Thursday, December 27, 2007
Vive Via Bariloche
Anyone who knows me IRL knows I've been waxing poetic about coche cama travel for a while now, without having actually been on one! (Anyone who knows me IRL knows I tend to do that, plead fanaticism without the benefit of personal knowledge--it's a charmingly irksome trait.) ANYWAY, I can now put my money where my mouth is (or whatever the fuck that saying is) as my first foray into these luxury long-distance buses (my chosen empresa, Via Bariloche) lived up to (most) expectations.
Check out the photos:
- Seats that recline an advertised 180 degrees, altho equipped with my handy-dandy protractor, I measured a mere 175, but any flatter is arguably worse since it imparts the sensation of having your head lower than your feet (courtesy of pulledoutofmyass.com). The ottoman can be set on decline or flat.
- Cookies & coffee at greeting; cold & hot meals for dinner; breakfast; beverage choice of champagne, wine, sodas, or water.
- Movies in English with Spanish subtitles: Eragon, Transformers, Spiderman 3 (none my taste); also a mostly crapful yet bizarre compilation of late 80s music videos--can you spot the angsty Sinead O'Connor before she went all pope-insane? On-board entertainment is perhaps your only wild card, since DVD choice will depend on your steward, and speak of the devil...
- A personal steward, who by decree has to be strappingly handsome (in the photo, he was offering candy)
We did coach to Iguazu (approx. U$S60) but opted for first class (approx. U$S80) back. Trust me--worth the splurge. Coach, while more comfortable than the typical airplane seat, felt cramped and of course, was nowhere near a flat bed. Also, your odds of sitting next to a baby with croup and a nose-picking toddler are 10x higher than on first class. (This I did have firsthand experience.) Now I know that roundtrip airfare to Iguazu is not that much more, but I'm a firm believer that travel isn't travel unless done on the ground. And being able to lavishly tour Misiones in all its red-earth glory was worth it.
But back to my first-class busing, the 16 hours just flew by and by. Maybe it had to do with sleeping next to a 4-ft-wide window cocooned in a lulling, rolling vehicle, where I was treated to a spectacular view of unrelenting pine forests, the aforementioned tierra roja, a lago, and assorted crackerjack towns with sunkissed kids waving, replete with lightning at sundown (see next post for visuals). I'm def sold on this (a modern person's) version of a vision quest.
Too bad the filthy Greyhound can't come close. I'd love to visit all the flyover states thisaway.