There’s something pretty defeating about standing in a bus terminal at one o’clock in the morning with your friends only to realize the bus you’ve all been waiting for has already left and you didn’t even know.
I felt like I was carrying all of my clothes in a backpack with my attached water bottle and sneakers swirling around every time I spun to try to find my friends in the group of hundreds of people. We’d been preparing all day to go to Mendoza, Argentina this weekend and we were so excited to cross the Andes and get a new passport stamp and enjoy a mini holiday in wine country. We’d booked our hostel and our roundtrip tickets, planned our tours and thought about what restaurants we might break our budget for. It was a simple trip (or so we thought) and when we finally got to Santiago to grab our overnight bus over the border, we realized our bus was going to be a little later than we expected. So we waited around in this enormous crowd of people all trying to catch their buses too.
And somehow, in all the chaos and the constant arrival delays, we lost it our bus (which is pretty embarrassing for us after managing to bus-hop our way to Peru with no problem.) The security guards started closing the bus gate and we realized we were stranded in the middle of the night at a weird bus station hours away from home with this nice french guy and we didn’t have a backup plan. So just as our nation’s leader, Beyoncé, would do–we made lemonade.
We stayed the night with my host brother in Santiago (Sergio, if you’re reading this, thanks for letting three girls crash your man cave. We appreciated it so much.) and because we were already packed, we committed to a weekend in the city. We found a hidden gem of a hostel, which I’ll be including more details about in my next post, and turned one of the crappiest situations into actually one of the best weekends.
The next day, we found out the guys at the border crossing had actually gone on strike, leaving thousands of cars and buses backed up and waiting. And suddenly, after so much mayhem with tickets, trying to do some damage control with hostel bookings, and saying “everything happens for a reason” about twenty times, I was so grateful our Plan A failed. We would’ve been stuck on a bus in the middle of the mountains with no idea when we would arrive or be able to leave again. It would’ve been the worst and we didn’t realize until then that our bad luck at the bus terminal was actually good luck all along.
Thank goodness for friends who don’t panic easily, who have good taste in food, and who are light-hearted enough to laugh at weird and unexpected situations. It’s moments like these when you realize just how important those qualities are.