The boys quickly established their little territory in the row behind us, and spent an hour or so with Tats (whom they have not seen in over a month, due to her extended flight training adventures outside of Argentina), working through some bedtime math problems before drifting off to sleep.
Tats and I got caught up over "dinner" (a rubbery soy patty served over instant mashed potatoes, and topped with an even more rubbery piece of melted "cheese"... the strawberry pudding was decent, though, and I had thought to bring some yerbamate and a bombilla, so I brewed us up a little mate in a styrofoam cup), which was mercifully served before 10 p.m.
And then we, too, reclined our big, comfy seats and went to sleep (poor Tats had been traveling since approximately 5:30 p.m. three days ago, having left one town in the US by bus to head to another town and wait in an airport for 12 hours before catching a flight to a third town, where she transferred to another plane which brought her to Buenos Aires, allowing her to quickly unpack and repack for Salta!)
The early morning chirps of two blond little birds in the seats behind me are my first sign that morning is dawning. The second is a soft, black and white stuffy that comes sailing over the seats and lands squarely on my chest.
I'm awake now, and after chatting briefly with the boys, I sit up in my chair, open the curtains, and peer out the window to see where 11 hours outside of Buenos Aires finds us....
Eventually we pass a town: There is a cluster of houses, and suddenly, an enormous open space, in the middle, a large playground structure; I infer children are valued here! Dogs trot through the streets of the small town/village, as do a few chickens. A goat grazes on a patch of grass in the yard where he's tied up. The grey donkey standing a few meters along eyes me suspiciously through the bus window.
A faded sign nearby proclaims “Colonia Dora, Terra de la Opportunidad” (Land of Opportunity). I am somewhat skeptical, but the large, colourful “Azugar Latino” (Latin Sugar) nightclub at the edge of town intrigues me. I wonder if it ever gets boring for the locals to dance with the same 50 neighbours every Saturday night?
Others on the bus are stirring now, too, and I'm inspired to muster up the courage for a washroom visit, 12 hours into this 19-hour trip.