I had a great time staying in Chacabuco, it was a town of about 50,000 people as I was told, and for sure I met some of the coolest ones there. It has been several years, heck almost 4 years since I was there, so kinda strange writing a post about my bike trip in Argentina now, but I just came accross a picture that demanded it be scanned in a posted about.
So let me try to paint the picture, I had been in Chacabuco for about two days, and met up with a young guy and his sister. I can’t quite remember what these people’s names were, but anyways the guy was about 16 and his sister maybe about 20 years old. I met them at a bar type of place my first night there, and they were quite friendly. We decided we would meet up the next day, and the actually invited me over to their apartment for “mate”. Mate is the drink of choice down in Argentina. It can easily turn into several hour event. What you do is you fill up a pot of water, and then you get some mate herbs together. The mate you stuff into a small wooden cup, that has a metal straw coming out of it. Basically, you are making tea, but you are also adding sugar to it if you like. And the best part is, you sit around in a circle and pass the mate around. There is always one person who is in charge of filling up the water each time, and that person remains the same the entire time. If you ever have the opportunity to have “mate” with an Argentinian family, make sure to take them up on the offer. You won’t forget it, I can assure you.
Back to bike riding.
When I left Chacabuco, it was sometime in the late morning the day I departed. And once I was on the main road called Route 7 headed towards the Andes Mountains, and in specific, headed towards the next city called Junin. Anyways, the wind was blowing directly in my face, and it was getting less and less exciting to be on this road as progress was really hard. Bike riding in Argentina can be all kinds of fun, don’t get me wrong, but it can also be very difficult if you are headed into the wind like I was that day.
After a very short amount of time, I heard a large truck behind me. This was not out of the ordinary though. The previous day, there were probably several hundred trucks that passed me on my way from San Antonia de Areco to Chacabuco. But this time, it was different. It sounded like the truck was slowing down and may even stop before it passed me. So this was strange. But, when it was right next to me, I could tell it was still moving, just real slowly. Also, I could tell that it was still moving.
When the truck was RIGHT next to me, I heard a voice, and it sounded like it was being directed to me. So I looked over and saw a few dirty guys in the cab of this large semi truck, and I acted like everything was fine, and I was not interetsed in whatever they were talking about. They soon kept moving, or so I thought.
It wasn’t but twenty seconds later that I realized they had come to a complete stop about 300 feet in-front of me on the highway. This is when I started to panic a tiny bit. I was out in no mans land on a highway in Argentina, and now there were several guys in a large semi truck waiting for me. Initially, I started thinking that I could just turn around and ride the wind all the way back to Chacabuco and probably be back there in about 15 or 20 minutes. But for some reason I kept going forward and didn’t act scared.
When I approached the truck, the driver, who seemed like he was the one in charge started talking to me with his door open. So I stopped and dismounted my bike. I started to think that they were offering me to put my bike in their truck and to offer me a lift. For some reason they could tell that I wasn’t making much progress. Thinking quickly, I agreed. I made sure to get out my camera, and my wallet and passport from my saddle bags, and then the next thing I knew, I was sitting in the cab with a crazy group of Argentinian day laborers. The truck it turns out was full of bricks. So South American brick layers. Also, since it was siesta time I guess, they were all headed home to catch a bit of rest, or maybe something else, the translation was a bit wacko at times. Either way, they drove me about 20 miles, and it was great fun. I told them I was from Poland, and I’m not sure why I lied to them. Sorry Guys, and to the driver, thank you for offering your phone number as support. I never ended up needing to call you for help, but I appreciate it. Notice my bike in back of these guys…