Guys, This Bus Sucks

 

The bus is late. This shouldn’t be a surprise, but it is.

As a clunky green giant pulls up, looking a bit like a dilapidated, heavily curtained refrigerator from the 70’s, the contrast between my ride and the other, sparkly, shiny, clean and friendly Argentine buses is clear.

Shit.

Only 4 hours in another passenger asks when we’ll be stopping for dinner.

“Tomorrow” says the bus driver. Oh god.

There’s a bathroom on board with a sign that ominously warns that one may urinate, but any more extreme efforts would be for naught. Taking a look inside I can see why. The wall is missing and the toilet is already clogged.

And there’s no running water.

We pull over at a gas station to refuel and I run to the convenience store with half of the other passengers, hoping for a bathroom and some food.

We’re disappointed, walking back to the bus with a rag-tag collection of day-old medialunas and questionable-looking spinach quinches. The last of the group run to catch the bus, but I’m pretty sure two people were left behind, their shouts unheard by the driver as we pull out, their empty seats a warning to the rest of us.

There’s a cloud in the sky that looks a whole lot like a shark, with a tiny little cloud out in front that looks a whole lot like me. Nice work clouds. I need one more thing to worry about right now. Real nice.

It’s getting colder and there are mountains in the distance, half-concealed by clouds. We drive through a small town, the first we’ve seen in a while, and all the power lines are convered in moss and verdigris, hidden not by clouds but inattention.

Like in every other town I’ve been to in Argentina, there are stray dogs of all shapes and size running around here. There’s a pair of dogs that pony up to the side of the bus while we wait for a horse to get out of the middle of the road. One of the dogs looks up at me helplessly as the other starts to urinate on its leg.

I understand buddy, I think discontentedly. I know exactly how you feel right now.

I’m waiting for the bus driver to come back to my seat and slap me in the face, the only thing I can think of that would really ice this cake of horribleness that’s been baking for the past 16 hours. I had to check my computer’s clock to see the time: as I was checking it, my watch died.

Just 56 hours to go before I arrive in Lima.

36 comments

  1. Oh man! Let the travel stories begin!!! Wow. Lesson: Carlos is fired from ticket duty. Ha!

    Do we get to hear about the second part of the bus ride?

    Oh, and I’m glad you made it to Lima and weren’t kidnapped by the chicken bus or anything!

  2. Oh man! Let the travel stories begin!!! Wow. Lesson: Carlos is fired from ticket duty. Ha!

    Do we get to hear about the second part of the bus ride?

    Oh, and I’m glad you made it to Lima and weren’t kidnapped by the chicken bus or anything!

  3. “….hidden not by clouds but by inattention.” Just swinging by to let you know you’re one hell of a writer. When you get to Lima, just start drinking pisco by the liter. Everything will work out justttt fine!

  4. “….hidden not by clouds but by inattention.” Just swinging by to let you know you’re one hell of a writer. When you get to Lima, just start drinking pisco by the liter. Everything will work out justttt fine!

  5. Hah! That was fun to read. My nomadic lifestyle starts in India this March. I’m looking forward to similar experiences! Anything beats an office cubicle.

  6. Hah! That was fun to read. My nomadic lifestyle starts in India this March. I’m looking forward to similar experiences! Anything beats an office cubicle.

  7. Does it make me evil that I laughed out loud when I read this? What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger…and smarter. Next time, take a look at the bus before committing to 72 hours.

    Great vignette. Hope you’re enjoying Lima and get a chance to go to Barranco.

  8. Does it make me evil that I laughed out loud when I read this? What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger…and smarter. Next time, take a look at the bus before committing to 72 hours.

    Great vignette. Hope you’re enjoying Lima and get a chance to go to Barranco.

  9. Oh….what is travel without great travel stories. This isn’t “right now fun” as it happens but it will be “look back on it fun” in a few days, weeks and year.

    Next time, maybe a grab a flight that allows free stopovers. LAN and TACA both allow free stops in Lima en route to LAX (as well as a few other spots along the way if you like) That doesn’t do you a hell of a lot of good now though! Safe travels.

  10. Oh….what is travel without great travel stories. This isn’t “right now fun” as it happens but it will be “look back on it fun” in a few days, weeks and year.

    Next time, maybe a grab a flight that allows free stopovers. LAN and TACA both allow free stops in Lima en route to LAX (as well as a few other spots along the way if you like) That doesn’t do you a hell of a lot of good now though! Safe travels.

  11. I think on a bus ride that long an at least decent toilet is a necessity. At least for me it would be! You are quite the renegade traveler.

  12. I think on a bus ride that long an at least decent toilet is a necessity. At least for me it would be! You are quite the renegade traveler.

  13. I think on a bus ride that long an at least decent toilet is a necessity. At least for me it would be! You are quite the renegade traveler.

  14. Well, transportation tend to be that way in most places around Latin America. I have to use one of those to go to Pachuca when I’m sent there by my employer.

    I know it sucks beyond any words, but if someone can endure it, it’s you man. Good luck and I hope you can get some decent rest once you arrive!

  15. Well, transportation tend to be that way in most places around Latin America. I have to use one of those to go to Pachuca when I’m sent there by my employer.

    I know it sucks beyond any words, but if someone can endure it, it’s you man. Good luck and I hope you can get some decent rest once you arrive!

  16. Well, transportation tend to be that way in most places around Latin America. I have to use one of those to go to Pachuca when I’m sent there by my employer.

    I know it sucks beyond any words, but if someone can endure it, it’s you man. Good luck and I hope you can get some decent rest once you arrive!

  17. Hahahaha!

    Reminds me of a train
    I took from Banngkok
    to Chiang Mai.

    This is what makes travel
    exciting though at the end
    of the day.

    The adventure.

    We never know what’s gonna
    come next and that’s what life
    is all about. Travel just
    highlights that for us.

    Good stuff!

    Wilding Penderis.

  18. Hahahaha!

    Reminds me of a train
    I took from Banngkok
    to Chiang Mai.

    This is what makes travel
    exciting though at the end
    of the day.

    The adventure.

    We never know what’s gonna
    come next and that’s what life
    is all about. Travel just
    highlights that for us.

    Good stuff!

    Wilding Penderis.

  19. Hahahaha!

    Reminds me of a train
    I took from Banngkok
    to Chiang Mai.

    This is what makes travel
    exciting though at the end
    of the day.

    The adventure.

    We never know what’s gonna
    come next and that’s what life
    is all about. Travel just
    highlights that for us.

    Good stuff!

    Wilding Penderis.

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  23. This post is soo hilarious! im sorry, i shouldn’t laugh of your misery right there but i know exactly what you mean :p

  24. Awesome. I successfully survived a 17-hour bus ride from Uyuni to La Paz two years ago – zero bathrooms and non-reclining seats. But luckily there *were* silver miners drinking rubbing alcohol mixed with Fanta and peeing into Pringes cans!

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