Another bus experience

Our longest bus journey so far took place last night at 8.30pm, our arrival time was meant to be 3.30pm the next day… 19 hours later. However typically South American, you have to add another couple of hours on as they are always delayed. Our bus didn’t actually even make it out of the terminal as there was something wrong with it, our driver started it up and stalled a ridiculous amount of times before (two hours later) lining us up door to door with another bus and we moved onto that one. It was hilarious as we didn’t even go outside just stepped from the door step of one bus to the door step of anther! Finally we were on our way and as soon as the bus started up, we were given blue trays and cups and then some bizarre looking food in a packet. We couldn’t quite work out what it all was, something grey with an egg in it and a kindof ham and cheese cake, green Spanish omlette, a biscuit and some sprite. The strangest meal ever, lucky for us we’d already had dinner.
There were four men at the back of the bus who had been rowdy since the start of the journey, shouting and singing and drinking a lot. Juliet and I were praying they were going to be quiet eventually or pass out or something so that we had at least a chance of sleeping through the night… Eventually however, we did manage to fall asleep and I think they did too. In the very early hours of the morning, I woke up to find we had stopped and there were two police on our bus. (I think it was just a random customary search) They came over and asked to see our passports, asking where we were from and what our professions were. They were friendly enough and didn’t stay long. When they went to the back of the bus to the men, they asked all of them to step off the bus with all their belongings. The last one off was very dodgy looking and as he walked past my seat he dropped a small white tissue (that looked like it contained something), right by my feet. It was an intentional drop and the man clearly didn’t want this found on his search, but I didn’t want it near me. I kicked it into the isle and the man next to me nodded so I knew id done the right thing. When the men returned to the bus, the creepy man of course picked it up and went back to his seat. I’m quite a paranoid person anyway and I really wasn’t happy for the most part of the journey but I moved seats so that there was at least 8 rows between us and managed to eventually fall asleep. Luckily they got off at the first stop that morning, meaning that the longest part of our journey wasn’t actually with them.
In the morning when the sun had risen and a really yummy breakfast snack of white chocolate covered dulce de leche (a Spanish delicacy similar to caramel) had been served, we started to drive through country fields with a backdrop of beautiful mountains. I was so much happier as the men had gone and were replaced by nice Argentinian ladies who chatted to us and smiled a lot. Juliet and I also slept on and off all the way until lunch time. Then we were given more food, sandwiches this time, (we were not expecting so many meals… really getting our money’s worth on the food!) and obviously fell asleep again.
The scenery out of the window was of course amazing, so different to any countries we’ve ever been and at one point one of the nice ladies told us to look out of her side of the bus as we were on a very high up road looking down over the whole of the city, with the famous mountains in the background!
The bus conductor also got us all to pull numbers out of a bag, making a competition and whoever got the highest, won a bottle of wine – it was so random but a fun bit of entertainment for a few minutes.
At 6pm, 21.5 hours later we finally arrived in Salta, a very old fashioned town, more third world than where we’ve been previously but buzzing with people and our hostel is, as usual, quaint and surprisingly nice. We decided to grab a cheap meal in town this evening and were met by the kindest restaurant owner ever, Maximillion who was our own private waiter and served to us so attentively, trying his hardest to explain all the Spanish foods that we didn’t recognise. It’s 9.30pm now and we are already in bed – it’s been a seriously exhausting day and we are shattered! Both excited to see Salta’s beautiful landscapes tomorrow though…






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