Here we are in Córdoba, Argentina. Our luxury bus, the Balut Coche Cama, dropped us off earlier than we would have liked and we have been waiting for the sun to rise. Firstly, did you know Argentina is two hours ahead of eastern time? I feel like we are hanging out into the ocean. Secondly, did you know Argentina is about as long as the United States is wide? Brazil alone is the size of the United States. South America is hopelessly large.
Thankfully, the two Argentinian buses that we have ridden in so far have been incredibly luxurious compared to the suspension-less schoolbuses of Bolivia. In addition to having very comfortable seats and ample legroom, they provide coffee and juice and they have bathrooms that (gasp!) come with their own toilet paper. The only movie we ever saw on a Bolivian bus was some Italian spaghetti western with music composed by Ennio Morricone. Oh, I take it back, they followed that up with ´Wanted.´Last night we saw ´Fracture´ - why is Anthony Hopkins typecast as a lunatic? - and then they played ´Ghost Rider´ - why is Nicolas Cage typecast as a bad actor?
After our last post we swung by Sucre, Bolivia. John says Sucre is ghetto meditterean and I think he might write a post to that effect. Sucre was nicer than Potosí, most importantly because we did not get sprayed in the face multiple times with shaving cream, but the whitewashed buildings and big city parks were pleasant to look at. There seemed to be alot of German immigrants there. Out of curiousity we ate lunch at a German-Bolivian restaurant before we started out on a hellish twelve-hour ride rattling through the dark across the washboards that Bolivia calls highways. And of course, the seat in front of me was a little broken and reclined more than most, coming within a foot of my nose...
We arrived at the Argentinian border at the crack of dawn. Getting into Bolivia was easy, all you had to do was fork over $135, and getting out of Bolivia, with one little stamp, was even easier. Getting into Argentina was free, but not free of very long lines while maté-drinking officials took their time to fill out paperwork and glance at your bags. Then our bus was stopped three times for police checkpoints complete with drug sniffing dogs and luggage checks. At some point, we passed over the Tropic of Capricorn and the halfway point of our trip, five weeks down, five to go.
Summer is in full swing in Argentina. We finally arrived in Salta, which was really nice, but I am not really sure what to say about it because Argentina is so... familiar. What a difference a border makes! Salta felt like sort of like Europe and I would guess the feeling will only intensify as we approach Buenos Aires. Pedestrian malls, beautiful plazas, churches painted like cakes, we blend in here quite a bit better than we did in Peru or Bolivia.
So after yet another comparatively luxurious bus ride, we are now in Córdoba. The internet is so fast here I think John might be uploading photos to this sadly pictureless blog as I type. Stay tuned.