Monday January 19, 2015 (Argentina, Brazil, Buenos Aires, Foz Do Iguacu, South America)
Back on track with the running today – 5km around a large military camp near Jason's place (where we spent our last night). Sandra insisted on having a last blast at the Acai place, so we hunkered down and both ordered the same thing we'd been ordering for the past few days. We're both pretty big fans of the stuff, obviously!
The company we had organized to bus with was fairly "full service" – they came to pick us up in a van taxi on the Brazilian side of the border, shuttle us across to Argentina where the bus station was located, and then hook us up with tickets for the ride from Puerto Iguazu to Buenos Aires. Eighteen hours of glory, my friends!
Upon getting on the bus, we found that the two ladies behind us were Irish: Aoife and Dervla. They were both super nice occupational therapists on a multi-month South American journey of their own. We struck up a great conversation, much of which consisted of them talking about how much better this "cama" style seating on our bus was than the junk heap they got to Puerto Iguazu on. You could recline almost fully, and the seats were quite wide. Not a bad overnight bus, all in all.
My favourite aspect was probably the enroute menu. After being on the bus no more than 15 minutes, the first part of the "meal" arrived. Whisky. Yes, a gentleman walked down the aisles offering whisky to all of the passengers. Not something like "Would you like a beverage?" or even "Is there a certain kind of alcohol you might enjoy?", just "Whisky?". Sure! I was the only one in our group to partake, but I've gotta say it's a great way to start a bus ride. Then the meal arrived. Not much to say there. It was fairly plain. However, along with the meal we got some vino tinto. That's red wine, gringos! Ice cold red wine for everybody! Pretty rough stuff, but hey, free wine right?! Once dinner was complete… well, time for a round of champagne for everybody! These guys are definitely trying to run a party bus company. They're just missing a great soundtrack and lighting system. But they're great at getting everybody hammered.
The entertainment was lacking, to say the least. Everybody gets to watch such blockbusters as "Grace of Monaco", then "Rise of the Planet of the Apes", then "Automata". But there's no volume. And the plug-in sound system doesn't work. And when they try to turn on the volume, a very unfortunate buzzing like an improperly tuned FM radio plugged into a failing amplifier comes out. Somehow it's below the threshold of volume required to alert the driver on the level below us, so the horrific noise continues until a complaint is made and the sound is muted. So now you just watch the scenes from the film and try to intuit the goings-on from the Portuguese subtitles. It's a remarkably good way to learn a language.
It wasn't long before we were dozing off. Only to be awakened by incredible rain, hail, thunder, and lightning. The bus was being hammered by torrential downpour and ice stones. It was shaking and everything was flashing and it was loud. The scrolling electronic marquee at the front of the bus that would tell you when the washroom was occupied instead showed a message stating that the maximum allowable speed of the bus was being exceeded. I fell back to sleep.
We made it to Buenos Aires alive.