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Published: June 16th 2017
Geo: -31.4053, -64.1804
It's so totally Argentinean. Immense--gigantic even, with 150 different bus companies. Can you see that? There is nothing in the US that compares to this--it blows your mind.
This is a bus station. And it's all in Spanish--every millimeter of it.
In a country where petrol is more expensive than fine wine, taxis convert to natural gas. So even if you own a car, it's just out of sight to drive it far.
When you're traveling cross country you grab a bus, not your keys. These long distance buses are luxurious with comfortable padded seats, some that fully recline (180*) and offer white glove dinner service that includes wine.
That explains the need---can't even guess why there has to be 150 different providers.
We got to the station last night an hour early because it's been two years since we've been in this thing--we knew we'd have forgotten parts of this process, at least.
When you enter you're faced with rows and rows of ticket counters, each for a different company organized by the area of Argentina you're traveling to. So you need rows of kiosks for the north, more rows for the south, 2 more for the center, more for north east---are you getting the picture?
First ---and this is so easy to get wrong because it's so overwhelming--FIRST you find the row of booths for the area you're going TO. So last night Bob sat with all the luggage and I went off hunting down our platform number.
Isn't it just on your ticket, you ask? Oh no, that would be way to easy. When you get to Retiro you find your ticket booth (even when you already have your ticket) and ask them which platform your bus will leave from. The ticket only tells you what time your bus will leave.
That's what she tells me. It will be on any of the platforms between 52 & 66. How will I know which one, I ask her? You just listen to the announcer, she says like I'm from outer space.
If you've ridden the subway in New York you have an idea of what the announcement sounds like---totally unintelligible.
So for the next hour we practice listening to see if we can pick out any of the words we're hearing. We do finally make it on the bus and the rest is so easy. We watch a movie, take an ambien, and when we wake up we're in Cordoba.
Our two tickets were $345 pesos, about $70 and we saved a night's lodging. This is the first we've ridden that didn't include dinner--I forgot to ask when I bought the ticket. They usually serve you dinner and what passes for breakfast. The dinners are fine--breakfasts are generally a package of cookies.
The system isn't based on any kind of efficiency that we would recognize, but it works. All you have to do is sit here watching the buses roll in, pick up passengers and roll out to appreciate what they're accomplishing. It took ours about 10 minutes to park, load and leave.
Tot: 0.417s; Tpl: 0.015s; cc: 9; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0108s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb