To Cafayate

On March 26, 2013

I’ll answer a few easy questions while I work on the harder ones.

Do you think it’s going to be super hard to bike the whole way?
Yes and no. I’ve made it over half way so I know it’s possible, but I hear the roads in Bolivia are extremely tough to cycle.

What’s the neatest animal you’ve seen?
I saw a tarantula and a dung beetle rolling a piece of dung across the road. Also dolphins in the south were pretty neat.

Do you sometimes stop in the day and check out cool things?
Yes! It’s what makes cycling so much better than a bus, the ability to stop wherever and whenever.

What’s the best thing you’ve stopped for?
I stopped to camp in the middle of nowhere near some mountains just to watch the sunset. I stopped recently to see Incan ruins in Quilmes. I also stop when I see empeñadas being made on the side of the road 🙂

Do you prefer biking with someone or by yourself?
Good question. I prefer biking by myself so I can go at my own pace, stop where I want (see above), and make planning decisions myself. I enjoy the company after cycling with a partner, but many times I’ve loved being 100s of kilometers from civilization camping by myself under the stars. It’s strangely thrilling.

What were you most unprepared for?
This is a good question. I don’t really know, which makes me want to say nothing. I was unprepared for cycling but knew I’d get in shape during the first weeks. I think now I’m most unprepared for all of the extra time I have. It’s fun finding ways to spend a few days in random places in South America.

What one item do you wish you’d brought with you?
Lightweight dry sacks. My Bob dry sack has a big hole in it and it would be nice to compartmentalize my things. There are many items I wish I hadn’t brought with me….

What’s one of the most frustrating things about this trip?
Headwind. Ripio. Steep hills. The combination of all three. It really tests my patience.

What are some of the perks to this trip over others?
I will talk about this in a future post of what I think about. When bussing you chose destinations. When biking you chose a route and get to see everything along the way, as well as whatever tours you want to add. The amount of time I have expands this flexibility. Biking is also very cheap.

Now to the post. I finally figured out what the three black tubes being installed along the ENTIRE length of Routa 40 is: fiber optic for TV and Internet. I asked some workers chatting under a tree. It is an insane length of thousands of kilometers.

Camping in the desert is new. Hot during the day and below freezing at night. I had both of my vestibules on my tent completely open and still got condensation during the night. I also finally got a photo of the disgusting cat food tuna in South America. This wasn’t even the cheapest option. It also must be hard to be vegetarian seeng as my cookies have beef fat in them.

I have the coolest story but its poorly written so use your imagination. I stopped early in Santa Maria to take a rest. The lady running the campground had a friend over who was showing the city to a girl from Buenos Aires (who spoke English). They invited me to a cultural festival out at a school in the country. I accepted (of course) and hopped in their car. We saw fields of drying peppers along the way. They had typical cultural dishes, all including corn in some fashion. Alfajores made with corn flour (dense, dry, and heavy), strange corn balls (drier still), and humitas which was absolutely delicious. They had traditional dancing with the kids from the school putting on quite the performance. The entire city was there, rich and poor. The girl from BA was super helpful translating. I also got quite the response when after explaining my trip, schooling, and job I told them my age. They laughed and chatted for minutes before finally turning to me and saying I was quite young and an example. Not many photos of this, but the experience was amazing.

12 Responses to “To Cafayate”

  • great post mark. it is interesting to hear your responses and thoughts on the trip as it is happening.

  • Mark- it’s pretty awesome to see the day and life of a cyclotourist in South American. Keep the legs moving and can’t wait to see some more responses from the great questions being asked.

  • LLAMA!!!!!!!!!! I’m so jealous. Did you pet it? I want one. Also, deserts are very strange things. I like your question-answering! But the best part is by far the llama!!! Or alpaca. I can’t tell them apart.

  • Informative post! Love the llama / alpaca! Are they pets or used for transportation?

  • Haha, they were probably talking about what a successful, eligible bachelor you were and who they could hook you up with. Either that or chuckling to themselves that they wished you were their son as their son is sleeping on the couch and working at a tamale roadside stand. (not that there’s anything wrong with that.) C’mon, your Spanish isn’t good enough yet to understand when people talk about you?! 🙂

    • By the giggling that was my conclusion too. And my Spanish is limited to practical matters….

  • What’s the story behind that amazing statue?

    • I think it’s a modern art version of the Virgin Mary. They had a smaller Incan statue nearby but I didn’t get a photo of it. It was just another woman but didn’t seem Christian so I’m just assuming its the city trying to recognize both roots of the culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: