Let me start by saying that Pablo swore to never travel by bus ever again in his life within the first 3 hours of our trip this weekend.
What usually is a quick drive across the city to the bus station took about an hour longer than expected because there was something huge going on in the center, by which we had to pass. We were taking an overnight bus which departed at 10:20pm and arrives in Mendoza at 5:30am the next morning. Thankfully, we had left 2 hours in advance because we were getting a ride with Pablo’s dad who was going to pick up Pablo’s brother who was due an hour before our departure. Once we arrived at the bus station, it was a nightmare because of the three day weekend. While we checked-in, we were told bluntly and directly that I “can not travel” because I didn’t have some little yellow immigration paper that they supposedly gave me at the airport and that I needed in order to exit Chile. Umm.. yes I can, I’m not missing my bus! He told us that when I got to the border they wouldn’t let me through but he would let me on the bus.
Finally after a 2 hour journey from my house, I was on the bus with comfortable seats and, after adjusting to the blasting volume of the movie on board, I fell asleep. But the fun didn’t end there. You can see from my last post that it snowed the night before I left. And around 1am or so an announcement woke us up that the pass was closed and wouldn’t open again until 8am in the morning. This is about the time Pablo swore to never take another bus ever. Good thing we’ll be getting the flights cheap soon. So we slept on the bus, passed at 8:30 in the morning, and arrived at the border about an hour later to find ourselves in about a 4 and a half hour wait to cross. And, no, the photo below is not to cross the customs window, its for the Women’s bathroom.. good thing I had my P-Mate.. if you don’t have one of those, you are missing out.
But, remember, I didn’t have that little piece of paper, so when I got to the window to leave Chile, the international police told me I couldn’t leave the country. I tried excuses like “I’m not Chilean, I’m American, you don’t want me here, my visa is almost out, I have a right to leave this country.. blah blah blah” and she sat my passport aside in her little window room. I’ve also been in and out of Chile before and never had to show something to leave the country. So, finally, after the whole line had been through, she filled out a little paper, told me it was my responsibility as a tourist to have my immigration papers and that the airport has all the databases so that’s why they don’t ask for it and let me through. I had never been told that I needed to keep that little paper. I’ve traveled plenty and never had anything like that. If they wanted me to keep that stupid thing, they should have stapled it to my passport.
We made it to Mendoza by 3:30pm. Yes, that’s a 17 hour bus ride which could be a 1 hours plane ride. It was also just in time for the siesta. Not a good thing. That meant every store was closed and nothing was going on.
On the brighter side, our hostel was having a Halloween party that night with free drinks. So we bought some beers and energy drinks, hung out in the common area, and waited for the rooftop party to start. I had my Native American headband, therefore I was actually kinda dressed up, unlike the rest of the Argentine population. So we drank. The music was lame because it was someones play list in alphabetical order by artist so there were about 10 Black Eyed Peas songs in a row.. then when it got to the M’s about 5 Madonna songs in a row. But I took the responsibility to change the song every time one that I didn’t like came on.. no one seemed to mind. After taking full advantage of the free drink system, Pablo and I went to bed “early”.
The next two days we actually got to see Mendoza.