Trip Start May 31, 2008
33Trip End Jul 31, 2009
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I leave Cordoba for Salta, Norhern Argentina. 12 hour bus ride. I leave James, accountant, 27, London, I have met Rosa and Sita (Germany and Holland respectively) from my hostel on this bus. I am due to meet Nicholas, Chef, Hip Hop DJ and former graffitist, now graf art connesour, 24, Victoria, Canada. I keep moving. I experience the good and the bad. The friendliest and most laid back hostel I have yet been to in Mendoza (Hostel Itika) with an owner who takes out his guests to clubs and buys us all champagne to celebrate Ruland from Hollands birthday, a 21 year old he has hardly known for less than a week. I find Palanka Hostel, Cordoba who Rosa tells me encourage you to party in their hostel till 4am (rather anti-social for Rosa who wished to sleep) and who then charge you if you stay in the hotel after 10am (even if you have left your bed on time). They tried to charge me after being out for the day when I came back to chill there for three hours before I caught my bus...
I move at pace. I have been here in South America over a week and I have much ground to make. This 12 hour bus ride is a drop in the ocean. From Salta to La Paz, Bolivia is 36 hours by bus and train. I will only stay one night in Salta, Friday night when I will hang out with Nicholas and get drunk and talk about music (he's a fellow geek) and PARTY. Then I will move. Dengue Fever abounds in Salta, similar to Ebola (though less lethal), it will make your internal organs bleed if you get bitten by a disease stricken Mosquito more than three times. Once alone will make you feel like you want to die. Swine flu??? Meh!
Moving feels great. Moving seems to define me. To push me, to keep me on my toes, to make me draw breath, to think about myself, to think about who I am, to think about my surroundings, to think about those who came before and to think of those who will come. To think of the danger, to think of the fun, to think of the end game, to think about my life, to think about others, to talk to others, to tell them about yourself, to listen to their story, to talk about the world, to talk about how we talk, to not watch T.V. To be. To see. To move. It feels good.
Today was a day which does not come along often, even when travelling far and wide. It was a day which defines who you are and how you hold yourself in the world, a day which defines your former actions and contextualizes your future and which shows you what it really is to live this life.
I left Cordoba which itself appeared to be just another dirty city. I went with James and Nicholas to catch the short bus (35km ride which took over an hour for some reason?) to Villa Beatriz, Avellaneda 501 in the picturesque town of Alta Gracia, location of the Museo Casa Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. This place was Ernests home as a child, brought there by his parents as a small child due to the clean country air being conducive to improving his health as a result of respiratory problems as an infant which led to childhood asthma. So Che had asthma. #1 thing I did not know. Che was Argentinian. #2 thing I didn't know. Despite seeing The Motorcycle Diaries (WATCH IT) it was many years ago. I don't have a photographic memory, I don't even have a pencil drawing one often, so if you'd have asked me yesterday I'd have said Mr G was from Cuba perhaps?
Ernest was AMAZING. Nicholas and I discussed how it appears he has led 10 lives perhaps in the 39 years he was alive. Che MOVED. MAN HE MOVED. HE DID NOT STOP MOVING.
As a child, he was kept indoors due to his illness and DEVOURED books beyond his age... Jules Verne for instance... at the age of FOUR! As an adolescent he travelled around South America... THREE TIMES. Not only did he travel on the famous motorcycle which I was honored and in TOTAL AWE to see today, he did his first trip around South America on a flippin BIKE which he modified and but a small engine on! So Che was quite the able mechanic by the sounds of it.
Ernest defied doctors orders and played rugby, he also became a doctor. He was inspired to become a revolutionary through his travels around his continent and through meeting a fellow revolutionary was soon a husband and father also. Moving again he became a soldier and freedom fighter. After succeeding in the liberation of Cuba with Fidel, he became a pioneer of the Volunteer movement. I was honored and amazed to find this out as my somewhat socialist mother spent a large part of her career working running a volunteers centre. Right on Mum, did you know about Che? His first voluntary work involved building schools and hospitals in Cuba, so he was a builder also. Through Fidels appointment Ernest travelled the world as a government minister for Cuba. Seeing all the photos of him meeting the leaders of countries such as Egypt, China, Congo and others dressed in his green army boilers suit, boots, beret and cigar was AMAZING, he never stopped being a soldier.
How about the fact that Ernest was an impersonator, moving his image also from one which the whole world recognizes and from which through his adult life he barely deviated but who when required he was able to adapt from to go undercover to get into my destination for the weekend Bolivia to start a revolution and fight there. To die there. To be martyred there by the C.I.A.
I am surprised Americans are allowed into Argentina at all.
I want to find out more. I am humbled by such an amazing life, I am inspired, to say I am pleased I went is a massive understatement, I cannot find the superlative to express how visiting this place has impacted on me. But it is fitting that after the sun sets on today, again I move. I keep moving.