Are you scared of tiny little spiders?

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

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Flag of Argentina  , Entre Ríos,
Tuesday, April 2, 2013

We slept well at our camp site by the river and had a leisurely breakfast whilst watching the sun light up the banks over the water. Some of the other campers were out fishing as we got up and we happily watched them enjoying their last day of the Easter Weekend. It reminded us that most people only have a few occasions a year where they can come out camping and enjoy a long weekend off work. Kory and I have been doing it for six months now and I think we need to remind ourselves sometimes how lucky we are to be able to take such a long time off work and that most people would love to do what we are doing. Maybe not exactly what we are doing (with the cycling and camping) but would probably love to have the freedom to do what they wanted each day. We have tried to explain to people that we have met, that most people in our countries do not do what we do, and they work hard every day for only a couple of weeks off work each year. It seems important that they know that everyone from our countries isn't just swanning around the world and that even though they may see lots of people travelling, we are the minority.  To be in this tiny group of travellers, Kory and I need to be grateful.

As we cycled through the familiar farming landscapes, we saw huge tarantulas on the road. We had seen a couple over the last few days but now they were out in huge numbers. We probably saw about 15 over the course of the day. I'm not usually scared of spiders, but these were huge, black, hairy tarantulas, that would run across the road and under our wheels. Each time I shuddered at the thought of one of them being flicked up by my wheel, on to my leg or something. Kory, of course, didn't help my concerns, by repeatedly shouting out “it's on your pannier” or “you have a tarantula on your shoulder/hair/back” over the course of the day. It was probably the most gross thing that we have seen on this trip, along with loads of dead snakes that have been squashed into the road. I suspect it was the farmers harvesting the fields that drove all of the spiders and snakes out on to the road, but it didn't make the idea of a quick pee by the side of the road any more inviting.  I was very brave though and stopped to take a couple of photos of them, even though I was convinced they were going to run up my leg.

Even though there was little traffic on the road, the going was slow because of the rolling hills and the wind in our faces. We covered a respectable 116km but it took us almost 6 hours on the bikes, and we only stopped a couple of times for shorts breaks. Again, we were surrounded by farmland but today we saw lots of chicken farms. I use the word “farm” loosely because they were more chicken factories, than the free range, hens pecking around a large area that you may expect. They were long buildings, maybe 100metres, that were completely enclosed so that the chickens saw no natural light, which I expect is so that they eat more. We could almost smell them before we saw them, because there was a horrible odour coming from the buildings due to the huge numbers of birds confined within the small space. We expected to see lots of cattle feed lots in Argentina, as we have heard that this is how this industry is changing, towards the American system. However, we didn't see any throughout our time in Argentina, but saw the industrial mass production of chickens instead.

As we arrived into the town, we saw a sign showing camping was available on the outskirts of town. We loaded up on treats at the supermarket, (yoghurt, milk, juice, meat, beer) and headed to the campground, that was again by the river. There were a couple of people fishing but no one else was staying the night. The owners were almost falling over themselves to see if we needed anything or if they could help us at all. They just didn't seem to understand that we didn't need tables or chairs or that we were happy to eat our dinner by the river, sitting on the grass. This seemed fine for us and I generally prefer the idea of keeping things simple and camping with only the bare essentials. Or at least I did until kory reminded me about the tarantulas, and then sitting on the grass in the dark, seemed like asking for trouble.  Hopefully the tent is secure over night.
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