Lima to Santiago Bus-topia

Santiago Travel Blog

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I spent a couple of nights in the Point hostel, pretty much just sleeping and then getting ‘destroyed’ on the night by a group of young Australians whose mission was to do this to themselves and anyone that they met. Of more notable interest was the mental beefy tattooed skinhead at the hostel…

On the first day I met Beefy McMentallist at mid-day. He started talking to me in French, I responded in kind. Although I could understand the words Beefy used, they didn’t really make any sense when you put them together.

He also kept stopping and breathing deeply - looking like he was either having a panic attack or really pissed off. After a while it actually transpired that he was Italian - I put the strange behaviour down to his frustration at problems with communicating.

Hmm.. when in the three day journey should I have my one allowable whizz?

At one in the morning when he tipped out a bagful of cocaine onto the pool table and stuffed his face into it (by all accounts he’d already done five grammes) then I made a re-assessment. This guy was just a space-cadet.

By now he was talking even more shit, talking to himself, huffing and puffing, doing inept karate moves in mid air and growling. But the kind of sarcastic ‘grrr - I’m a scary little tiger’ growling. And shouting ‘mamma mia’ periodically…

At some stage five police removed him. The last I saw was the next morning when he was asking to be allowed back in the hostel. This was interspersed by feeble fencing moves with an empty plastic bottle and saying ‘grrrrrrr’. Not the most convincing of arguments.

A sign? Probably just a sign.

I booked my bus ticket direct to Santiago, Chile. 60 hours, the best part of a hundred quid and the feeling that there weren’t going to be a lorra, lorra laughs.

I was on my third shitty mp3 player by this stage in my travels (one broken, one left in a room) but had forgotten to charge it up. I also forgot to switch it off after a musical interlude at the bus station so that source of entertainment would be dead to me for the journey.

Bookswise I had a selection of classics - Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ (If that inspired a generation of Americans then there can’t have been much to do then, I found it quite boring), Open the Veins of Latin America (been plodding through this for sometime, but there’s only so much you can read about Europe bum-raping South America at one sitting) and, due to limited choice at the book swap, my first Geoffrey Archer novel.

It's a dogs life!!! *Job offers for You've been Framed scriptwriting come rolling in*
Surprisingly readable.

The on board entertainment included some good films, plenty of bad ones or previously seen ones and a random match of words/subtitles - Spanish/English, Spanish/Spanish and for one film English/English: Lovely Bones, which is depressing.

The meals were also without any pattern. Day one, stop at a café for a free big lunch - curry chicken and rice. Dinner was a ham and cheese croissant on the bus. Day two was Biafrin day - a 9 a.m. stop for breakfast soup (but pay this time), nothing and no-stop for lunch and a tiny spoonful of rice with some paper-thin beef strips on the bus at 9 p.m.

On day three there was no breakfast and finally some sort of food at 1 pm. I genuinely can’t remember what or where it was, I think my memory shut down so that I would have more energy available to devour whatever it was.

Ironically this shop sells surgical boots, asthma inhalers and extra thick specs...
That afternoon I noticed that a few of the smaller and weaker passengers seemed to have disappeared. Odd…

In terms of roominess it was a good trip; the seat beside me was empty giving me a medley of possible sprawling positions so that I could comfortably sleep. Until day two. Without explaining why, a Polish bloke came and sat next to me. I could handle this, what I couldn’t handle was the stink.

The BO was pungent, so much so that only an old Northern word will do: This guy kiffed. There was no escaping the smell. After customs he came back on the bus and toward me. Much to my chagrin.

‘Immigration. Es un poco loco, eh?’ He spoke in that annoying gringo Spanish - high pitched for no apparent reason and using any phrase he knows, even if incorrect, aswell as massively overusing the words ‘pero’ and ‘para’.

Rich likes this.
OK, granted - I wasn’t in the best of moods.

I pondered whether to say ‘no, it wasn’t a little bit mental, it just took a long time’. Or maybe ‘well it would have been less mental if you hadn’t tried to take a bag of cheese through customs despite everyone telling you that it’s not allowed. Just because half of it’s in sandwich form doesn’t make it okay, you fucking spoon.’ (That’s a valid rule in life generally)

I ended up plumping for, ‘Sorry mate, do you speak English? Not being rude, but (i.e. I am about to be rude) you really smell. Really smell.’

He didn’t seem to understand, so I had to break out some sweeeet Castellano. Unfortunately I don’t know Spanish for ‘No offence, but…’ so this would be untempered rude… although I could put a sorry on the end.

‘No me gusta su aroma. Quieres una ducha. Puedes regressar a su asiento primero? Por favor? Disculpe.’

He went back to stink sit in his original seat. I felt a little bit bad, but seriously this dude must not have showered for a few days before getting on the bus, the stench of stale fruity BO was so bad.

Finally arrived in Santiago. Ten quid accomodation, one pound a beer and five pounds for two bagfulls of shopping. Not as expensive as I’d been warned.

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Hmm.. when in the three day journe…
Hmm.. when in the three day journ…
A sign? Probably just a sign.
A sign? Probably just a sign.
Its a dogs life!!! *Job offers fo…
It's a dogs life!!! *Job offers f…
Ironically this shop sells surgica…
Ironically this shop sells surgic…
Rich likes this.
Rich likes this.
photo by: Bluetraveler