No more than five minutes after the coffee was served, the first glass dropped and shattered all over the floor. Not to say “I told you so”, but as soon as I saw the crystal glasses of hot coffee being passed out on the moving bus, bouncing along on its way over the continental divide between Argentina and Chile, I knew that the opening lines of our next blog were about to write themselves. Surely the bus company should have known better than to trust budget
travelers with nice things? Before the end of this particular ride, an additional coffee glass would shatter, a little girl seated across our aisle would vomit all over the floor, and the bus would have to pull over so that the attendant could rush to the bathroom with two large buckets of water to take care of a bathroom emergency. Twice. All in a day’s journey…
Nevertheless, we were excited to hit the road again. Aggie´s brother Sean, and his friend Olivia (who began their great overland trip in LA, and Mexico City, respectively) have since joined us on our travels.
Our destination? Tierra del Fuego – and the southernmost cities in the world: Ushuaia (if you ask Argentinians), Puerto Williams (if you ask Chileans). We will hit both to cover our bases.
Means of transport? Whatever it takes: buses, cars, ferries, pick-up trucks, our own two feet, and the occasional tandem bike.
Buses are usually our ride of choice, and when you’re on a budget, there’s no better way to save money on accommodation than a night bus. We’ve ridden a modest number, seven in total so far, but four of those have come in a recent ten-day push.
And, at the end of a long day on the road, we look forward to resting our heads in a comfortable hostel or B&B. Sometimes we luck out with a hostel manager like Marta, a lovely Argentine who simultaneously managed the hostel and cared for her 92-year old dad and his two elderly sisters. The nonagenarians livened up the atmosphere with lots of naps. Marta was more energetic, playing pick-up-sticks with us, sharing her limoncello, letting us stay well past check-out, and insisting we send her pictures of our dogs when we get home.
But, not every hostel atmosphere is as welcoming as Marta’s. We’ve been chastised for our cooking habits (I mean, its impossible to fry bacon without smoking up the kitchen), have had a hostel owner indicate he thought our Patagonian itinerary was stupid, and we’ve had to wake up hungover staff in the middle of the afternoon in order to check-out.
These colorful hostel stays and modes of transportation were just the beginning, however. Little did we know that upon reaching southern Chile,we would find ourselves in a travel predicament the likes of which none of us have ever witnessed before…