tur-bus in chile

Bus to La Serena [YQrtw Day 85 Jul 3]

Location: Santiago -> La Serena, Chile

I woke up at 8:05am and began packing all my things. Back on Day 1, I only had a backpack and my slingbag. Now, besides my sling bag, I have a backpack that is bursting at its seams, a huge Carrefour cloth shopping bag for my laptop and other important things and another smaller Carrefour shopping bag for water and food.

My luggage has gone out of hand. I even had to wear my two jackets simultaneously because there wasn’t space to put them in. By the time I was ready to leave, I looked like a hobo with my three bags and multi-layered jackets.

Thank goodness for the jackets because it was 8 degrees C when I got out. Instead of shivering, I was warm and snug, although a bit tired from my bags.

I initially thought I would reach the bus terminal in half an hour but it took a bit more time than that as there was a bit of traffic jam. Thankfully I left one hour earlier.

The Tur-Bus terminal is pretty good. In fact, the whole place is much better than bus terminals in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru. There weren’t any strange smell of piss or drunk/ drugged people hanging around.

Tur-Bus terminal in Santiago, Chile
Tur-Bus terminal in Santiago, Chile

My bus didn’t come until 10:34am. As soon as I got on the bus, the bus started pulling out of the parking space and off we went. That was fast.

The bus I booked was a “semi-cama” (semi bed) and the seats were quite comfortable. I could lean back about 150 degrees if I wanted to.

Inside Tur-Bus semi cama bus
Inside Tur-Bus semi cama bus

Through out the 6-hour journey, we were treated to three movies and no snack break. Luckily there was a toilet on the bus.

There was a very quirky Wes Anderson movie “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou“, the sleep inducing “Another Day to Die Hard” and the funny “Parental Guidance”. The latter two movies were dubbed in Spanish.

The view along the way was gorgeous. We passed by mountains and even the sea where the waves were gigantic.

Along the Chilean highway
Along the Chilean highway
I didn't know cacti grow on fertile land too.
I didn’t know cacti grow on fertile land too.

I snoozed a lot along the way, mainly during Bruce Willis’s movie.

We reached La Serena on time and most of the people got off the bus. Using a print-screened version of the hostel map, I slowly walked to the place I would spend the night at.

During the walk uphill, the straps of my bag dug into my shoulder. My hands felt like they would rather fall off than carry all the crap. So I decided there and then that I would get a suitcase with wheels.

Where do you find a suitcase in small town La Serena? After putting my luggage in the 4-bed hostel room, I walked back to the bus terminal where I saw what looked like a mall.

La Serena Mall
La Serena Mall

Indeed, it was the local mall. The inside looked exactly like one of the malls in San Jose. I was excited. I haven’t been in a “real mall” since coming to South America!

I walked around, admiring consumerism. My dinner was from a fast food place–a quarter chicken with rice and french fries at the price of S$8.

I managed to find a suitcase I like. At the cashier, I was given a discount for using a foreign credit card. My lovely black suitcase (actually, the only color they had) cost about S$100. I’ll show it to you one day.

The sun had set by the time I left the mall. I felt safe walking back the dimly lit roads because I figured that there would be less crime in a small town.

Now I’m back in my hostel room, in my warm bed. I’ll need plenty of rest for my 20-hour bus ride tomorrow. See you then!

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

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