I had been warned of the extremely long distances between places in South America. I had also been warned of the steep prices some of these bus fares would cost me. I have done many crazy long transportation days in the past like the one in Central America, or the of the 2nd class train journey in Egypt or the craziest of all a 31 hour train ride from Mumbai to New Delhi in India. You know what I like most about them? Oh nothing at all, but the fact that I go crazy and think it’s amusing for me to just keep track of my crazy thoughts and happenings as it is all happening. I was making my way from Bariloche, Argentina to El Chalten, Argentina and was told it would only be a 24 hour ride.
The good thing about this transportation day was that I would be making my way through one of the most beautiful regions in the world, Patagonia. That was the only thing I was looking forward to honestly, because aside from that I was dreading it. I mean honestly how do they expect a human being to enjoy such a long ride sitting down in a bus? If you have read any of my past diary entries of transportation days you know I hate them. In the end I had no choice I had to pay the $120 to get the bus down there, because I could not afford to fly and was already going to be splurging to fly from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires. Yeah I was not about to make my way back up by bus. As I have done in the past this is exactly how I wrote it in my journal and well here it is… how this crazy long journey started and ended.
11:25am – Left the hostel running because I was online. The bus leaves at 12:30pm. I should be fine, but hate not being early.
11:50am – The bus to the bus terminal hasn’t passed yet. See this is why I like leaving early. I’m with two girls I met in the hostel who are also going to El Chalten. If the bus doesn’t arrive by noon we are taking a taxi.
11:57am – The bus arrives.
12:15pm – Make it to the bus terminal and our bus isn’t even here yet. That’s a relief.
12:20pm – Yay it arrived. Fuck it’s huge and yay a double decker.
12:30pm – I am on board & we are leaving right on time. I’m in seat #4 which is my favorite number. I am also glad I booked early and got this seat because it’s on the 1st row of the upper deck. So I will have the amazing view the entire trip which is of the famous Ruta 40. I’m sure the views are going to be amazing. It’s PATAGONIA!!! But ugh it’s gonna be a long 24 hour ride down there. Would listen to music, but wanna save my battery for photos. For now going to enjoy the view. This is my view:
12:53pm – So I’m sitting next to an old man and we are just chatting away. His name is Arebelardo & he used to live in Bariloche for 24 years and now lives in Tierra del Fuego. He is full of knowledge of the whole region. I’m so happy I speak spanish and can talk with the locals. Thank you mom & dad for that. Anyway the views are fucking ridiculous. It’s mountains everywhere and trees and lakes.
12:59pm – Just read a sign on my window that says 1st row must buckle up. Yeah it’s actually a bit scary being up here. If we hit anything I’m the first one out the window. What’s even crazier is that Ruta 40 is a two way lane. That’s it. So when we are stuck behind a slow car we have to pass them up.
1:11pm – They have music playing and you can plug in your headset into and so I have. Fuiste Tu by Ricardo Arjona is playing. That song is so beautiful. I’ve listened to it many times to help me get through things. My favorite line is, “Las nubes gris tambien forman parte del paisaje.” “Grey clouds also form part of the scenery.” Anyway thought I’d share…lol
1:29pm – Another guy sitting next to me is telling me this isn’t Ruta 40. That it’s actually Ruta 258 until recently, because the government wanted it changed.
1:36pm – The guy showed me where the old road used to go through. It had over 1,800 curves in a stretch of 12km. It was called the Canadon de la Mosqa. He said he used to take it when he was younger to help his father deliver goods.
1:48pm – I asked them why its called Patagonia and they let me know it was because when the Europeans came they met people that used animal skin to cover their feet and made is seem like they had big feet and well Pata in Spanish means feet. Gosh they are sharing so much with me. They know the history and road down here so well. Al just showed me this hat from which is of when he conducted trains down there. I really hope I can get a photo of them before it’s over or they get down.
2:35pm – We stopped at El Bolson. The guy who told me about Patagonia got off here. His name was Antonio. I didn’t get a photo. Anway I am freaking starving already. I brought a sandwich and potato salad and some cookies, but don’t wanna eat it yet. I know I should have brought like 5 cus ugh I’m a fatass. Anyway they’re supposed to feed us something so hope they do soon.
