We are now down to the rat tail end of our trip. (Seriously, rat tails and mullets are in style down here. Has any woman ever thought that those two hair styles look good? Seriously, guys, you look grosser than I do with my nasty beard. Ok, I digress.) Chubs has joined, and we have 5 more days in the wonderful continent of South America. So, with only 2 flights left, all of our major bus travel is completed. Here are some stats for you and a delightful Bolivian bus story, which will undoubtedly make you run outside in the snow and kiss that POS car that you always complain about. You’re welcome.
Total hours spent in buses – 179 hours
Longest Bus Ride to Date – 28 hours
Total Days spent on buses – 7.45 days
Bolivian Bus Story – The Old Chubs was arriving in 5 days in Mendoza, and we were in La Paz, Bolivia. If you look at a map, those two cities are VERY far apart. Especially when you take into account the windy, impractical, and decrepit state of most Bolivian roads. We bused to Potosi, then had the next day planned to get to the border of Argentina and down to Jujuy, a town about 4 hours south of the border. We started out by saying that, after our 5 crazy-ass weeks in Bolivia, there was no way that Bolivia would let us leave easily. And dear god she did not.
Our first bus left an hour late, because some jabroni up front would not leave the seat that another person paid for. The bus turned into a cacophony of old spanish ladies bellowing out things I didn’t understand through toothless mouths, while there was a steady increase in heat and not-so-yummy smells. Finally, after an hour, it was not resolved in any distinguishable way, but we left anyways. So far, not too bad. Then, this young dude of around 25 years of age, with a face tat of something that looked like a child’s drawing of Santa and about 4 neck tats, stands up in the aisle of the bus (packed beyond capacity, might I add, with people slouchily standing in the aisle) and starts screaming. Screaming! He opens a bag and passes out coca leaf packets while rubbing this coca salve on peoples hands. He tried to put some on Dan’s hand, and then wilted under the vicious stare he received. 45 minutes of stand up salesmen pitching and finally he leaves, only to be replaced by a family of 4 who sits down right in the aisle. The 7 year old girl and the mother both found my legs to be an ideal seat back for the next 4 hours, while the 3 year old boy enjoyed poking and prodding Dan. Good times!
We make it to the next stop 5 hours away that felt like 8. When we finally leave again, this long haired, gruffly voiced man hops on and starts to set up his microphone. Yup, I said microphone. He had a speaker in a large black bag riddled with holes to allow the sound to travel out better. Did I mention that he was so piercingly loud that he did not need any form of amplification? He goes on to parade up and down the aisle, bellowing about various diseases and showing pictures from this booklet of internet printouts he must have dug up on yahoo image search. He started with pictures of anorexia, moved on to bulimia, and then started showing pictures of cancer ridden penises. It was disgusting and so ridiculously hilarious all at the same time. He also decided that, in his 2 hours of parading up and down a crowded bus aisle, that sometimes it is nice to rest your ass up against something to relieve the weight from your tootsies. Fair enough, greasy yelling man. The back of my seat was the perfect place for such a rest, as it turned out, and he proceeded to back into it every 3-5 minutes, jolting me from the most unrestful attempt at sleep ever. Somehow, after this bus ride and a show, the people in the back of the bus actually bought a bunch of the things this guy had! I would have happily bought him a muzzle and a few carefully placed tacks to be lodged, points out, in the back of my seat.
All said and done, we made it to Argentina late that night and mowed down on a boatload of empanadas and beer, because let’s be honest – we had earned it. Well played, Bolivia. Well played.