Monday, January 9, 2012

30.5 hours In A Bus : Part 2

Saturday Jan 7, 2012

11:15 am
I just finished letting Van Morrison ease my way into the day with Hard Nose To The Highway and Period of Transition. I personally think that Wild Children from Hard Nose To The Highway is they style of Van Morrison Song I could listen to for hours. Sure everyone likes Browned Eyed Girl and Moondance but Wild Children is Van at his very emotional best. Give it a listen  here and you will know what I mean.

12:00 pm
Our bus not only starts to slow it jerks to a halt. SHEEP!! There are sheep everywhere and especially all over the road. We are driving through what appears to be large tracks of farm and ranchland, however it is still scrubby brush. It is sprawling and massive. From going 100km to 15km our trip now is going to take a bit longer. I am talking sheep for miles. I have to think that TAQSA does not account from sheep when it makes up its time table and itinerary.

1:15 pmLunch Stop at a farily non discript shop. The bus pulled off the main road to get here so this is a planned rest stop. They had pizza, sandwiches, candies and fridges full of drinks. There was a market around the corner so I took off for that (again not being a part of the herd just keeps me on my toes). I got back just as another bus was pulling in. I did see someone with Oreos so I lemminged up and rushed in. The look on the faces of the ladies working behind the counter was a combination of excitment and fear. Not because of me for gosh sake, but for the arrival of the second bus. How can you not be ready ladies. These buses come to your shop as a planned stop and they come every day. This is common everywhere I have been.
My oreos disappeared in about 3 minutes. They are usually washed down by a cold, sweet loving pepsi however this time It was bottled water. I was told I have to stay healthy so I am back on that path after a bit of a deviation.

3:00 pm
Brunch?  We pulled into a gas station where neatly dressed guys came out to serve us another meal. Pretty good cold chicken and rice with apple juice. I did notice the insane lineup for gas. I counted 31 cars. No explanation just an observation.

4:00 pm
Mountains. I see mountains. Well that was 24 hours of pain free bus travel! However we passed a road sign that said Bariloche 154 and an arrow pointing right. We went left. I realized my senses were leaving me because we entered a National Park and another nameless town and I did not have the energy to find out what they were. Daydreaming was working for me. The bus station was large and modern and it was busy enough, but who cares. Lets move along, nothing to see here.
I just watched Ritcheous Kill with De Niro and Pacino, it wasn't aweful however three scenes with De Niro having sex with Carla Gugino is just not right - EVER.
We spent what seemed like an odd amount of time at this bus station however I just found out there is a huge forest fire in the valley near El Bolson, the town we were heading to. This is going to be interesting.

5:45 pm
Along the way to El Bolson you could start to see the smoke coming from the valley and as it got darker you could see the glow of the fire. The smoke was massive and blocking the sun. Another powerful reminder from Mother Nature about who is in charge. We were not in any danger and that was 2 days ago so stop worring Meema! We had gotten to a cross roads and of course we were suppose to go straight. Yeah straight into the firestorm! We went right and around the gates of hell. The road was definately beautiful and scenenic but not designed for a huge double decker cruiser bus. We crawled slowly up and down narrow but safe roads, across very narrow bridges and through some of the best scenery of the trip. I was stuck to me seat, Ipod a blasting and enjoy the bumping and pounding. However later that night and the next night I paid for this simple pleasure with pain in places I never new exisited. Time was now not relevant.

8:30 pm
I have become one with Seat 31. After a bumpy 3 hours I could see the main highway and it happened again. Bariloche 125 km to the right, we went left. COME ON! We had to back track to El Bolson about 20 km. I did no research on this town but it is a jump off point for camping and trekking in the area. More then a few people told me it was filled with hippies from the 70s. Hippies from the 70s? Well I was going to get into Bariloche much later than I had planned but we were close and I was ready to get off the bus in El Bolson just to get off, however seat 31 had a strangle hold on my senses.

10:40 pm
Bariloche!! I arrived alive but there is an Irish pub near my hostel and I am going to find it. I jumped in a cab to get to the Patanuk Lake Hostel, the only place on the lake here and I was not disappointed. My room had a huge picture window overlooking the lake. If it wasnt for the 7 other people in the room it would have been amazing. Budget Travel is starting to wear on me with these dorms. I am looking forward to getting back to the poorer countires of South America so I can get private rooms again. However if this is my biggest concern right now I am doing ok. I tossed my bags on my bed, walked double time to the Wilkenny Irish pub and caught the end of the Saints/Lions game.

If you think these past 2 posts have been boring, well you should have been on the bus! Seriously it was not as brutal as you might think and at times it was pretty enjoyable. The good news is this is and will be the longest bus trip I have to take in South America. I think there is a 14 hour trip to Mendoza coming up (cake walk) and another to Salta however I will be checking for flights as well.

Argentina is massive and as big as India, so this should be fun

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