Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Sketchy Bus Back Into Argentina

This was going to be a piece of cake. An easy bus ride across the border back into Argentina then find another bus to Posada. Its a common route so away we go.

First the bus to Concordia. Quick and easy and with border controls it took about an hour. With the river crossing came an 1 hour time change so I left at 9:30 and arrived at 9:45. Time travel hurts. The border here is not busy at all and took maybe 5 minutes with the line up of 4 people in front of me. After a stamp and a buenas suerte I was back in Argentina. I had no intention of staying in Concordia and finding a ticket should be easy enough. The first kiosk was Singer Bus but they did not have a bus leaving until 11:00 pm and it was an overnighter. I then went to a company I had never seen before. I think it was called dirty bus/smelly bus company. The company slogan was he is not only the bus driver but the mechanic as well. Good Grief!

Most of the buses are double deck and I like to get one up top. For some bizarre reason not only did I take seat in the bottom section, I took the last seat at the back. The good news was the bus was leaving in 15 minutes and estimated time was 8.5 hours. Not many stops but a bit of a milk run none the less.

** Bus seats are assigned and they give you the choice of where to sit when you buy your ticket. They have a little seat selection map on the computer screen and you literally pick your seat. I have been lucky so far to always have a window seat. **

Well after all the amazing bus trips I have been on, and there have been many I was bus slumming it. I wondered why the ticket was so cheap. Anyways I bet you can guess where this is going. We were humming along nicely for about 3 or 4 hours. Making our stops and allowing me time to grab water or food. We even had a couple of decent movies with Bad Teacher and Limitless. Then the oddest thing happened. We randomly pulled over on the side of the highway which considering buses pick up and drop people off anywhere it was not that bad, but he turned of the engine. OK, after thousands of miles and countless bus rides this was new.

Our bus driver/mechanic proceeds to the side of the bus just below my windown and looks underneath. Maybe we hit something, or someone. He gets down on his back and reaches underneath the bus to the undercarriage and starts beating the hell out of something. He comes back up with "a job well done smirk" and off we go.

Well a job not well done. There is the faint smell of diesel and exhaust wafting through the bus and a person near the front tells the driver...screeeech! Bus pulls over. Our guy repeats his thorough repairs of whatever needs to be fixed, this time with a lead pipe and screw driver. And we are off. Thirty minutes later we stop. This exercise is repeated 5 or 6 more times until we get to a town with a Terminar de bus. Well here we go.  He pulls out a piece of cardboard and lays on it and each time he comes out from under the bus he is a bit greasier. Now there are half a dozen dude hanging around looking and pointing. Someone decides they will help and hold the flash light. Our guy is rolling around right below me, shirt coming up to expose a well girthed belly, a quick bacon flip and its plumbers but times 10.

** I did take a few photos of our guy working his little heart out but after looking at them I threw up a little bit in my mouth and deleted them.**

Now the time has come. What do I do? Like a signal from on high two well dressed drivers from Singer Bus come walking over. Their bus which sits about 5 spaces over is Mint! They talk to our guy and after they look at each other, smirk, shrug their shoulders and walk away. Well as my Irish friends along the way are so fond of saying, I blurt out FOOK THAT. I get off the bus and tell our guy I want my rucksack. He tells me everything is fine, and I tell him I want my rucksack, he tells me my ticket is for Posadas and I tell him I want my rucksack. He relents.

I grab my blue bag of happiness and walk into the terminal as my old bus chugs off into the night. Singer bus is just sitting there ready to leave in 10 to Iguazu with a stop in....POSADAS!! I pony up the ten bucks and speed my way into the night.

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