24 Hours on the Road in South America

Neuquén Desert

A front seat view of the Argentine desert. Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4L IS USM lens. Exposure Details: 1/200 seconds @ f10 ISO 400.

Beaten up Chevrolets, Fords and Citroens rumble past the bus window endlessly in the fading light. Occasionally a petrol station hovers past like a glowing space ship. Teams of stocky silhouetted gauchos load barrels onto square vehicles and a cloaked figure warms his hands by a fire under a highway bridge. The monotonous Argentine Pampas glides by in a dark blur watched over by grain silos standing as sentinels against the horizon. The bus sways and I am lulled to sleep knowing that 24 hours on the road in South America lie ahead.

I am awoken by a dry heat and hypnotised by a fine sea of dust dancing weightlessly in and out of narrow shafts of light piercing my window. Drawing the curtain back whips the dust into a million vortices and my attention shifts to a vast desert landscape. The arid province of Neuquén rolls by with cartoon-esque white puffs of cloud hanging in the sky like a clichéd spaghetti western. They drift aimlessly like survivors who managed to scrape through the jagged claws of the Andes Mountains rising to the west. I was headed to San Carlos de Bariloche, a place famous for it’s mountains, lakes and forests. I had not considered this would mean driving through an epic rain shadow and was silently awed by my unexpected vista.

Leaving my seat for a cup of water I noticed the front of the second level of the bus was vacant. In no time I settled into one of the cosy ‘semi-bed’ front seats, camera in hand, put my feet up and enjoyed the show. Click =D


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