Someone once said “The vast majority of Tierra del Fuego is the most boring place on earth.”
One of the best, and worst, aspects of travel is that often you must spend many hours with the same people in confined spaces. Planes, trains, boats and buses all offer the same squeezed-in experience. Often the people you travel with are strangers and remain strangers throughout. Sometimes you make a new friend and have a great conversation. Sometimes you are irritated all day by someone’s breathing or chewing or riggling or snoring. And sometimes, just sometimes, you get to be entertained all day by a person or couple without ever having to acknowledge them at all. The forms of these “entertainers” can change. They may be a bickering couple across the aisle, a child ahead who asks insensitive questions or an old lady at the front putting the world to rights. Either way they all offer you an entertaining distraction from the monotony of long journeys, like a really long play acted out just for you.
My most recent experience of “the entertainer” happened on our 12 hour bus from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas. I had noticed another English couple before the bus arrived and, as a true independent travel snob, hoped we’d be seated away from them. Afterall I’m not here to spend time with English people. However, as we filed into our seats luck would have it that they were sat behind us. As I started to plan the next 12 hours (sleep, book, snack, sleep, blog) I overheard their conversation and knew I need not worry about rationing my fun activities that day because we’d got an entertainer amongst us. It started like this…
Her: “I like your boots better. The colour. It’s a better colour than mine.”
Him: “Poo coloured.”
Him: “Yeah, poo.”
Jackpot. Sit back and enjoy as the hugely entertaining conversations roll in.
Some other notable quotes from the day…
Him: “It’s like a sweaty sauna in here. Clammy and disgusting.” This was said as almost everyone else on the bus huddled up in their coats because it was so cold.
Him: As the heaters came on and people relaxed. “Why do they always pander to the cold people? It’s the same at work. Cold people always win.”
Him: “It must be psychological.”
Him: “People who feel the cold when it’s not cold.”
Her: “It is quite cold.”
Him: “See. You just think it is.”
On the local landscape
“The vast majority of Tierra del Fuego is the most boring place on earth.”
At Chilean immigration
Him: After his bag had been singled out by the beagle patrol and searched causing the whole bus to be delayed. “They missed the only thing that could be illegal – coffee. I guess coffee is legal then.”
Her: “We need to eat some vegetables. That pasta with hotdogs was a real low point.”
And there you have it. A day’s entertainment. Not bad for 12 hours on a bus in “the most boring place on earth.”
Do you eavesdrop to pass the time on your trips? What great things have you been entertained by? Is Tierra del Fuego the most boring place on earth?!