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Planes and Buses (wine in..)

Me -and- 150lbs of luggage? on one cheap ticket? Some of you might have raised the eyebrows. When I think back at the heavy hauling from the airport shuttle to the bus terminal of Buenos Aires, I'd venture that it must have been at least 250lbs.

Let's see: one suitcase of 50 lbs, the other one close to 60 that's 110lbs right there, then the huge bag with videocam, wide angle lens, 2 batteries, mic, cables, etc... that was the "carry on", plus my backpack, aka "personal item" holding - or hiding - my laptop, the Nikon, a couple of books, the Spanish dictionary and all that additional stuff like chargers, change, how many? ounces of eau de drinking and eau de smelling,...well, that adds up!

I paid an extra 100$ - only because I travelled via Atlanta, on Delta. Without the stopover in the USA, anything exceeding a 45lbs suitcase and a small beauty case would have been way beyond my financial reach. Yes, I read the fine print...

And I have to say: Delta was a pleasant surprise, really. Reasonable service, we got one, no: two, bottles of red wine for free - to "compensate" for a 30 minute delay on take off. This was the second time that happened to me this year - the delayed take off (last time, on my way to Denver we took off 4 (four!) hours late - on American) and the free drinks. The first I didn't mind, because my layover in ATL was scheduled to be 6 hrs anyway, the second quite agreeable.
Allright, Delta was most likely not responsible for my even more "agreeable" travel compañera.

Quite relaxed I continued at 8pm towards South America, night flight to BsAs. Tired as I was it took only a couple of sips from the Malbec - free again for some reason - and I fell into a doze-sleep, lasting a couple of hours.
I woke up right in time for sunrise.

dawn_6016_400

Right in time, too, so that my new compañero de viaje, a decathlete of the Argentinian track and field team, could explain in necessary detail, where to best change the first traveller cheque and where to find the cheap "micro" (shuttle) to the huge bus terminal downtown.
Everything's cool!

Retiro1400_6036_400 - - - cotravelers_6043_400

retiro_busdepart_6044_800

In Argentina, buses are the most popular and - for all those who cannot afford a First Class airline ticket - the by far most comfortable means of transportation.
I had realized that about a year ago, when I took the overnight bus from Mendoza to San Martin de los Andes. Consequently, I was really looking forward to the 20 hr trip. After all, there was a "Tutto Letto", a fully reclining seat-bed, waiting for me.

Right on time we departed at 4 pm. Five hours later dinner was served, then a whisky for digestion and a movie to fall asleep with.
When I woke up, another movie was flickering across the screen - or was it not? Wait a minute, these shots seemed familiar somehow, was I still dreaming?
Wasn't this right out of "Diarios de motocicleta" ?
And the dawn - exactly like in the movie!

che_bike_6047_400 - - - dawn_bus_6045_400

Oops, the pothole certainly was real reality!

Just before noon we arrived in San Martin, again right on time.
After 60 hrs of travelling I was still reasonably fit. Fit enough, anyway, so that Gustavo's overwhelming welcome hug didn't bring me to my knees.

At home, Claudia had already prepared a sumptuous lunch and one of her cabañas to crash after a last glass of wine from Gustavo's well stocked wine cellar.

I almost felt like the lost son - obviously, I had found(again) my Patagonian family.
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