Since using CATA to traverse the Andes to Santiago I’ve been a strong advocate for using buses to journey through South America. I’m still a novice though having only used them in Peru, Chile and throughout Argentina. They’re comfy, punctual and even though take longer than planes over distances there’s no mammoth check-in or wait for baggage and more often than not you arrive in the centre of the city – unlike flying into London (Southend on Sea).
They’re much cheaper than flying too. Aside from Sky Airlines there’s no real budget option on the continent so some micro/collectivo journeys are much cheaper. I always like to factor in the fact that many route operators offer a semi-cama service which travels overnight to your chosen destination. So essentially you wake up where you need to be having spent the night in a very comfy seat that opens out to 180°. You get your journey, food and accommodation at one rate as opposed to the flight / hotel combo you might have had to fork out for…
So, why am i sitting aboard this bus writing this? Basically, if this was a flight I’d liken this journey to that of a paper plane being flown through a tropical cyclone. We are en route to Esquel from Bariloche and should someone scrape the memory card from this gringo’s LG phone from the valley-strewn wreckage perhaps the information contained therein might help work out what happened on the ill-fated, late-departing 1515 Don Otto service to Esquel.
I’m sure the one of the wheels temporarily hung over the side of the cliff face as we hurtled around a bend. We still had 5 sets of wheels spinning on loose tarmac so perhaps my worries are a little unfounded.
We were thrown around too. Rattling around like a tube of Smarties tumbling down an escalator. The TVs flickered and ceased broadcasting the soft-porn Latino music videos from 2012. Perhaps the loud bangs and cracking sounds were that of our breakneck-speed breaking the broadcasting barrier… Perhaps we will catch up with broadcasting from the modern era.. if only the driver would go that little bit faster.
Well, the TVs remained a laguna-blue colour. The driver was doing his best to push this rickety old vehicle into a new epoch but for now, no Latina titty tunes.
Some very amusing typing errors are occurring as my phone struggles to interpret the intentions of my writing finger (examples: broadcasting originally went down as vietkong and finger as ginger – which isn’t too far from the truth).
I suppose there are worse backdrops to bid farewell to this life to than the lushous valleys, turquoise lakes and broken mountain teeth of Patagonia. To be a ginger smear on a beautiful valley-wall canvas in Neuquen.
If this was a plane I’d be there by now. Or enjoying a tasty buttock on an Andean glacier as per Alive!
Or even worse; waiting endlessly for my luggage to never appear on an airport carousel. Please, Mr Driver I love buses. Don’t break my heart… or any part of my body.