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Day 44 – Time Warp to Buenos Aires

November 23, 2010

Location: Roads between Salta and Buenos Aires, Argentina

Date: Monday/Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, unless we’re talking about the matching sock that vaporizes in my dryer. 2+ 2 equals 4 unless I happen to be reading 1984 whereupon it will equal 5 or whatever Big Brother thinks is best. If you try to act on the object that is my hard head, you can expect an overwhelming (not equal) and opposite reaction.

I defy the laws of motion. I am a science scofflaw. A physics rebel.

It’s somehow appropriate, then that I’ve stumbled over a formula to create time. It’s simple really. Take a look:

(BOB + (R/LR) – S + F + T)


Of course, this requires a breakdown. Let’s go element by element.

BOB (Base Hours on a Bus)

This is how long a bus company says you’ll be on a bus. For me, Chevalier bus company said it’d be 20 hours or the time it should take to get from Salta to Buenos Aires.

R (Rain)

Salta was warm, but as we moved over the Argentinean plains and day turned to night (always wanted to write that, by the way) the heavens opened (ditto) and it began to rain. Note: Rain is wet.

LR (Leaky Roof)

Rain is not normally a problem on buses because buses have roofs. This assumes, however, that the roof does not leak. Our bus’s roof leaked. Since rain is wet, we passengers became wet.

S (Suite)

I went baller this trip and paid for a “suite” ticket. That meant I got a bus with seats that folded all the way down so I could stretch out on an actual bed, a curtain to isolate myself from human contact, and free champagne to go along with the regular bus food (like plane food, but without wings). I also got my own personal TV screen where I could watch a selection of movies. I chose: The Heartbreak Kid (terrible in spite of an ample dose of Malin Akerman’s boobs), Star Trek (the reboot, good popcorn fluff), and another movie (forgettable, apparently).

Paying for a suite bus, however, doesn’t necessarily mean you get a (working) roof. When we became wet at around midnight, the bus stopped while we waited for a replacement that didn’t act like an umbrella doesn’t. This took 2 hours, during which the TV kicked out, leaving me movie-less (see below).

After our wait, we all had to transfer to a replacement bus. This bus did not have a leaky roof. It also did not have; a bed; a personal TV; a curtain to shut out the other passengers.

It just had a regular old semi-cama. I was no longer a baller; I became just a bawler. (Tear.)

F (Frat)

Frat boys are frat boys, even if they speak Spanish. A group of overmuscled, wife beater wearing, loud talkers happened to be on my bus. This was not a problem when I had the suite (see: curtain, movies, free booze). As I lost my grip on my empire of comfort (see Leaky Roof and Suite, above), they became an issue.

It started when one of them ended up in a seat where the TV didn’t work. This got all of them messing with the wires on the bus to try and get it to work. Instead of fixing their buddy’s TV, however, they knocked out everyone else’s. Now we were all TV-less like their buddy. They thought this was very funny.

The next day, during our delays they spent their time banging on the back of my seat and laughing like they were all Chris Farley.

Through it all, I did not share their sense of humor (or, their language). I did wish, though, that I shared their gigantic biceps and their no-neck making shoulders—I would have put those assets to good use and given myself something to laugh about.

Since I have the strength of four asthmatic three-year-olds at an indoor barbeque, I instead decided to be annoyed. Very annoyed.

That showed ‘em.

T (Traffic)

When we woke the next morning, we slammed into some horrific traffic outside Buenos Aires. For a couple hours we did not move. For another couple hours we barely moved as we exited the highway and reentered down the road. We (i.e. me, the only non-Spanish speaker) did not find out why we did this. We all, however, figured out that we were four more hours behind schedule.

SA (South America)

It’s South America. If there can be traffic, there will be traffic. If a roof can leak, it will leak. If frat boys can knock out your sanity movie box, they will. If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.

M (Mervyn or Me)

I’m me which means: I don’t get pickpocketed on buses, I just get bored; I don’t fall off cliffs on deadly roads, I run myself into pool walls; people don’t stick knives in my face till I give them my money, I just give it to them even though they don’t ask. In other words, bad things don’t happen to me, stupid things do.

Putting yourself on a bus immediately after: a night on a bus from La Paz to Uyuni, three days in a 4×4 in the Bolivian altiplano, and a day on a bus from Chile to Salta is the definition of stupid. Who thinks it’ll be fun to be on transport for SIX DAYS STRAIGHT? (Answer: People who put their fingers into wall sockets and me.)

To review:

(Base Hours on Bus + (Rain/Leaky Roof – Suite + Frat + Traffic)

South America ^Mervyn

Insert 20 hours into this formula, watch it percolate with the other ingredients, and in the end you get 28 hours. Instead of arriving at 10:30 in the morning, I got in at 6pm at night.

That’s enough time to watch Schindler’s List nine times (and about as much fun). So, should you find yourself on a bus, in a rain, with me and a bunch of frat boys, in South America, with a glass of champagne in your hand and a curtain on your right, you know what to do.

Turn off your personal TV, put on a raincoat, and throw me out the side door. If you’re feeling especially brave, toss the frat boys while you’re at it, too. You can show this to the judge and say a lawyer made you do it.

GALLERY: No bonus pics today. I forgot to take pictures. Yup. I was that annoyed. Grrrrrrr. . .

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