Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Out, again

Our last week in Buenos Aires was a melancholy one.

With our three day bus journey from BA to Lima set - there was little left to do but drink beers in Las Heras during the day and cook meals for three in the evenings while we waited for the 28th.

The 28th did eventually come and though Marko and I were amazed that the American pub "Shoeless Joe's" would have a thirty peso cover on a weeknight - without the Super Bowl - we managed our own preparation for an Old Firm to forget, for Marko.

The match was on around nine that morning and fizzy with hops we watched a rather droll encounter that had a few moments, but unfortunately for Marko - the "best" was saved for last when American midfielder Maurice Edu squibbed in the game winner in stoppage time. Those industrious Americans, always stirring up trouble..

After a nap, a bite to eat, and three or five checks to make sure everything was packed - it was time to make our way out of Buenos Aires. You say, "Suerte!" and "Safe travels!" a lot when you're on the road for this long, but rarely do you get the opportunity to mean it. And though no one believes in "Goodbyes" it's the silent truth between us all that friends a continent apart are few and far between.

But we soldiered on. Took our cab to Retiro. Waited with angst for our bus as families and television cameras greeted refugees from crumbled Santiago. Almost exactly on time our CATA International semi-cama arrived, our bags stowed, our panoramic seats seated, and off into the evening retracing our way to Mendoza.

The days on the bus were rather forgettable aside from some fallen pedestrian paths on the outskirts of Santiago (Los Andes) to La Serena and the Atacama - what everyone says looks like the surface of the moon, but to me looked more like the surface of a brownie pan... to finally Arica and the Peruvian border to Tacna. We were less than twenty-four hours from Lima and coasting.

In fact, too much coast.

The last day of the bus journey was a nightmare. The endless Peruvian desert-coast while intriguing at first (with sand dunes reclaiming the highway by the sea in some spots) became an oscillating torture of boredom and fear that the constant switchbacks and anxious bus drivers (though our's was very modest) would result in some sort of gruesome incident.

Surely, we were never that close to danger, but the imagination runs wild when the kilometers are passing one by one with no hint of Lima in sight.

However, we did eventually reach Lima, at least six hours late, around five in the evening of the 3rd of March. From the window it was clear that Lima was a different beast all together from Buenos Aires and with our first mission to find our couchsurfing host in a city of nearly eight million - we were out on our own again.

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