Transit Highlights: Onboard the Pullman Bus

Travel Trick: Using tape salvaged from shopping bag handle to secure crackers

Pullman Bus Situations || We arrived at the bus station for our trip north, and approached the counter to have our ticket printed showing the man our confirmation code. He said this was not the ticket, and we needed to show the ticket. We didn’t have wi-fi, so he hesitantly logged us onto the office network named Angela for some reason to register and download the ticket. We repeatedly failed to register. The form kept asking for an unknown information field called “rut” and returning an error. Rut is not a word in English or Spanish (later, we learned, it’s a Chile-specific fiscal identification number). In any case, the incompetent man maintained he could not print out tickets for us or help – meanwhile we could view the printer behind him and others were receiving printed tickets. He also may have stolen my information while “looking” on my phone for abnormally long. He said if we bought more tickets on board we’d get reimbursed. We were about to miss the bus so we headed there. “Where do you come from?” said the conductor. Then he said “Here in Chile we do not take USD.” Rude. Obviously.

Stellar Onboard Video

We saw a great Pullman bus safety video which highlighted the zumba classes and rest stations offered to Pullman bus workers. Also, it stated “the bathroom is for urinary only. For other needs, see attendant.” It said only the elderly needed to wear seatbelts by compulsion, and displayed some alarming imagery of floating hands to illustrate using the handrail. Luckily, we saw it several more times on our journey!

Passport Numbers & Lunch Boxes

When buying our (second set of) tickets onboard, the man casually yelled our passport numbers down the bus aisle. We then watched some violent films on the monitors, in which rampant murder took place. “Is it a vigilante?” I asked Sarah, not comprehending the plot in Spanish (it was not a vigilante). A weird man in a yellow vest suddenly entered the bus from out of nowhere and tried to sell overpriced food items.

Free onboard snacks

We did not buy them clearly, and luckily! Because we got lunch boxes which I loved and again had pure joy. I secretly kept my box, shoving it into my bag (hoarding alert) while Sarah was sleeping and prepared to lie: “I threw it out while sleeping.” I did not throw it out. It should be noted that my love for these boxes waned later, on the 16+ hour bus ride, when we were ONLY served these boxes for the duration.

More pure joy!

Upon arrival we went to the bus desk to get our money back. My sister explained the situation, at which time a semi-toothless lady interrupted and completed her sentence, “…and then they told you you’d get money back here?” She laughed at us. “It’s not like that, she said. Yea. No.”

This was hardly our only weird bus expeience. Read about the journey to Rurrenabaque and the bus from Brazil to Argentina.

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