Argentina will stun you by day and Argentina will stun you by night. With terrain as diverse as its history is complex, Argentina will enchant, shock and surprise. If you visit you will leave vowing to return to embrace the vibrant culture, to try to understand the complexities of a political, class and cultural system that espouses equality but is experiencing the difficulties globalised money markets visit upon sovereign nations so very easily. While forging a new path out of its own history, it is also caught in the tangles of the past.
If wondering about the tangles of the past with the pressures of globalization, hedge funds and defaulting economies are not your thing then seek out the highlights of the Argentine landscape for a much more dramatic escape. Amongst these highlights are the Iguazu Falls on the north eastern border of Argentina and Brazil. There is any number of reasons to travel to Iguazu from anywhere in the world and each ends in the phrase “because they are breath taking!” Like wise there is a myriad of reasons not to take a long haul night bus to Iguazu from anywhere. All of these reasons end with “because from anywhere Iguazu is just too far away.” If however, like many other travelers who decide to go, time and money force you into the semi-cama beside the toilets on a night bus, here are a number of reasons why you should never, ever take sleeping pills to get you through the journey. Even when the stench of bloo loo fills your nostrils for each of the 18 hours from Buneos Aires to Puerto Iguazu take my advice and avoid sleeping pills.
First of all when the bus travels across the pampas and you have taken a sleeping pill you will miss the change of light as Argentina moves from day to night. The flat plains become a flame of colour with night red spilling across the thin line of the horizon. A sunset without a center, the pampas look as though the evening change is being poured flood like across the Pampas grass tops. This stunning sight is not to be missed. Neither is the steak dinner that will be presented to you anywhere between 8pm and 3.30am on the bus. If you haven’t had lomo at 2am, then I urge you not to sleep on the bus.
My top reason for not taking sleeping pills on the bus however, is missing out on cuddling gaucho resting on your shoulder. Argentinians are an open affectionate people. But it is possible that you may be unprepared for the snuggles and the warm sweaty hand holding that may go on for a while before you wake up from your slumber. Don’t get me wrong – we are all humans and need a good cuddle every now and again. Iguazu falls are also worth it. But if the fondness of strangers is not part of your holiday plans, then take my advice and avoid taking sleeping pills on long haul bus journeys!