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Sunday, 31 May 2009

Solo Bus Adventures: Atacama to Salta - Page 3

Written by Kara Carlson
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I had been traveling alone through South America for three weeks when I awoke the morning of my 20-hour bus ride from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, to Salta, Argentina, with a throbbing headache and transported myself to the bus stop more slowly than my brain deciphers long division.

A bus attendant distributed chicken and Mayonnaise sandwiches to all the passengers. I was prepared with avocado and seasoning. After I altered my sandwich into an edible creation, Nellie handed me hers and impatiently motioned for me to adapt hers so she too could benefit from the accoutrements. Nellie evidently comprehended the American marriage adage ‘What’s mine is yours.’ This was further evidenced when she embezzled my water and thrust a quarter of the bottle down her trachea.

Hours later I was in a satisfying sleep reverie when Charging Bull breathing beat my ears. A hand/clamp then affixed to my forearm. I grudgingly opened my eyes, expecting to see Grendel from Beowolf. Nellie profoundly respired and said, “I sick,” and then faintly gestured her arm through the air toward the front of the bus. “I’m sorry, but... what? Que?” I asked. “I sick!” she shrieked. This outburst was unexpected. What happened to singing? “Ok...” I replied. “Get help!” my commander ordered. I looked over to the person across the aisle, who helplessly shrugged. After a unanimous negative response to my inquiry for any doctors on board the bus, I returned to my seat.

“Lo siento, pero no doctors” comprised my Spanish struggle. Nellie rewarded my efforts with a despised look. “Get driver!” she commanded and then relocated her sweatshirt directly over her head. I didn’t think this very feasible, but a death stare met my appeal and I retreated to the front of the bus feeling like a verbally abused wife and questioning my dad’s assertion that I would be a good lawyer. I returned with a bus attendant, because the driver was driving and unavailable, and determined I would do all I could to make Nellie content in her ailments, but our relationship would have to terminate with the bus ride. I also reconsidered the six children. Maybe five. Or four.

©Kara Carlson

(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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