Beauty and the Beast
Riding off into the Argentine (Pantagonian more accurately) horizon. A mixture of feelings wash over and take hold of me: slight apprehension of the fact I am traveling to a place of scarce to no English very much by myself. I will have to rely entirely on my shaky and barely expressive Spanish skills, which usually results in locals thinking that I am a distant still living relative of Sloth from the movie The Goonies
, known in Spanish as Pelotas del Nariz
At the same time I am emboldened with visions of another journey which provide fantastical images behind the retinas of my closed eyes. To farther off lands where Ingles is found few and far between. My mode of transport constisting of a 23 hour ride aboard the Condor Estrella bus, entertaining two different seat partners along the first 19 hours, and enjoying the emptiness of the second seat to myself for the final four. For the first 12 or so hours, I was seated between two women, one seeming to be fanatically religous as every five expressions was punctuated with a raise and shake of her Bible at noone in particular. I cant deny (this not being my first or
second time desiring) the desire to read the book and its ensuing pages of seemingly nonsensical stories that have caused compassion and bloodshed for thousands of years. Her name was Suzan, and she was in her late 30´s, very much a Portena (inhabitant of Buenos Aires). She was genuinely sweet minus religious bantar, talked too much, was extremely hospitable with dispersing cups of free coffee, and just partially cracked. She blocked her AC vents with spair garbage that was lying on the ground because she was too cold.
On my left sat Evelyn something, her last name escapes me. From Paraguay, absolutely beautiful, sensual in both appearance and personality. Her skin had a glow that would put the radiance of gold to shame. Everything about her appearance, her eyes, her features, her lazy delivery of Spanish making every palabra she said run together...practically indistinguishable, yet intoxicating all the same. The one unbecoming characteristic she possessed revealed itself rather early, and that was the downright foulness of her halatosis infused
breath. I would have believed I was sitting next to the devil or one of Harry Potters dragons, or Trentar from Ernest Scared Stupid. There was serisouly something wrong....everytime my beauty from Paraguay exhaled, it reflexively forced my neck to turn my head in the opposite direction and conciously breath through my mouth and not my nose so as to escape the bog of enternal stench that was emitting from behind her lips.
Enduring the funk and intoxicating language which both sprang form her tongue, I came to rather enjoy our little bus chair union. On these night busses, it is very much like being in the same sleeping quarters with multiple people, obviously minus the spooning and pillow talk. It still however takes on similar feelings of intamacy, with a complete and random stranger. Numerous times during the night of bus travel sans deep and restorative sleep, I was stirred awake: in the dark, irredescantly lit by the blaring red light from the 24 hour clock just above my head and the back glow from the headlights illuminating the soupy darkness of the highway. I was stirred awake from her readjusting which would in turn readjust me as well due to the close quartered nature. Sharing the same basic vascinity of sleep with Spanish speaking strangers to my right and left felt bizarre (no less bizarre had they been English speaking) and reassuring at the same time. Bizarre due to the fact of sharing immediate sleeping quarters with utter randoms, and reassuring because we were all of us headed down the same dark and mysterious highway flanked by a dessert like steppe. And although our fates were only momentarily bound together, I could still rejoice, relax, and enjoy the comfort in the moments of silence and laughter in our company. Public transportation, you never cease to entertain. I am in Puerto Madryn, Argentina.