Traveller sleeping in a bus station

My Favourite Pic in Ages: Sleeping the Night in a Bus Station

In twelve months traveling through South America, only one of the dodgy situations I imagined in my brain (or my mum in her arguably more terrified one for that matter) actually happened.  Happily, I was not made into a human barbeque in Colombia.  No one robbed me.  I did not careen off a Bolivan mountainside on a bus held together by barely more than sticky tape.  I did not become entranced by a golden-brown Brazilian on a golden-brown beach, only to find out that I was to be sold as a sex slave.  I did not lose my luggage.  I was not refused entry into any countries.  And my scuba breathing aparatus worked uncommonly well.

(While I was bitten by a dog and I did meet Gonzalo; a vomit-inducing human being who believed that he was Jesus, and that the Lord was calling him to “heal” (read: molest) young women; I’ve decided that as I didn’t expect these things would happen in the first place, they don’t count.)

But yes, something came true.  One night, I managed not to find accommodation.  I think I was beginning to believe my own hype, always waltzing into hostels without bookings and finding excellent last-minute Couchsurfing hosts.  So I admit to being surprised that night in Tucumán when, planning to leave for Chile the next day, I was perturbed to find that I was fresh out of Argentinian pesos.  After a lot of city trekking I discovered close to 7pm that no places took card, nor had change for US dollars.  And so I decided to sleep at the bus station; a thankfully all-night bonanza of fluro lights and other curled up transients.  So there I was, taking a fitful kip on the stripy floor below an Argentinian flag, on the top level of this open-air bus station as the icy July draughts came in.

I used my sarong as a mattress (a piece of cotton which the cold traveled straight through) and, apart from a visit from a feather-jewellery-selling-17-year-old drifter who made me a wire treble clef, my night was uneventful.  I can’t say I slept well.  But I slept, caught my onward bus early the next morning.  And discovered a new-found respect for bus seats.

Traveler Sleeping in Bus Station


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