When my boyfriend bought our bus tickets to Pinamar, the clerk told him it would be a four-hour ride. Not bad at all for a weekend at the beach! He chose a 1:30pm departure time, to allow me to sleep in after a long night at work and to give us time to walk to the station rather than taking another bus.
As we got on, the man checking the tickets said we would be arriving in Pinamar at 8:30pm. Excuse me?
"But the woman who sold the tickets said four hours!" my boyfriend said.
"Yes, but this bus takes seven hours," the man said.
"But she told me four hours!"
"That's the early bus and the late bus. This bus is seven hours."
"Why didn't she tell me that?"
"They are supposed to. But they usually don't."
And so it goes in Argentina.
We weren't the only ones who were surprised. There was an Argentinian family taking up about eight seats in front of us, and half way through the trip they asked the man on the bus when we would be arriving. He said 8:30pm. They talked about that for the next fifteen minutes, and then kept counting down the kilometers at every highway sign.
When we arrived at our hotel that night ("Two Nights at Arte del Rey"), we apologized for being so much later than we had expected. The woman asked us which bus we took.
"Plaza," we said.
"Oh, the worst of them all!" she exclaimed. (Good to know now...) She proceeded to list the many companies that would have been better, and that might not have involved stopping off at every little town along the way, even when those little towns were several or many kilometers off the highway.
Luckily, on the way back we ended up on a direct bus run by Plusmar -- where we found snack packs and water bottles waiting for us on our seats. Four hours later we were back in Buenos Aires.