But not for Christmas (as in ‘Driving home for Christmas’, by Chris Rea).
Christmas seems so long ago, but it was only at the beginning of the summer holidays (yes we live in the Southern Hemisphere). At that time we were just getting started to relax and enjoy the end of the school year. Now we are about 3 months further and school has started again. Finally all the Argentines have come back from their long trips either abroad or in the country. Life is getting back to normal.
And so I thought driving home from the south, on the famous Ruta Dos, would be a piece of cake. Next to the Panamericana this road is famous for his traffic jams. The Ruta 2 is the road to and from the seaside, during the summer months to be avoided at the beginning of the weekend (go) and at the end (return). But I just love driving home in the late afternoon, and arrive in town just before, or rather during, sunset. This is when the Buenos Aires skyline is at its best.
We have had lovely weather this weekend, nice and warm without being unbearably hot. A change to the unstable and chilly weather we have had the last few weeks. Or so I am told, as I have been away (as maybe you might have noticed), trying to escape from the Buenos Aires heat. But as it turned out the heat left the city together with me. (hmm. really? Well it surely didn’t join me up north!)
As soon as I arrived in Hudson Peaje (toll), I knew I was in trouble. Here in Argentina they have the most annoying habit to open all the gates when there are too many cars coming through. In Europe they would be delighted to let all those cars pay, and during the season huge traffic jams in front of a toll are quite common. Here some law seems to say that you cant wait more then 2 minutes in front of a toll, so then they open up the gates. That is the moment when -I didnt really count them- about 10 lanes drive through at low speed, and have to get back on 2 lanes again. Imagine. A complete traffic jam after the toll. But Ok, you did save 3,5$ (Pesos Argentinas) so I guess its worth it. (Why don’t they ever open Samborobon which costs $23? Or did I always manage to avoid such a jam?)
Personally I always pray for the gates to open. But just before me. To only have the good part (not paying) and not the bad part (the congestion). But one cant always be lucky, right? Today it took them horribly long to all get back into 2 lanes. I started to fear there had been some accident. And when traffic was moving again -although very slowly-, for the next 30 km or so, I watched the long lane of cars in front of me, shining in the evening sun, one close to another, and I realized it is absolutely amazing, the amount of cars (and people) driving into town on a sunday evening. I truly wondered if they all fit in. Where do they go to? Where do they live? And where did they go? Where did they stay this weekend? Where do the park there car???
And I cursed. Cursed because I was the one driving. Because my camera was in the trunk. Because I missed an opportunity to capture this. But I could take these with my phone.
It is so good to be back! Back at last!