The Life of Overlanding Through Chile...
February 22, 2007


I am just about to get picked up from my hostel for the long bus ride. Let me stress this. The looooooooooooooong bus ride. Thirty
hours long.


I knew there was going to be a stop-off in Punta Arenas where another bus would pick us up. I was silly enough to think that this
was actually going to be at the bus station in Punta Arenas. Nope. Four of us were dropped off in the middle of nowhere at a house-
type of building with an outhouse. The bus driver told me the other bus would come in ‘veinte minutos – mas or menos’. Let me say
that it turned out being much more on the ‘mas’ side as we waited in the cold for an hour. The only entertainment I had for that
time was watching the dog climb onto a wooden fence and almost pounce on the rooster that was on one of the suitcases. I couldn’t
even listen to my ipod for fear of using up any necessary battery life that I might need on the bus.

But now I am in the bus so all is forgiven.


We were given sandwiches and coffee. That was a nice touch.

We just had our border crossings. I am somewhat relieved to see that we cross borders as this will likely take up some of the thirty
hours. And standing on my legs will be appreciated – even if it means being in line while waiting for my passport to be checked.

I also had a fun observation while at the Chilean border. As we were leaving the country on one side, the other side had people
coming into the country. I could see the computer screens of the officials who were stamping their passports. I am here to report
that these officials switch over to their Gmail accounts and continue their Google-chats in between stamping passports.  


I am now 8½  hours into trip. It hasn’t been too painful yet. There are movies playing that are dubbed in Spanish. The first one was
Transporter. The second was one Transporter II (who knew there was a sequel?). We’re now waiting for Movie #3. Could it be
Transporter III???

I am sure it won’t come as any big surprise that I am not watching these movies. Oh wait. It could be partly due to the fact that I
can’t understand any of what they are saying. In the meantime I have started and finished an entire book. Here I thought it would
be on the Trans-Mongolian railroad or the Antarctica trip that I would be aching to open some books when I never had a chance to
do anything of the sort. I have now learned that bus rides is where I am going to increase my literary repertoire. The latest and
greatest book that I can add to my list is
Inheritance of Loss. I remember seeing it on CNN World News for getting the Booker
Prize. I must say that it is a great book. Very hard to put down.


12 hours have now passed. Getting closer to the end of this ride.

Oh. And the third movie was actually Slither. It was in English. I was able to learn a few Spanish obscenities since there was an f-
bomb dropped and I could read what it was in Spanish. That was the highlight for me of the movie.


Not much else to report other than 14 hours have now passed…


Forgot to report our midnight dinner stop. It wasn’t very memorable being at a gas station café. Maybe that is why I forgot.

26 hours have now passed. Nearing the finish line. Though I am a bit concerned as we still haven’t crossed back into Chile.

In the meantime, there is nothing like a 9:00am viewing of Basic Instinct 2.


Basic Instinct 2 was brought to an abrupt end after about 30 minutes. I saw a man rush into the bus cockpit (believe me, it looks
like a cockpit-of-sorts) and seconds later the DVD was being ejected. Oh I don’t know - maybe he had an issue with his child
watching a sex scene early in the morning. What a prude. Haha.

We then watched a Latin American movie that looked like a cross between a Western and Father Knows Best. Weird. And bad
acting. But that was actually the entertaining part of it for me.

They just turned on Magnificent Seven. All of these actors who have only been crossword clues before now: Yul Brynner, Eli
Wallach, Steve McQueen. I now know a movie that they have been in. Though I can’t tell you for the life of me who was whom.


Now into Hour 31. We just passed through Villa La Angostura. My sister told me about this town. Little chocolate shops and cafes
teased me while I looked at them pass by from the bus window. I wanted to say “Let me out here! Let me out here!” But such
things aren’t allowed. Damn.

Oh. And apparently I was wrong about this being a ’30-hour bus ride’. We’re still in Argentina.


Just crossed over the Chilean border. I’m beginning to smell the end of this bus ride.

I do know one thing for sure – I am splurging on a flight to Brazil when it is time to go there. Someone told me that is a FIVE DAY
bus ride from Ecuador. No way, Jose!


Could it be? Could it really be? Thirty-five hours later, I am in Puerto Montt!
Back to Chile.
Some dog and rooster entertainment at the
stop-off point.