a little later that day. I bought the all-night bus ride so that I could get transportation and accommodation in the same ticket.
The bus left the station at around 9PM bound for Comodoro. The winds were strong. I was sitting on the top floor and in the very front of the double-decker bus. It's such a cool view from up there.
It was also a little scary because the winds were so strong that the huge windshields were making cracking sounds. At first I thought it was just me who thought the winds were going to blow out the windows, but then the bus attendant came up and pulled the blinds over all the windows so that in the event they were blown out, we wouldn't get cut as badly.
The winds were rocking the bus back and forth. It felt like the bus was going to get blown over. Eventually, after being on the road for about thirty minutes, the bus pulled over to wait out the wind storm. As we sat there, the bus we being blown every which way.
Finally the bus attendant came up and told everyone that the winds were not going to subside and that the bus was going back to the station.
There wasn't going to be another bus to Comodoro until the next day at 9PM. So I whipped out my ground pad and sleeping bag at the bus station and slept near an automated check-out station that I had my laptop chained up to.
The good thing about being stuck at the bus station for over 26 hours is that they had fast and free internet so I was able to get a lot of work done.
In Comodoro I stayed with a Couch Surfer family that took me around the town and drove me out to the beach to see the sunset. I got to do a little Tango and West Coast Swing with Tamara who lives in their house.
It was a blast. I really wish I hadn't already bought my bus ticket to Buenos Aires because I would have loved to have stayed with them for the whole weekend and go dancing on the town.
But alas, I had a bus to catch at 9AM the next morning bound for Buenos Aires. I went to bed at 4:30AM after hanging out with a bunch of new Argentinean friends. I set my iPod alarm to wake me up at 7:30AM so that I could get some groceries before the bus left.
I don't know why I thought things would be different this time, but whenever I stay up past 3AM or so, I need a pretty stinking big wake up call in order to wake up before 8AM the next day. A tiny iPod making a "tink, tink" sound ain't going to cut it.
Needless to day, I woke up to the voice of the host mother saying, "Samuel - isn't your bus going to leave soon?" It was 8:35AM. Crap! So I threw all my stuff together as quickly as I could and said a quick goodbye to everyone. The daughter Maria Eugenia walked me to the bus station where I boarded the bus just in time.
Fast forward through the longest bus ride of my life (25 solid hours), I'm now in Buenos Aires staying with Benny in his awesome gated 11th-floor condo with a pool and gym. Benny is a Couch Surfer from Ireland who speaks around 7 languages fluently.
I've just talked a little bit with Benny so far, but we share all the same interests - languages, computers, dancing, and of course traveling. Here's a little video he made for his website, "Around the World in 80 Mays."
And speaking of videos, our video podcast Episode 12 is due tomorrow. And in case you haven't seen the teaser for Episode 13, here it is as well.
And yes, I am aware the date says "November 24, 2009" in the video and not 2008. In case you're wondering, Episode 13 is not coming out next year, but this month.