As my the bus makes its 32 point turn to pull itself clear from the tiny bus terminal, I can feel my eyelids beginning to feel heavy, as if they are bearing the weight of tiny anchors attached to each of my sleep-filled eyelashes. I tuck the tiny white pillow the stewardess has given me into the thin space between my neck and the soft leather chair. The bus peels through town and into the hills taking each corner just slightly too fast. The headrest of my seat becomes a rocking chair for my weary head which sways from one side to the other. As my eyes force themselves shut I realize that fighting the inevitable sleep is pointless, and I let my dream world whisk me away.
After a couple hours of head nodding sleep I snap back to life and find myself asking a question commonly asked by those of us who are constantly on the move: “Where am I?” Anyone who lives as a nomad has been in a situation where they’ve felt this way, usually it occurs in the middle of the night, and sometimes it takes turning a light on in the room to remember the answer to your “should be simple” answer. In fact, most of us would be lying if we said that we’ve never once gotten out of bed to go use the washroom and walked straight into a wall, or have been left feeling our way around a pitch black room trying to find the bathroom that we some how misplaced.
I begin to scan the area through the glass of the window to search for clues. The view reflected through my eyes furthers my confusion. Rich green vegetation lines the side of the highway. Tall pined trees and a variety of deciduous plants are deeply rooted into rich dark soil. The full vegetation climbs its way up the inclined walls of graceful mountains which house spotted glaciers and well aged white snow. As the bus climbs over a pass a deeply coloured lake finds refuge in one of the deepened cavities of the mountain landscape. Around the lake, cottages dot the shores and boats sit harboured along the rocky beaches.
“Am I in Canada???” I whisper to myself under my breath in confusion. I could swear that I must be somewhere in British Colombia. As my mind begins to put the confused puzzle back together I come to the realization that there is no way I am in Canada. My head begins to twist on my neck like a top as my vision darts throughout the bus searching for clues to my whereabouts. There is a Chinese couple in the row across from me, that doesn’t help. “No Fumar” is written on the doors ahead. “Argentina!”
One of the beauties of traveling to new places is you never really know what to expect, and I never expected this part of Argentina (actually I was on the highway between Argentina and Chile) to look this way. It does have me very excited to explore further.
As the bus continues through the hills and the valleys my eyes remain captivated by the beauty that surrounds me. I clinch my camera tightly with my hand throwing it to the glass of the window at each and every single opportunity to take a picture free of trees, sign posts and street lights. My head shakes in shame as I think to myself “how did I sleep through any of this?”
***Note: All the photos in this post were taken through the bus window.