Jan. 17, 2011: Moreno, BA, Argentina

Carrefour has internet cafes! (Well, ok. Just about everyone has internet cafes here.)

Well. It was a pretty crappy day, all told. Enough to make me consider giving up on this whole enterprise. The day started out with a prolonged wild bicycle chase. The used bikes that the internet had told me about turned out to be reluctant to materialize. There was a lot of "He's not here right now," and "Maybe by the end of the week." Uhhh... no.

Even after deciding to buy a new bike, it took a while. One thing I definitely didn't want was a BSO, but neither did I want to spend $CA 2000 on something that might not even make it to the end of my trip. Finding something at the right price point was tricky, and I ended up walking from one bike store to another to another all over Buenos Aires for most of the day. I finally found something semi-suitable, and left the city at about 7:30PM.

Which is when things started to go downhill.

It was extremely slow going through the suburbs, and I only made it about 30km (recalling that I need to do about 150 per day). A lot of it owes to the extremely poor coupling between the signage and my map, and on more than one occasion, I left some town on a road that turned out to be going an entirely different direction than the one I wanted.

Also: 2 flat tires today. I only bought eight spares, and since my bike isn't the sort that most locals tend to ride, I don't know that more would be easy to come by.

At around 10:30, I reached Moreno, and decided it was time to find a hotel. Didn't see anything. Shortly I started leaving town and was pretty soon on the highway where it was clear there wasn't about to be anything. I recalled having seen one on the way into Moreno, 10km earlier, so reluctantly turned back. Made it to the hotel, and went in only to discover that it really... wasn't what I was looking for (the room tarrifs were, for example, posted by the hour, if you know what I mean). I had a moment of panic when I realized that the front door had locked behind me (You can check in but you can never leave?), but after explaining to the voice behind the one-way glass that what I was really looking for was a place to sleep, he buzzed me out without further incident (or payment, which is what I half-expected).

But: still no hotel. I asked some cops (what, you mean you don't get your directions from people toting semiautomatic weapons?), but they weren't local, and had no clue. Eventually at a little while past midnight, someone directed me to a place on some back street. It was a roof overhead and a door with a lock, and that's about it (there was an outhouse, or a proper bathroom in the gas station at the end of the block), but that's all I needed.

I took the opportunity to try to patch my punctured tires (not wanting to do so out on the street: even during the 5 minutes I took to put on a new tire, some guy on a motorbike pulled over and warned me to be very careful, as it was dangerous to be seen on the side of the road in any state of indisposition).

So. Yeah. I really don't know how well this will all work out. I'm... pretty exhausted, and pretty discouraged right now.

Tonight's wine: xxx. Are you kidding? I didn't even manage dinner today, let alone wine!

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