The simple kindness of strangers

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

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Flag of Argentina  , Catamarca,
Friday, March 22, 2013

We were joined in the church ground camp site by two women who felt the need to sweep the leaves up at 7am.  They may have come over to check out what we were up to or they may always get to work so early.  We have noticed that work seems to start early here, around 7-7.30am, and then everyone goes to ground around midday.  Shops and restaurants close and no-one is to be seen anywhere, until around 6pm, when there are some signs of life again.  However, most restaurants don't seem to get busy until 10-11pm, and we have been told that nights out don't start until around 2pm. 

We joined the road and were able to cover 50km in less than two hours, speeding along at a rate of 30km per hour.  We wondered if we were going slightly downhill or what was going on, as it was much faster than normal.  It was only when we stopped at the first sign of civilization that we noticed that we had a huge tailwind behind us.  The wind continued to push us along wonderfully as the day continued.

We stopped at a service station and enjoyed some tomatoes and bread that we had been carrying for the past couple of days.  It was a good job that we had food with us, because the large station had nothing more than crisps and chocolate bars.  There was also an ATM, but it wouldn't allow us to take out any money.

As the wind was pushing us along so well, we happily stopped a couple more times for drink stops.  As we pulled into one petrol station a local came up and asked us for a photo of us stood next to the bikes and asked a few questions about our trip.  We are always more than happy to oblige, even though I have no idea what they intend to do with the photo of two sweaty strangers stood next to bikes.  We also saw quite a few motorbike tourists on the road and most of them appeared to be Argentinian.

As we stopped for a few gulps of our drinks by the side of the road, a cyclist came over and asked a few questions.  He also asked what we intended to do for the night and I expained that we would try to camp in the next town, at the sports stadium if they had one.  As we made it into the town, half an hour later, he was waiting for us at the entrance to the town.  He said he would show us the way and then proceeded to ask on our behalf if we could camp for the night.  He then gave us directions for the town centre and the bank.  We were really grateful to his kindness.

As we had arrived into town at the earlier time of 4.30pm, nothing was open and we couldn't get ingredients for dinner for love nor money.  We set up the camp and partook in cold showers in the sports block, which were refreshing and just what we wanted for a change.  Finally, the shops started to open and we were able to get some food around 6pm.  We had a delicious dinner and a relaxing evening.
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