The Finer Things

While crossing Argentina’s vast landscape, we have encountered the same situation countless times. A bus ticket agent will ask us if we would like to travel “cama” (first-class) to make our journey a touch more comfortable. Each time we scoffed, appalled at the very suggestion and say “absolutely not.”

Until recently, that is.

A few days ago when the ticket agent at the Puerto Iguazu bus terminal asked us where we would like to sit on our next bus journey (a 26-hour trek across Northern Argentina), we sheepishly inquired about the possibility of sitting in first-class, locally known as “cama.”

As fate would have it, cama was our only option for this particular route. “What luxury,” we giggled. “Imagine the decadence – champagne, caviar, fully-reclining chairs”. Our minds raced with the potential of such a treat.

Since the very first bus ticket we purchased in Buenos Aires, we have made it a point only to travel by semi-cama or second-class. First-class just seemed a tad too indulgent for our tastes. After all we were backpacking and camping across Patagonia and anything more than the absolute bare-minimum seemed much too plush.

When discussing our travels with fellow voyagers, they would gasp at our sacrifice. “You aren’t traveling cama, how do you live?” they’d say. We’d shrug and amount it to a serious lack of funding, while secretly patting ourselves on the back for being the “real” adventurers.

But when faced with the possibility of 26-sleepless hours, squished on a double-decker bus, with a few ham and cheese sandwiches and ferociously sweet coffee, we caved – cama, here we come.

Settled in and ready for a luxurious 26-hour bus ride

Lunch: Fried chicken with rice, white bun, bread sticks, lemon bread, and mayonnaise to wash it all down

Upon boarding our luxury-cruiser, we were immediately impressed. Our seats were large and squishy, perfect for cuddling up with a good book. The bus was remarkably clean and the steward was always bustling around, offering us coffee, tea or mate. Movies played back to back and it seemed like each time Gillian and I turned to each other to complain about hunger pains, our bespectacled steward was there offering us a sugary mélange of various pastries and sweets.

Assorted packaged treats - the offering for Snack and then again for Breakfast in the morning.

The view of Northern Argentina reminded Leah of Alberta

High-maintenance sleeper, Gillian, takes full advantage of fully-reclining "cama" seats

Dinner: Spinach quiche, white bun, toasted bread, and mystery pink goo served with one circle and one square bread item which were both sweet and savory

For 26 hours, we drifted in and out of sugar-induced comas as the bus ambled its way to Salta. In hindsight, the cama was too similar to semi-cama for us to notice an astounding difference. No champagne, no caviar and the seats only semi-reclined. Perhaps cama seemed too good to be true but every once in a while, a girl has got to treat herself.

Our epic journey thus far