I was in the heart of Argentina. An area very little beaten by cyclists. At my passage people looked at me with amazement, wide eyes, smiles, greetings and encouragement. I seemed to relive what I lived in Central Asia, but here I had a huge advantage: I speak Spanish … I could converse with people, respond to their curiosity and exchange friendly chatter. I really enjoyed every stops in the little villages.
Yes, the landscape was boring … but I liked it. I liked the people. I liked to imagine the life there in the middle of the “campo” (fields) 100 years ago. Big houses, long, straight roads, the abandoned railway, little schools in the middle of nowhere. Simple, humble and genuine life. Freedom.
I was amazed by the extent of the crops, the amount of hectares of land and the unimaginable production of soybean, wheat and cereals. Argentina has 42’000’000 inhabitants and produces an amount of these raw materials that can feed up to 100’000’000 persons. Despite this … unfortunately and incredibly … a part of the population is suffering malnutrition … why? Politic. Money. Power.
After the flat Pampa province I entered in the Cordoba region. Finally some topography. People were really friendly but …. geeeez! Sometimes it was difficult to understand their accent. People were calling me with any type of nickname: flaca (tiny), gordi (fatty), madre (mother), niña (baby), hija (daughter), negra (blacky), chica (girl), loca (crazy), muchacha (girl) … . At the end I didn’t know my name anymore.
Beautiful forests, rivers, eucalyptus trees with silver leaves that perfumed the air with a refreshing aroma and … rain, rain, rain. 24 days without seeing the sun. 21 wet, rainy days. 234% of humidity. Curly hair. Even the locals were tired.
Despite the rain and the high humidity Carla, a young woman, was washing her car … “crazy, who is washing the car with this weather? …” I tough while I was riding in front of her house … well, guess what? … 2 amazing days with a wonderful family. “I will miss you till the sky” said the little Joaquin, Carla’s son, when I left.
Not only the encounter with Carla was weird: I wanted to reach the northest part of the province but the weather was just horrible. What to do? Generally I follow my instict but for the first time during this trip I was really torn on what to do … I threw the coin. Head: continue toward north (rain and fog). Cross: heading eastward (toward Buenos Aires).
… Head …”Nooooooooo! Ok, I throw it again” (actually I knew what I wanted! ahahaha) … Head … “Mmmmmerda! Ok, once again” … Head … “Ahahahah WTF! Ok, the last one and I follow the result” … Head … 4 Heads … What is the probabilty to get 4 times head? 12.5% … I was not motivated at all to continue toward north but I trusted the coin … guess what? … 2 amazing day in a beautiful, incredible villa with two amazing souls.
I really would like to tell you about A L L the magic encounters I had in Cordoba and Santa Fe provinces but, as usual, it is not possible in few lines …
Guido, Julia, Fatime, Meli, Anita, Anibal, Cacho, Guillermo, Lua, Carla, Abril, Joaquin, Maria, Carlos, Raquel, abuelita Eva, Renzo, Daniela, Coty, all the firefighters of Tio Pujio, Mario, Alexis, Carla, Leo, Marcos, Silvina, German, Sergio, Alejandra, police officers Romero and Rossi, Silvina, Alicia, Fabio, Martina, Pablo, the girl of the fry shop that offered me the lunch, the baker that offered me a dulce de leche cake … ok, ok, I stop. For you are just names, for me are smiles, laughter, cries, hugs, warmth, affection, generosity, stories, curiosity … GRACIAS.
I have mixing feelings … I’m living an incredible experience … I’m happy to embrace my loved ones, but … how will I return to my daily life?
I’m not yet home and I’m already planning my next trip … but there is a problem: I have a couple of candidate destinations … which one choose first?? … I think I’ll throw the coin.
Stef, Dimitri and 4 Heads