5:11pm – Spent the last few hours sleeping and talking with Aberlardo. He just got off and nope I didn’t get a photo. I consider myself a good photographer but when it comes to taking photos of people I’m horrible. Anyway I didn’t get his photo. I did learn though that 2 years ago he fell off the 2nd floor of a building and hurt both his arms and can’t move them much anymore. I also learned that he’s 80 years old and his wife past away 8 years ago. He has 5 children all married and has grandchildren. He was a great character and taught me a lot about the road. During this stop I got off in a hurry to buy something to eat because I was starving and scared they weren’t going to feed us and NO JOKE after I finished the sandwich I bought they deliver us our lunch. So yeah guess I may eat it. Told y’all I eat so much. Ahh well we still got a long way to go so will sleep soon. The views are still spectacular.
5:33pm – So yeah I ate it. It was a tiny freaking meal. So I’m glad I got off to get the sandwich. Also I thought I was finished with the juice but nope wasn’t. I squeezed it accidentally and a lot of juice spilled all over my leg. So yeah now my leg is sticky. And yeah I still have like 18 fucking hours to go. Now also a little kid is sitting next to me and he keeps starring at me weird. So this is gonna be interesting.
6:28pm – I’m getting restless already and we have long way to go. I’m trying to sleep but can’t. Go fucking figure, but put me on a short bus ride and I pass out in a heartbeat. And my mind just keeps racing. So much going on but more on that later. The road is still beautiful so at least I have that to keep me busy.
7:18pm – no joke after writing the above the bus stopped at a gas station. They let us all get off for a while. I washed my face and my leg (the apple juice) and hands. Ahh I feel refreshed with the chilled wind of Patagonia hitting me. I got down with my camera so asked the girls to take a photo of me on the road & guess what???? I got a toe touch baby & it’s great!!! Anyway that nice break was what I needed. I feel great again. Now I’m on the bus and we are waiting to pump gas. Crazy long lines. Guess not many gas stations down here.
7:28pm – … “Do you believe in love after love? I can feel something inside me saying I really don’t think you’re strong enough” Damn the station they have on the bus is great. Playing a great mix of English and Spanish music. Yeah I’m jamming to Cher right now and we are finally pumping gas. So hopefully we are back on the road soon & I fall asleep.
9:01pm – We just passed a check point and police came on and asked to see our documents. Of course I got nervous. I always do even though I know I’ve done nothing wrong. Then after showing them my passport the kid asked to see it & was amazed by everywhere I have been. He then asked what was my favorite country and of course I said Egypt. Then the police got off and we were on our way again. Now they passed out dinner and on time cus I was starting to get hungry, lol. Swear that’s the story of my life.
9:32pm – Just spent the last 30 mintues talking with the kid. OMG he’s so sweet. Today is his birthday and he’s going to Calafate to see the glacier. He asked so many question and says he loves traveling too. He told me all the places he’s been in Argentina and it’s so many. He asked me if I’ve flown and I told him yes. he said he wants to but is scared. He then asked me if… I watched football (soccer). I said “No”. He was shocked and didn’t understand why not. He then went on to talk about the world cup final. He said in the last minute. I knew exactly what he was talking about cus I watched it. They lost to Germany. They must feel worse than us Mexicans who still hold the grudge of “NO ERA PENAL”, but anyway. We kept talking and yeah it’s amazing what you can dream of when you’re a kid. I told him it was possible to travel the world like he wants. He said was going to do it.
9:49pm – It’s almost 10 and the sun is still out. I’m sitting here watched the sunset. The clouds turned a beautiful pink and purple color and all we had was the open road. It’s moments like this I can’t believe this is my life. Ahhh it’s amazing. Well now gonna try and sleep. I’m gonna play Ed Shereen’s “X” too. Just once jaja so I can sleep well. Seriously his lyrics are amazing.
10:18pm – WTF? No joke the road is gone. It’s now just gravel . Just took a photo. Fucking hilarious. Okay can’t write cus of the road.
