A couple of falls…   1 comment

The next morning Claudia invited me into their cabaña for a coffee. So I went to one of the little kioscos on the corner that sell (almost) everything to buy bread, butter and cheese for breakfast. We talked a lot about the current economic climate in Argentina, the education system and her career perspectives as an academic with two young children, and then I suddenly realised that I was late for another appointment –

Arriving at the campsite the previous evening I had arranged for my clothes to be washed and dried overnight by Carola, a lovely local lady who runs her business ‘La Lavandería Suave’ a few blocks away from the main road. She had asked me to be at her place for 9.00 am and when I remembered it was already 9.20. So much for German punctuality…

And right, Carola already waited for me on her doorstep and asked if I could give her a lift into the town centre on my bike, as she was late now due to my delay.

No problem at all, just that the road was slightly curved and muddy and of course, the inevitable happened: Carola didn’t swing her leg over the seat, as I was expecting, but used the footpeg to mount the bike, putting all her weight onto the left-hand side of the DRZ where I had only a still weakened limp to hold the load. Well, after a fruitless attempt to save the situation, my foot gave way, all three of us went over and Carola, not wearing any protective gear, was buried under the bike – oh my God! 

Fortunately, she was unharmed and just laughing about our stunt – but I wished the ground would open up and swallow me… And my foot hurt like hell again! Anyway, after dusting us off, I pushed the DRZ to the bank, asked Carola’s boys to hold the bike upright while she was getting on and off we went into San Ignacio. You bet that I used all the kerbs and stones I could get hold of every time we stopped on Carola’s round. She was obviously proud to be seen on such a ‘big’ moto and still laughed when we reached her final customer. She even gave me a pair of nice earrings as a token of our new – yet already tested – friendship.

Still utterly embarrassed I returned to the campsite, packed my stuff, said goodbye to Claudia and the chicos and hit the road.

I have to confess now that – as it was already late, very hot and still 260 kilometres to the Iguazú Falls – I gave the famous Jesuit ruins a miss. Even though it meant that I didn’t see Matías again who was already at his stall offering artesania to the visitors of the World Heritage Site. If you want to have a look at some images , please click here – otherwise you will have to go there yourself or wait until I return to Argentina one day…

Heading north on the Ruta 12 I saw a lot of trucks carrying the main ingredient of the Argentine national drink – Yerba Maté

Stopping at a filling station near El Dorado, I met the third motorcycle traveller on my trip: Hans from Chile on his 650 V-Strom. He was roaming for four months as well and invited me to visit him in Viña del Mar when I would be passing by in a few weeks’ time. We exchanged tips about accommodation, services and sight-seeing and then headed off into opposite directions. I didn’t meet Hans again, as he was still on the road when I finally came to Chile.

Mid afternoon I arrived at Puerto Iguazú and did the usual city-tour for orientation purposes and to find somewhere to stay. The South America Handbook had recommended the campsite ‘El Viejo Americano‘ (the old American) on the road to the waterfalls but I found that the camping fee was no longer US$ 3.00 as stated in the travel guide but a whopping US$ 15.00!

However, the facilities were great and in immaculate condition: clean and spacious bathrooms, hot water all day, swimming pool, supermarket, restaurant, internet, tourist information and a safe at the reception, the bus stop right at the front door, and the people working there were all very friendly and helpful.

In good spirits and full of excitement that I was going to see one of the most amazing natural wonders in the world the next day, I started to pitch my tent. Oh no, how could that have happened?

In the morning all had been fine still! No problem, I thought, for situations like this I brought the right tools:

But for some strange reason, things didn’t work out as they were supposed to – maybe because I had never used ‘Chemical Metal’ before or completely misunderstood the term ‘plastic padding’ or just didn’t get the proportions of the two components right or maybe the temperatures were just too tropical for the chemicals to bond properly. The result looked like this:  

In the end I had to take drastic measures and smash the piece that was broken off the line, thereby shortening the pole considerably, and bandage the rest with duct tape…

Apologies to John for such an abuse of his generous present. Still, the tent was holding up well – if a little asymmetrical – for the rest of the journey.

That evening I broke the rules of my vegetarian regiment of 30 years for the first time of the trip: starved after having missed dinner the previous evenings, I went to the campsite’s restaurant and ordered the Menú turístico with all the trimmings. I think the only dish that didn’t have meat in it was the dessert… No photographic evidence though, as I still felt a bit guilty at that point and didn’t want to tell Possu…

Despite my cardinal sin the sun set beautifully over the land…

… and full of anticipation I slipped into my sleeping bag – tomorrow I would spend the whole day at the Iguazú Falls… 

Posted 9 February 2011 by Pumpy in Argentina

One response to “A couple of falls…

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  1. What a lovely writing style, are you going to publish a book? I think you should.

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