Tough times

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Argentina  , Tucumán,
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

We had breakfast included in the price of the room but this turned out to be a cup of coffee and two small squares of pastry.  Unwilling to start a long day on the bikes with so little in our bellies, we returned to the room to consume a quick oatmeal breakfast as well. 

It turned out to be another long, hard day, with barely any facilities or services.  The landscape was fairly flat, with only occasional rolling hills, but we were struggling to adapt to the increased heat.  Even though the sky was grey and it appeared to be threatening to rain all day, the humidity was high and we were hot and sweaty.  This tired us out more than we realised and we were low on energy.  This was also coupled with the fact that we were low on calories, due to our tiny meals the night before.   

Around lunchtime we saw a service station in the distance, and upon entering found they had some empanadas that we could heat up and eat in the shade of the restaurant.  This is the first time we have seen anything like this in Argentina, but had been told that they would be predictably every 20km along the road.  We hoped that this joint signified the start of a new ease in getting food and water reliably.  We ordered 10 emapandas (small chicken and vegetable filled pasties) and a cafe con leche (pretty close to a cappuccino). 

As we looked at our map we saw that we should have passed plenty of villages or towns over the course of the day.  However, they were either so small that we hadn't realised they were meant to be significant (i.e. one house or farm lane) or were way off the highway.  We began to realise that although we have been looking forward to the perceived easiness of riding through Argentina, it may in fact be just the same as the other countries.  We were still struggling to find basic amenities such as water, a place to camp, and food supplies.  The petrol station had crisps, crackers and some empanadas, but nothing substantial like packets of pasta and cooked food available.  You can see from the photos though that we could have any choice of DVD that we wanted including Gato Con Botas - Puss in Boots to the rest of us. 

We cycled on through the flat landscape, with green fields on both sides of us.  There were lots of farms, with fenced off fields on both sides and cattle dotted the landscape.  As we approached the only town that we saw all day, we decided to call it a day, at 5.30pm.  We had cycled 100km but had intended to continue on, but in truth, we were both exhausted.  We needed the evening off and for a big dinner.  The town was a few kilometres off the highway but there was a petrol station, and a hotel by the side of the road. 

We checked in to the fairly basic hotel, had a cold water shower, which on a hot day would be refreshing but as it was threatening to rain outside, it just felt cold.  We were worried about running out of food supplies, as we hadn't seen a shop in days but at the same time, we didn't want to go to the attached restaurant in fear of getting a tiny portion of food again.  We decided to cook up a pasta dinner and hope to be able to find a shop in the next couple of days.  We have enough for three dinners, which is usually plenty but we have come to realise that Argentina may be more difficult to prepare for than we had previously thought.  Lets hope it gets easier because Kory and I were hoping for a relaxing end to the trip!
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