Remember, about a month ago, when I rocked some impressive travel karma? To the tune of a $500 flight voucher, a swanky hotel stay and a first class upgrade where I drank my weight in free Diet Coke? Well, the travel gods saw to it that any karmic imbalances created with all that good luck were righted during our most recent busing adventure.
The Mister and I had just finished a three-day tour of the salt flats, hanging with some fantastic Wellingtonians that we met at Carnival. Uyuni, the tiny dust bowl of a town that serves as the gateway to the salt flats, cleverly offers train service out of town only twice a week. Our bible, The Lonely Planet, called the buses out of town ¨cold, bumpy and inadvisable¨but then we know how they felt about the awesomeness that is sandboarding, don´t we? ¨We´re rugged!¨we cried. ¨We´re rough and tumble travelers!¨we challenged. ¨We don´t want to stay in this shit hole another minute!¨we wept.
So we were more than pleased when we found a bus out of town that would take us all the way back to the capitol in seven hours. We rounded up snacks for the bus, inflated those nerdy neck pillows and settled in for what we were sure would be seven hours of lovely mountain scenery and Pringle nibbling.
Here are some highlights of what transpired during my own personal version of hell:
We find our seats at the very back of the bus and are immediately surrounded by a huge group of silver miners
They pull out several bottles of rubbing alcohol, mix them with bottles of Fanta and begin drinking before the bus pulls out
They joyfully (and repeatedly) offer us this delicious drink while asking Sam who is the hottest American actress. “Angelina Jolie, yes? Yessssss?!”
After several drinks, they begin peeing into Sprite bottles
As we drive over the rutted dirt road they spill beer, Fanta/rubbing alcohol and pee all over.
The bus fords several rivers successfully. Then the driver stops the bus, asks us all to get out, wade across the river on our own and guns the engine over it.
The miners take turns carrying each other across and in the excitement of all the wading and drinking, one of them gets left behind
As night falls, the miners begin to drunkenly sign folk songs, getting louder every time someone shushes them.
The two babies sitting in front of us begin to cry
My seat doesn’t recline
Lather, rinse and repeat for sixteen hours.
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