Bus rides. They can be long. They can be cold. They can be bumpy. They can be winding. The smell of feet mingled with air freshener. Your legs become stiff. Your neck aches from nodding off. And there’s the small problem of straining your bladder as you decide whether to hold your pee or brave the bus loo (if there is one). Also, in Argentina, the prices make you weep.
But oh, what a way to see a country, any country. Flying makes the world smaller but buses allow you to appreciate the size and scope of a country’s terrain. When the distance between two cities span over 1,300km, you should feel some of it, to appreciate what it means. Crossing Bolivia in a bus, I also appreciate what an endeavour it is to build roads across such a vast and rugged terrain, to say nothing of the danger and skill involved in those navigating treacherous,
On the road, it’s vast plains, sprawling skies, endless mountain ranges, gushing winding rivers. People-watching when a bus stops at a terminal. It’s the ultimate armchair-travelling. Bus travel doesn’t have the romantic ring of rail travel. When I get off a long ride I bitch and moan about it. But when I remember what I saw, it feels like love to me.