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From Colonia Carlos Pellegrini south to ROSARIO

Written on: Sunday January 13th, 2008

We covered the 120ks of dirt road in about an hour and a half. It was 11am and we were flying along on the tarmac, determined to make good time and each stop was quick.. Petrol, coffee and go. We were making good progress and a few hundred kilometers later we were in a town called Federal, after getting petrol I went to start my bike and the electrics went. It seemed to be only when I pressed the button on the electric start, so first thing was I took that apart and looked for dust or something, anything really...guesswork. Peadar had noticed the rear indicator had been flashing sometimes and just coming on constantly other times probably from the pannier knocking into it, so we started the scientific process of giggling the wires in that area. Were electrical mechanics we are ; ) It seemed we had success, but then electrics went again. Next thing was obviously the battery and it was a wire had touched the solinoid beside the battery and burnt through and shorted the connection, once taped up we were ready to go. All this including unloading the gear took an hour and as simple as the solution was in the end at one stage I though that we might have to call a bike electrician.. On the road again with an hour down we were back making good pace. Our old friends the police were the next delay, at a checkpoint they waved us to the side of the road, basic documents check I hope. But no, they start shiteing on about the headlamp but I was of course having none of it cos I knew it was fine.They said Peadar's was fine, I was the one at fault. I said in Spanish that I was a mechanic and that it was ..Bueno.. and went on to say that I could adjust the angle if they wanted but that it was fine. They kept pointing at the Docket for fine letting me know that one copy was for me and another was for them. They were not giving up easily. Still having none of it I said fotógrafo y Periodista (can u guess it in English) and Muy importante...etc etc... then I marched over to my bike and got out the Embassy letter, we had received replies from most of the countries we were going to travel to. I showed them the letter stamped from the Argentinian embassy in Ailsbury rd., this finally made them give up and we went back to the bikes, one guy followed me over and looked at the light again and said OK.... Oh it was magically OK now!...anyway we went to head off and this time Peadar's bike wouldn't start. Now I couldnt help but find this funny, I was meant to be a mechanic (and also a photographer) and there we were in front of the cops trying to push start one of the bikes that minutes previously we had told them were FINE.. They didn't come over as we sweated away pushing the bike back and forth trying to jumpstart it at this crossroads in the middle of nowhere. Eventually we got it going, not by pushing but by giggling wires, an important troubleshooting trick it would seem, again an electrical problem, the footstand cutoff switch (my own made up name) on Peadar's bike had been acting up before, he would eventually glue it in the ON position so that it would cause no further trouble. At least another two times we were stopped by the cops, it seems the closer to Buenos Aires the more corrupt the cops are. In the far north and also as we went south we didn't have any trouble and you could actually see them driving around instead of sitting on their ass´s at crossroads waiting for unlucky suckers. By the time we got to the last set of cops Peadar greeted there requests for documents with a blunt "Documents Si, Peage No". We had to cross a massive lagoon east of Rosario to get to the city as a huge blood red sun was setting, I would have loved to stop for a photo but I think Peadar might have tried to kill me. It was dark when we entered the city and the campsite in the city was closed, forever! ...and it was this years edition of the Lonely Planet Peadar had, I think those guys are letting it slip a bit. We then looked for the hostel recommended in the good book. Full. It was 1130 at night and we had left that morning 14 hours ago so we checked into a hotel and ordered room service, showered and beered 1hr later we were heading out. In Ireland it´d be too late but here its fine, clubs stay open till 6 and normally we arrive far too early. But now finally, we were on Argentine time. There were some doubts about whether we would make it out, especially while having those room service beers in the hotel but I was resolute, I didn't travel those 750k´s over 14 hrs not to go out. We met some lads on the way in and one of them spoke English and mediated between the girls they knew and the other guys. The club was well worth it, what I heard was true, good music and nearly 100% stunning women. I love Argentina.
Next day; Recover day. Obviously too late for checkout we stayed on in our nice hotel another night. In the late afternoon we went to the river beach for a swim then to the cinema, it´d been a while. A double-bill .... American Gangster (Denzel Washington, what a Legend) and The Assination of Jesse James... The next day was for organising, I wanted to get a new tyre and 2nd battery for the camera and other stuff.. we got most of it done and off to the Cinema again - I am legend, Will smith was good but seen it all before in 28 days later. back to the hostel we had checked into across the road from the hotel. We left our bikes in their garage saying we were staying with friends and we´d pick them up the next day. While having a beer on the balcony we got talking to two Argentine girls from Mendoza and we headed out with them to wander about the city and see what was going on and drink a strange sounding mix of White wine & Energy-drink with Ice. It seems any drink with Ice in a Humid city works. Tasty stuff. Go on TRY IT! When we ran out of that we had some beers and then went on to the Pool hall below our hostel, we all went to bed after a few games but Peadar stayed up playing the local pool shark. At whatever O´clock in the morning he rang the bell repeatedly but the nightGuy must of been asleep and after a failed attempt at scaling the front of the building he resigned himself to sleeping in the porch! He was woken at 6am with a door in the backside by tourists fresh off a night bus. Not really a great nights sleep. That day we arranged to meet Florencia and Fernanda at the Modern Art Gallery, it was closed so we headed to the beach(river beach) and lay in the sun and burnt alot cos we had no cream, its about a week later now and Peadar's entire front is peeling away like snakeskin!.. On the beach we tried these cocktail, dikirinis or something, Rum+Real Peach´s+Sugar+Ice, probably the best alcoholic drink on the planet.... but maybe the scorching heat had something to do with it. After the beach the girls cooked us handmade Gnocchi and we some Campari and Orange juice, those girls know their drinks! Plans to head out fizzled out on the couch. The next day we said goodbye to the girls and agreed to see them later in Mendoza. We picked up the bikes and hit the road south once again.