Carelessness costs kilometres

Trip Start Apr 17, 2006
Trip End Jun 14, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Thursday, April 27, 2006

Usefully, Argentinian roads have milestones at every kilometre along their length. I was feeling energetic this morning and the milestones seemed to be passing very quickly indeed, when I suddenly looked down at my handlebar bag to see that my map wasn't there as it should have been. This was bad. This was very bad. I'd be lost without my map (an inherently true statement if ever there was one). I had no choice but to go back and look for it, painfully unstitching the mornings' hard work.

And it was only once I turned back that I realised how hard I'd been battling against the wind in the direction I was going. With the wind behind me, I sailed back, and as I did I realised what had happened. Stopping for a break, the map had fallen to the floor, but I lazily didn't pick it up straight away as my need to get at a tic-tac was far greater. And then I'd forgotten about it.

When I got back to the place, the map cover was there, but no map. I resolved that even I had to search every tree within a three-mile radius, I would find it. And there it was, on the other side of the road, teasingly flapping in the wind. I got back on my way again, cursing my stupidity over and over again. I was totally demoralised and just had to put my head down and pump the pedals against the wind, because every time I looked at the long, shimmering expanse of road ahead of me, another chunk of my soul crumbled away.

I finally got to Encon, the long stretch of empty desert behind me, but it didn't turn out to be the quaint countryside village I'd hoped for. More of a truck stop. When I asked someone if there was a supermarket they laughed at me. There was a small shop, which the lady owner unlocked especially for me. I headed over the road to the cafe and asked what was on offer. I scarcely understood the reply, so just sort of nodded and smiled a bit and said "si" and "no" every so often until the nice lady stopped asking me things. I sat down, excitingly wondering what I'd just ordered. After a short while, a bowl of salad and a basket of bread arrived.

I started to wonder at how I could rectify this disastrous outcome without increasing my already considerable humiliation any further. But then, a couple of minutes later, the lady arrived with the most massive trucker's steak, bigger than the plate it sat upon, and it was so, so very tasty.

I went on my way and the scenery perked up a bit, with the road going through some wetlands, which rather excitiningly played host to a load of flamingoes. I ate up another 30km or so before finding a nice patch by the side of the road to bed down.

Most useful Spanish word learned: 'torpe', clumsy.

I have been reliably informed by my brother than the wild camels were, in fact, Llama (seems obvious now), and that amphitheatres were a Greek idea, and not Roman after all.
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