07.12.2011 - 08.12.2011 74 °F
If you were to take a Greyhound or Peter Pan, say from Boston to Miami, it´ll sure be a suicidal inclination and a sure prescription to your nearest psychologist to discuss your masochistic act outs.
But, in the advanced country of Argentina, it is a luxurious and a preferred manner of getting yourself out of windy Patagonia into the welcoming arms of 25 degree weather of El Bolson.
At midnight, after bidding goodbye both to my awesome companion for the past 3 weeks, as well as to our German friends, we all went our separate ways: they flew to their respective homes, jobs and friends, I got on a 23 hour bus ride.
It was midnight, and armed with a glass of excellent wine shared with the German couple over arugula gnocchi (seriously, where the hell this amazing vegetarian meal appeared amidst Patagonia´s barren lands will forever remain a mystery), I entered the bus.
The initial excitement of who will sit next to you, maybe some cute guy who will magically turn into your next travel companion, were crushed when a somber Argentinean girl set next to me and barely nodded in response to my uber-friendly ´Hi´.
Fine, I plugged in my headphones and with a little help of breath-rhythm-setting from the snorer behind me, I fell into a happy 7 hour sleep oblivion.
We woke up to a breakfast service on the bus, cutely wrapped cake of dulche de leche (hey, who am I to refuse traditional breakfasts) and some matte tea. Great, 8 hours, done.
I don´t know what the Argentineans do to their buses, but dare I say, they are actually comfortable. There is enough room for your ass to fully situate itself, and for both of your elbows to actually rest side by side, rather than in a semi'-folded praying position they find themselves on a Greyhound or god forbid the Fung Wua. The seat cushion is actually cushiony, and the seat reclines. Even though there was no option in El Chalten for a full reclining seat, the semi-cama was not bad at all.
As we drove, I looked out the window. It is amazing, despite having gone 8 hours, and in fact, for the next 10 hours, the land was entirely barren. Not a mountain peak, a tree or a bush to rest your eye. Just miles and miles of dry, sprawled out steppe.
I remember trying to play a game with myself that I won´t take a bite into a cookie they gave us until I spot at least 10 things in the land, and after 10 min drive and seeing only 1 lonely sheep, I quickly gave in to the tasty treat.
So we drove 4 more hours. And then we stopped. We stopped in a town called Perito Moreno. Yes, it´s named just like the incredible tourist-central glacier in El Calafate. I wonder how many tourists inadvertently find themselves mistakenly in this forgotten place.
But yes, we stopped in Perito Moreno, and turns out that the bus was going to stop here for 2 hours. Yes, entirely unplanned. Why, well, because the bus driver thought to drop off 2 passengers in a town an hour away into the other direction, so we had to wait for him to return. No, he never tried to make up the time. No, we weren´t stupid enough to expect a schedule.
So, on a lovely Wednesday afternoon, at about noon, I joined some Israeli guy and went to town in search of lunch.
Wednesday apparently though is the day when Perito Moreno is on break. Everything was closed and the entire population of (1000?) was on the street parading (reminded me of Russian mandatory demonstrations where they took your attendance).
We got back on the bus and what began was a daunting movie procession. I am completely impressed that the buses cater to their audiences, airing movies in English with Spanish subtitles. But, someone needs to advise these people on their movie choice. After the ride, I am ever more thankful to the American airlines´ strict preference for the PG-13 choices.
We were first shown the Whistleblower -- about a cop uncovering Ukrainian women´s sex trafficking into Bosnia, really sad and disturbing.
Then, Orphan came on, about a girl gone on a crazy killing spree, next followed Ironclad - a gory showing of tongue cutting and bloody flesh.
Honestly, when Justin Timberlake finally appeared next to Cameron Diaz in ´Bad Teacher´-- I almost squealed with delight.
Well, eventually, we arrived to El Bolson, with its warm weather and pretty happy looking fruits in the stores.
Of course, immediately next morning I jumped on quite a hard hike, a route that goes for about 2 hours from steep gravel path to even steeper and more finer gravel path (at least on the way down, the only way to do it was literally go on your ass as if you were on a sled, but I wasn´t, and my pants certainly now reflect it).
So, the next chapter has indeed begun, and so far so good.