Getting to Buenos Aires (with a couple of stopovers…)

After my flight from Easter Island landed in Santiago, Chile I took the first bus out.  I had already been to Santiago on “Around-The-World Part I” and wasn’t so impressed with the capital city, so I decided a quick stopover in the port city of Valparaiso was in order.  I had heard that it was a colorful bohemian type city, so I decided that it would be different enough to warrant a stop.  Yea, not really worth it.  While the ascensores (funicular type apparatuses designed to avoid walking the extremely steep cliffs – which unfortunately I didn’t get a good picture of) were semi-entertaining the first time, after that first joy ride I just felt lazy for not taking the stairs, so I climbed, and of course was sore the next morning.  There wasn’t much else to do in Valpo, as Lonely Planet describes, it is a “working-class” city, which translates to dirty and full of graffiti.  After that it was time for my nine hour bus to Mendoza, Argentina.

Basically I used Mendoza as a transit hub on my way to Buenos Aires to avoid a 23 hour bus ride.  Dividing it out into nine and 14 hours seemed to make more sense.  Though because I don’t like wine (it gives me massive headaches, even in tasting quantities because I’m missing some enzyme to digest it or something), it was kind a waste of time for me because really the only thing to do in Mendoza is wine tours.  And while I’m sure they have some fantastic wines, the last wine tasting I went to in Chile at Concha y Toro I ended up giving away all of my samples, so it seemed like a real waste for me to pay for that experience again.  And yes, I drove through Napa on my west coast road trip and didn’t stop there either…

Then it was time for my 14 hour bus ride, which despite its length wasn’t that bad (even without the luxury of personal tvs attached to the seats in front of you, which I have grown accustomed to on trans-oceanic flights – yes, I’m a snob about that now, but it really helps pass the time watching a half season of Modern Family while crossing an ocean).  The problem came in when the driver pulled into a bus station and said “termina”, which means that is the last stop and everyone has to get off.  Or at least that’s what the only other backpacker and I thought he said.  Turns out, we were a two hour colectivo (small mini-bus thing that makes about a million stops) ride from the bus station we were supposed to get off at.  So yea, that 14 hours turned into about 16… Ahh the joys of South American bus travel.

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