On Sunday morning we were in Argentina. On Tuesday morning, at 7 am, we were supposed to arrive in London. And our flight to the UK left from Sao Paulo at 4 pm on Monday.

That all meant that we had to get from Puerto Iguazu to Sao Paulo for our flight. However, to save money on accomodations, we decided to take an over-night bus from Argentina to Sao Paulo (R&125). The ride was supposed to take about 16 hours and we figured we could sleep while traveling.

The ride started out fine. The bus wasn’t as nice or as comfortable as one we took earlier in our trip, but it wasn’t bad. Also, one of the other passengers put on a Rambo movie (it was dubbed into Portuguese, but I think it was called “Rambo: Programmed to Kill”), and that made time pass more quickly. Later, the same guy put on what seemed to be an Argentine movie called “Cedula 211” which also was good.

Around sunset we stopped for a break at a truck stop. A lot of the passengers bought food, but Laura and I had stocked up before we left. Instead, we walked out to the road and watched as the lights of distant towns materialized through the twighlight.

When we got back on the bus it was dark. We opened the curtain on our window and watched the rolling hills go by. The section of Brazil between Iguacu and Sao Paulo is mostly farmland and looks a lot like the great plains in the U.S., with an occasional palm tree mixed in. Because there isn’t much else out there it was really dark and we could the night sky through our window. The town lights looked like fallen stars washed up on the shores of the horizon.

As the night went on the bus ride got less comfortable. Like many Brazilian buses, this one had the A/C turned all the way up. The seats also weren’t very comfortable and these various elements combined to more or less prevent Laura and I from getting any real sleep.

Accordingly, when we got to Sao Paulo at 6 am we were pretty tired. In Laura’s case, fatigue was also combined with a cold and a water-filled ear. However our flight didn’t leave until 4 pm so we decided to go out and see some more sites. We took the subway into the dowtown area and started visiting places. Initially this proved difficult because nothing was open yet. Eventually, though, we found a skyscrapper that allowed people to go up to the roof to get panoramic views, met and talked to a Brazilian musician in a train station, and ate some final Brazilian food (X Salada Bacon, stuffed churros, pao de queijo). Then we headed back to the bus station to pick up our bags and got a taxi to the airport.

At 4 pm we got our British Airways flight to London. Overall all I was impressed with the airline. The meals, if not atypically good, did have a fair amount of variety, and the in-flight entertaiment had a lot of different options. Unfortunately neither Laura nor I got much sleep on the plane.

That meant that by the time we got to London we had pulled two almost-all-nighters in a row. We were seriously tired. We took the tube to the general vicinity of our hotel, but it took quite a bit of walking and the help of a couple from New Zeland before we found it. Then we checked in and took a two hour nap before going out and walking through Hyde Park. On the walk we heard The Pixies playing an outdoor concert. Which was awesome.

By the time the day ended we could barely stand or keep our eyes open. It felt like three days all wrapped into one, which it sort of was. But we had also been in three countries and had two overnight trips. I don’t think either of us had covered that many miles in such a short time and it was pretty exciting to be in London.


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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