Tag Archives: bus

Mendoza to Buenos Aires -on the fancy bus

Normally a 13 hour overnight bus ride would fill me with dread. But in Argentina it’s something to look forward to, especially if you go first class.

A first class ticket on the bus line Cata gets you a  big seat, foot rest,  blanket, pillow, newspaper,  curtains to section off your seat and a personal tv.  You also get your own personal garbage bag which doesn’t sound like much unless your husband has a cold and is going through a lot of tissues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon after the bus started out we got served this sandwhich with either water or coke. My first thought was, “Nice, but this is not going to hold me for 13 hours.”

Ham item #1

It turns out this was just the appetizer.  The second thing we were served was this plate of assorted mini ham sandwiches.

Ham items #2-#5. Guess what the empanada was filled with.... ham.

This course came with it’s own mini bottle of wine.

not bad for bus wine

Then came the main course,  breaded meat, potatoes all covered in ham.  It looks weird, but was strangely delicious.

Ham item #6 - ham covered meat and potatoes

We had the choice of coffee, tea, water or champagne with dessert.  It was so tempting to get champagne because when do you ever have the chance to drink champagne on a bus? But, I went with water.   I wasn’t sure how champagne would taste with flan.

bus flan - delicious

Then it was movie time. We had the choice between two different movies, both in English with Spanish subtitles.  Once the movie was over everyone pulled their curtains around their seats, lowered their seats back and put up their foot rests. The seat turned into a fully horizontal bed.

The best part besides the fully reclining seat, wine, and garbarge bag was that for the entire night the rest of the bus, all 18 other passengers were silent. No cell phones, talking, kids crying, nothing. Just pure silence.   We both actually got a pretty good night’s sleep considering we were on a bus.

The next morning we were served orange juice, coffee, and a plate of assorted cookies, no ham.    If we weren’t leaving Argentina tomorrow I’d take a few more buses. It was that much fun.  But, then again I do amuse easily.

 

 

 

 

Bus challenged in Mendoza

We’ve been in Mendoza for two weeks. We’ve been doing quite a bit of in city wine tasting.

this one's good, better have a third glass

But, the real wine tasting to be done here is in the country at the actual wineries.  Or so we’ve heard. We haven’t actually been to any yet.

Why you ask?  Mostly, because we want to take a bus.

We know the bus – #173. We even know how to pay – with coins or a bus pass. But, it’s taken 2 weeks to actually get the means to take the bus.

Forget coins. You know that jar of change you have sitting on your dresser? Well they don’t have those here.  No one gives out change. We’ve been saving up. After two weeks we have enough for one of us to go one way.

This is not going to be enough.

We even stopped in the nearby casino.  I put a paper bill into a slot machine expecting change to come out in coins (and maybe some winnings).  Out poured tokens (no winnings) which I ended up using to gamble.

If you can't take a bus, might as well gamble.

But, that’s fine.   They have bus passes here.  They even have a website in English explaining how to purchase the card.  Check out these FAQ straight from the site.

 

The card is called  “Red Bus.”   They are sold at kiosks. That is a fabulous thing because there are kiosks everywhere.  There are two to three kiosks on every block, and they are open all the time.  Early in the morning, after midnight, on Sunday, you can always find an open kiosk.

On our first day in Mendoza, Jeff went on a bike ride and I ran out to get a Red Bus pass.    There was a kiosk half a block from our apartment.  I figured ten minutes tops.   Two hours and nine kiosks later I still didn’t have a bus pass.

Every day,  Jeff went out riding and I roamed the city looking for a kiosk that sold a bus pass.  No one sold them. Everyone would shake their head and point down the street to the next kiosk.

After almost two weeks I decided to take my video camera and Jeff on my quest.   I planned out the video. Jeff would ask for the card while I video taped the person saying no. How funny would that video be of person after person saying no they didn’t it have the cards.

Can't wait for them to not sell us the card.

