Jan. 22, 2011: Laboulaye, CÓ, Argentina

Oh, today was a scorcher! 41-and-something degrees.

The headwind was also back.

Which meant that Laboulaye was as far as I was going today. Even over the course of that 65-odd km trip, I was more than a little concerned about sunstroke. I bought a 1.5L bottle of water as I was leaving Rufino, but it was gone by the midpoint. And I'm well and truly on the pampas. It's often upward of 15 to 20 km between trees: I maybe passed 4 clumps (to call them "groves" would be misrepresenting the fact) all day. By the time I got to Laboulaye, I was exhausted, woozy, and quite convinced I was going no further.

So. Tomorrow starts the bus hunt in earnest. After the crappy day on the road, I rewarded myself by splurging on another hotel with free wi-fi. The proprietor was v. interested in me and my bike.

Laboulaye is a decent-sized town, but very dusty and sleepy. Or maybe it's just because it's the weekend. I found a number of parillas, but they were all take-out only, which isn't really what I wanted.

Eventually I found one with a sit-down "comedor" section that was very... working class. There was no menu, or anything resembling a selection of meals; no real options of any kind. Indeed I only had to make one decision. I sat down and the server just asked: ¿vino? Not: "What kind of wine?" and not: "Do you want wine or something else?"

Just: "Do you want wine? Yes or no."


So I was brought out a bottle of wine (cold? doubleyou-tee-eff is with these Argentinians and the horrible things they do to their wine?), and a tray of meat. And that was that. Said tray contained about a dozen or so pieces; half of which I recognized (short ribs, steak, chorizo, the ever-present dark bean sausage, etc. I'm pretty sure one was liver). And the other half... well. I certainly didn't recognize them at all. I asked what they were called, and my dictionary didn't recognize them either. Based on the complete unfamiliarity of taste and texture, I rather suspect that some of them were from parts of animals that I'd rather not know about.

It also came with a little dish of salsa verde, which I had never previously encountered at a (sit-down) parilla, but which went quite well with the pieces. There was only one thing on the tray that I was unable to finish, although a few of the others were certainly helped by the salsa verde.

The place was otherwise full of burly men cheering on the futbol game on the TV. I'm sorry I didn't think to bring my camera. All in all, it was one of the more interesting dinners I've ever had. I'm glad to have tried that once... but probably won't be doing it again.

Tonight's wine: Toro Viejo Clásico. It was what it was. Cold and not very good. But nevertheless the only thing they had.

Posted on: Wednesday Jan. 26, 2011 @ 03:08 MST
Re: Buy versus Bring
A couple of reasons, really. By far the foremost is that if anything (for various definitions of "anything") were to go wrong (for various definitions of "to go wrong"), I really want the option of just ditching the bike on the side of the road somewhere and continuing by some other means. Ironically, in some sense, the bike I bought here is worth more "on the books" than my own (indeed is worth more than pretty much any other bike I've owned), however the latter has much more sentimental value, etc. to me (I really do love me my '70s-era 10-speed road bikes. They don't make 'em like they used to, etc. And they're getting ever-harder to find. Having said that, considering the puncture issues I've had here, a road bike — much as I love them — might not have been the best idea ever).

The one on which I ended up settling resides firmly in that niche of "does a decent job of getting me from Pt. A to Pt. B, but I wouldn't shed a tear if it were, e.g.: stolen.

Thanks for reading, BTW! When coming up with a list of people to whom to send the link, the "Cultus Lake Gang" (for want of a better term) somehow slipped my mind. But I'm glad that it was passed on, and that people are apparently (?) finding it interesting.
Posted on: Tuesday Jan. 25, 2011 @ 07:32 MST
Buy versus Bring
So, I was curious as to why you decided to buy a bike rather than bring it with you? Even with the oversize fees, I would have thought the chance to prep the bike in Canada, and bring exactly what you wanted, would have been the better choice.

(I've face the same dilemma with Greece, and opted to buy, but I had the luxury of not doing any actual bike-touring, or having a schedule to get across the country).

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