1:48am – We are currently in Perrito Moreno. I think that is nearly halfway down to El Chalten. Im not sure but I’m happy we are here. I’ve been waking up and on and off since 10pm. Around midnight I woke up and we were still on gravel road but going through a small town and for some reason thought the driver was lost and scared we would get pulled over by thieves. It’s crazy that we are literally in the middle of no where. It’s a scary thought and now I really just wanna make it to El Chalten. Now that I know we aren’t lost I can sleep better, but do hate it’s very cold and that’ it’s raining. So hope the driver is careful. Oh and the grandma & kid just switched seats. I have no clue why. But okay back to sleep. Like 10 more hours to go. Ugh.
9:59am – I have no clue where we are. I feel like we have on this never ending gravel road for all eternity now. It’s seriously just keeps going. The scenery is boring with nothing to look at and on top of that it hasn’t stopped raining. I think I slept well. Honestly I have no clue. I woke up a bit ago and ate my sandwich and now they served us breakfast. We are stopped in the middle of the road.. I think I’m getting wrestles and on of that its freaking freezing and I’m in shorts and a tee. Well if we’re on time we should be there in like 2.5 hours. So hope so. Will later cus don’t wanna talk right now.
10:19am – Fuck we are still stopped here. I swear we are never gonna make it. I just wanna get out and shower, wash my face, brush my teeth. I don’t know how I’m gonna do it when I go camping for 5 days if I do the W. Anyway seriously yeah for sure I’m flying back from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires. This is insane. Don’t even know why I do this. It’s like why… but ugh I know why so whatever. I’m starting to talk to myself. So I’ll just stop and listen to music. Surprised my iPod still is like fully charged. I guess it does last 24 hours if you don’t use it. I miss WiFi already too….lol jajaja.
11:33pm – We are stopped again. Now behind a gas tanker. The road is no longer gravel but just dirt. The driver got down to talk with them and some tractor. We were supposed to arrive now, but don’t think we will. Anyway I have no clue when we are gonna get there. Everyone on the bus looks like zombies. We are all restless & looking at each other like “WTF when are we gonna get there?”. As I sit here & look out the window it’s just crazy what I’m doing. I mean seriously what am I doing? This is insane and yet so amazing. I don’t get it, but whatever it makes me happy. Only one thing will make me happier, but that will come soon. I have NOT lost hope!!!
1:11pm – OMG EEEEEEEEEeeeeeee I just woke up and we are only 90km away from El Chalten. We are on a paved road and the sun is out. I can see mountains in the distance. In the distance I can see Fitz Roy a beautiful mountain. I will be hiking soon. OMG yes I am excited again. Like very excited. It’s crazy we are going from dry desert lands to mountains filled with snow. They still have so much snow on them. Fuck it’s gonna be so cold down here. OMG I can’t stop smiling. Patagonia is so beautiful.
OMG A HORSE!!!
1:41pm – Everyone is gathered up front. The view is fucking ridiculous. You have snow covered mountains all around & Fitz Roy peaking above it all in the center. This was so worth the bus ride. How is this even created? I mean wow mother nature is a BEAST.
1:48pm – OMG A GLACIER!!!
2:00pm – WE ARRIVED!!!! 25.5 hours later… YAY.
The craziest thing was that after we got off the bus to get our backpacks we saw a huge flat tire in there an were all shocked. We all looked at each other and none of us even knew it had happened. We laughed and were just all so happy to be off the bus and glad we made it to our destination safe. The girls and I made plans to shower and then meet up to plan what we were going to do in El Chalten and how to camp to see the sunrise. Little did we know what all was in store for us.
Well as you can see I survived the 25.5 hour bus ride through Patagonia and honestly it wasn’t that bad. I enjoyed the many conversations I had with locals and absolutely loved the views. I did go a bit crazy from time to time, but yeah that’s just me. I get a bit dramatic from time to time…lol. This wasn’t the longest transportation day I have had in my life but it is one of the longest. Thankfully though I think this will be the longest transportation day I have while I am in South America. I should bite my tongue because I am currently in Brazil and it’s a massive country as well. So honestly who knows what is in store for me in the months ahead I still have left in this beautiful continent. So what did you think? Could you survive this bus ride?