29 hours is exactly how long it took me to break on our two-day bus trip from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires via Iguazu.

But don’t get me wrong. I came into the bus trip, planning for 41 hours actually on the bus, not expecting to break. I came into it chock-full of that we-can-do-it-no-matter-how-crazy-it-seems attitude. It’s same one that made us walk to all the way to the top of Corcovado in Rio, that made us use public transportation no matter how complicated or foreign to save money on cabs, that made us take this leap and go on this trip in the first place. But 29 hours into it, I lost it. Here’s the back story:

Our trip from Rio to Buenos Aires was to be done in two legs:

  1. Leave Rio at 1:30pm on Sunday, arrive in Foz do Iguaçu (the bus station on the Brazilian side of the falls) at 12:30pm Monday via the bus line Pluma.
  2. Leave Puerto Iguazú (the bus station on the Argentinian side of the falls) at 7:00pm Monday, arrive in Buenos Aires at 12:45pm Tuesday via the bus line Crucero del Norte.

Yeah, it was a hike, but we would be able to save money on an expensive flight from Rio to B.A., forgo two nights lodging, and get to see Iguazu Falls, which so many people had recommended.

This is what really happened:

Our already super long 23-hour ride from Rio was two and a half hours late. When we arrived in Foz do Iguaçu, it was already after 3pm. We then needed to take three separate local buses to get from the Brazilian side across the border to the Argentinian side.

By the time we reached our final stop it was 4:40pm (mind you – we were carrying those big bags we featured in a previous post.) It was too late to see the falls. To visit the falls would require another bus (I know!) and another 45 minute ride both to and from the park. And the park closed at 6pm. It was too close for us weakened road warriors to risk. So we missed it. We went all that way and didn’t get to see the falls.

We did get to meet this super cool Israeli chick named Tom who crossed the Brazilian/Argentina border with us. She showed us her pictures of the falls. She said she couldn’t get over how much water there was because they don’t have a lot of water in Israel. Also she said, there were a lot of butterflies, a lot of butterflies and a lot of water. “It was like heaven.” So now Tom’s heaven goes on my bucket list.

Nellu and I had just enough time to get some much-needed food and make our second long haul bus from Puerto Iguazú to Buenos Aires, which we did. It was a nicer bus than the last. But it didn’t take long for me to crack.

A little over three hours into that ride, the bus stewards were chucking it up in the front cab (loudly), the man next to me didn’t seem to know how put his phone on vibrate (in fact no one did), a baby was crying, and a 7-year boy who had just boarded and sat right in front of us had a lot of questions about everything. It was one of those moments where normally I would think to myself, “Ah, that kid is so cute and curious. He’s like our nephews.” But what I thought under the stress of the moment was: “I’m going to f-ing kill you.”

Don’t worry. It all ended with out incident. Yes, we had to watch the same movie twice, but we got two meals and got to Buenos Aires on time!

~ Molly