Super-comfy super-cama to BA
If you're going to travel by bus in Argentina, and you're going to travel long distances (and in Argentina, all distances are long distances), then do it in style. Last night, I took the super-cama (lit: "super-bed") express bus, with Via Bariloche, from Bariloche to Buenos Aires. And by G-d, it was by far the nicest and most luxurious bus ride I've ever had in my life. A seat that reclines back 180°, and that totally pwns most hostel beds. Movies on flat-screen suspended plasma-screen TVs. Roast beef and custard for dinner. Red wine and champagne served in-trip. Hot medialunas (croissants, lit: "half-moons") for breakfast. Pillows, blankets, you name it. This bus trip may have been a bit pricey, but it was still nothing compared to a (very small and crappy economy-class) plane ticket. Furthermore, a trip like this is more than just a means of transportation — it's an attraction of Argentina in and of itself.
The super-cama service from Bariloche to Buenos Aires is about 19 hours, overnight: my bus departed at about 3pm yesterday, and it arrived in the big city by 10am this morning. Although it's more expensive than the regular cama service, it still sells out every day: I couldn't even get a ticket for Sunday's bus (which is why I got the Monday bus instead). I guess that the kind of people going to and from Bariloche, are the kind that can afford to pay a bit more for the luxury ride. Most of my fellow passengers on the trip seemed to be Brazilians: they were talking in a language whose vocabulary sounds Spanish, but whose pronunciation sounds Russian — what I've come to recognise as Portuguese. I wonder if they're going by bus, all the way back to Rio / São Paulo, or if they're getting a plane from BA?
Of the movies that they showed on the bus, one was particularly good: Premonition, a new mystery / suspense thriller starring Sandra Bullock (and un-dubbed, with subtitles only — yay!). Very good film — and looks brand new, so I'm not sure if it's out in Australia yet. They also played about an hour straight of Really Bad™ romantic video clips, after the film. The selection included: I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston), My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion), and (Everything I Do) I Do It For You (Bryan Adams). Not so bad individually — but together, I consider them to be about as lethal a musical cocktail as you can get. Surely there are laws against playing that many soppy songs, in sequence, in a public place?
I arrived in Argentina's capital and biggest city, Buenos Aires, and was greeted by a morning of rain and dreariness. A bit disappointing, since I'd heard that last week it was sunny and 35° all week here. Anyway, I managed to grab a taxi into town, and to check in to my new hostel, all with no problems. Now, I've got two weeks to hang around in this town, and to celebrate Rosh Hashanah / Yom Kippur (Jewish New Year) while I wait for the weather to pick up.