We got to the first kiosk.  I went in with Jeff, video camera ready. Jeff asked for the cards. I giggled as I waited to see the customary shake of the head and hear “no.”    But, instead, the very first guy sold us two cards  It took about two seconds.   I’m not sure if there was a city-wide shortage that ended yesterday,  luck, or Jeff has magical powers. But now we have our Red Bus cards.

Of course the wineries are all closed on Sundays and we move apartments on Monday.  But Tuesday is the day. We will finally go wine tasting at the wineries.

I’ve also learned an important lesson. Always take Jeff and a video camera on all errands.

 

 

 

Cordoba to Salta bus ride – my neurotic personality fails me

If we were on the show Amazing Race we would have been eliminated for sure.  We were taking an overnight bus from the town of Cordoba to Salta.  Usually my complete neurotic personality, while annoying, keeps us on track. This time it completely failed us.

We had flown from Buenos Aires to Cordoba.  After a few days in Cordoba we were headed for the town of Salta.

I’m the first to admit we have way too much luggage.

But, when we bought tour first class overnight bus ticket we were assured there was more than enough room for all our luggage.  I even insisted we bring the above photos to show them when we bought the tickets.  The ticket seller said it was fine.

Our bus left at 8:15pm.  I insisted we leave our apt at 6:30.   No way were we missing this bus. Jeff protested, but after some serious marriage negotiation we got to the bus station at 7:00p.m.   We stood at the bus terminal and watched as buses headed to all parts of Argentina came and went. I strode up and down the terminal monitoring each bus. There was no way a bus could come into the station without my knowledge.  Jeff thought I was overdoing it, if the bus pulled in surely we’d see it.  I  agreed, but nervous energy kept me pacing up and down.

At 7:45 a bus with the words Salta plastered to the front of it rolled into the terminal. Jeff and I wrangled all 5 pieces of luggage to the bus.   The driver didn’t want to take Jeff’s bike suitcase.  He had to pay “a little extra” to get the driver to accept it.    Finally, the bike and our huge suitcases got loaded in. It was a relief to see them safely on the bus and the luggage compartment door shut.

Then we handed our boarding ticket to the driver who informed us we had the wrong bus. This was the 8:30 bus. Oh, and what do you know, our 8:15 bus had already left.  It seemed impossible. I had memorized ever bus and where it was gong. There was no way  a bus for Salta had pulled in without my knowledge.  What’s the point of being neurotic, nervous and checking and double checking if you still miss the correct bus?

Our luggage was on the 8:30 bus, but we were not.  We waved goodbye as everything we currently owned drove off to Salta without us.

The next bus we could get on was at 10:30. It cost extra to change the ticket for a lower class of service. As we sat in the station the same thought went through both of our heads, “I just want to go home. I’m too old for this sh*t.”

But then we got on the bus, got served a tray of different kinds of ham sandwiches: rolled ham sandwich, thin ham sandwich, regular ham sandwich. We watched a Jennifer Anniston movie, reclined our chairs and went to sleep.

The next morning we arrived in Salta and our luggage was waiting, untouched at the bus office. It only cost a “little extra” to get it.

So what seemed like a potential disaster worked out fine in the end. The travel gods were watching over us yet again.

La Boca – tourist vs traveler

Jeff and I are very different kind of travelers.  I am a full blown tourist.  Jeff is a true traveler.   This difference isn’t too apparent until we go to something touristy.

La Boca is such a place.  La Boca is a neighborhood in Buenos Aires that is rich in history. Tango started in this barrio in the bordellos in the 1800’s.    The area is still “rough” according to the guidebooks, but a section of the neighborhood has been turned into a tourist destination.  There are brightly colored buildings, street vendors, outdoor restaurants with continuous tango shows, and artistic statues of people. Due to the warnings that the area around the tourist section was dangerous, we decided to take a tourist bus there instead of try our luck with the local buses.


This chart shows the difference in our travel styles when faced with different situations.

Jeff on a tourist bus.
Sheryl on a tourist bus.
Jeff and artistic people statues.
Sheryl with artistic people statues.

I don’t know if one travel style is better than the other, but I do know one of us had a hell of a lot more fun that day.