Saturday, April 16, 2011

When you don't want bus...

Zach W. Watson

This is a recant of my last blog entry, “When you have bus…”

I was caught up in the excitement of our successful trip to Iguazu when I had written the last blog.

The trip to Iguazu was our final trip with all the original gypsies. It had felt good being on the road again with everyone in high spirits. The future of the bus was uncertain.

We were on our way back to Buenos Aires from Iguazu falls when we stopped for the night in a little river town called Colon. We parked in a city park that lined the river Uruguay. We drank a number of beers that Matthias had purchased for everyone.

We all decided to commemorate Matthias and Ben’s final night on the Gypsy Train by sleeping like cowboys on our wool blankets in the grass looking at the stars half drunk on cheap booze, hidden in the shadows made by the bus and the street lamps that sat above the park. And we did sleep like cowboys, except for Matthias who got cold and went into the bus halfway through the night. But before Matthias became cold and while everyone was sleeping, I asked Alex and Alaena what they wanted to do.

“We want to keep going. We talked about it today and we want to get new people and Gypsy Train it to Bolivia.” Alex said and Alaena quietly agreed.

“Wow.” I said. “I don’t know what to say.”

“What do you think? We can’t sell the bus in Argentina. So we have to keep going.”

“I am probably going to have to decline. I mean. I want to live in Buenos Aires and learn Spanish. But don’t count me out, I guess.” I said.

“You should at least come to Mendoza. Free living.”

I thought of the idea all night and the entire next day. I made the decision to keep going with them, to find more people, and to continue to live life like a vagrant, stinky hippy. I never felt quite sure of my decision. I wanted to live in Buenos Aires, but I couldn't remember what life was like outside of this life that we had made. It scared the shit out of me.

So we found more people. This didn’t conceal the fact that every gypsy that had meant so much to me and the bus wereleaving.

The night before The Gypsy Train left for Mendoza with the new people, we walked Mike to the bus stop where he would catch the number eight to Ezeiza International to fly to Mexico.

“Now it feels so short.” He said to me as we stood waiting for the bus. A group of young Argentine kids were helping us sort what bus we needed to get him on.

“Thanks.” He said to me.

“Aeropuerto! Aeropuerto!” The young kids cried and Mike hugged the Canadians, Matthias and me and jumped on the bus.

He hung his head out of the bus window and said, “This is it. I’m really leaving.” And like that he rounded the corner and was gone.

I was leaving the next morning with the new gypsies. Matthias was flying home the following night. The Canadians were leaving in a week. So we got really drunk, and I woke up early with a hangover to lead the new people to the bus, three hours outside of Buenos Aires by public transportation. My eyes were barely open when I greeted them.

I had a fun trip with the new people on our way to Mendoza. They were great and fit in very well. I saw that they could love the bus like the others did.

I felt unreal, though, like a plastic robot shell of a man. My excitement was gone. I had done this all before. My actions and my jokes were mechanical. I felt like an adulterer, cheating on Mike and Matthias.

Buenos Aires called to me, “Zach. Zach. You need me. It’s time to leave. It’s been time to leave. Come to me, big boy. You have wanted me since Patagonia. Are you really going to go home without learning Spanish? The bus is over for you. It ended when the others left. It’s time to move on. You want a refrigerator. You want a bed.”

Alex and Alaena already knew when I told them. I had mentioned a few things about leaving.

I signed the roof, as is the custom, and left.

Good Bye and Good Luck A&A, from Buenos Aires. It was a great adventure. Thank you. I love you.


  1. this is something i wrote in my journal which is not something that happened very often but in this case i felt it had to be done and i wrote this while sitting on the train from LaPlata to BA on 3/29/11

    Im riding on a train from La Plata to beunos aires with some of the best people i have ever met in my life. i owe them so much. for creating this amazing community on wheels. leaving the bus today i found myself holding back tears for the second time since i left boston around 8 months ago the last time was when Matthias left the bus in Coihaique, Chile. Because it was an abrupt realization that the gypsy train would not last forever. i guess up until that point i was living in some kind of beautiful blur with each passing day feeling my life change forever. when i came down here to ride on the bus i was in a real bad place in my head leaving a girl i loved and tried so hard to make it work, up and leaving within 4 days on a plane to south america with little idea about this bus and what life was going to be like when i got to south america. all i had was zachs word which i trust more then almost anything, and has he sits next to me now and A+A sit across i can tell you it was the best decision of my life. when i arrived in instantly i felt apart and after a short while feeling like i had a family of friends like ive never felt before.........

    Thank you so much for making me and everyone that has ever got to ride on your amazing bus feel like were all equals and the opportunity to do something truly amazing. i can not wait until the next time we meet...

    love, mike

  2. ZACH <3 good luck in BA! i think it's incredible that you've followed your heart... & hope it's everything you desire it to be. i can't wait to one day hear your stories when you return to the sunshine state, but until then hope you keep writing & blogging.

    xo cherry pop.