Another travel day and the start of the longest bus ride of my life — immediately after the previous longest bus ride of my life.
After a stressful and boring day on a 24-hour bus I checked into a shitty hostel in Arica (where I never saw daylight) and chatted with Sarah from Seattle who was beyond nice and really a treat to talk to after such a weird day with absolutely zero English and the stressful border crossing. She was visiting her sister in Chile and works in a science museum back home. But I was exhausted and had to say goodnight pretty quickly. I slept for 6 hours, woke up in the still dark morning at 6 a.m. Chilean DST (which 10 miles north in Peru is 4 a.m.) and went right back to the bus station in Arica to catch the TurBus to Santiago.
The new bus is not nearly as nice as the last — no hot meals, no personal televisions and no personal space. It stops all the time and it feels like I’m wasting so much time. On top of this I’m in a shitty mood and everyone around me is annoying me. The scenery, the main reason I wanted to travel by bus down the coast to Santiago, is next to nothing — just miles and miles and miles of desert in northern Chile, just like all of Peru. I’ve been on the bus for 8 hours now and we haven’t even made it to Antofagasta yet. This bus will likely take another 24 hours to get to Santiago because I’m done making optimistic guesses about travel times. If I get to Santiago before dark tomorrow I will be totally happy but I’m predicting that neither of those things will happen…plz let me be surprised. Will check in with more shitty attitude later 😦
We are forced off the bus in a busy Antofagasta bus station and now must play a shell game with the TurBus — thee are five at this station and they all look the same as they shuffle in and out of parking spaces to gas and clean up. But only one has my precious baggage.
Now loaded up again after the pit stop I’m pretty sure I’m still on the bus with mi equipaje. The crew is the same and the man sitting next to me is the same, so…
Google maps says we still have 15 hours left in the trip and of course there is somebody sitting next to me even though there are plenty of open seats. I lose the lottery again and in these close quarters it’s impossible to relax and I think we still have 18 hours to go which would put us there around 2 p.m. tomorrow.
At least it’s almost dark soon. Sleeping is like time traveling and has been my only hope to make it through this crazy series of buses without losing my mind completely.
Finally nighttime and of course the old dude next to me starts snoring… see you tomorrow bus nomads.