Date of entry: 13 September 2018 Day 579: Adiós Bolivia! Hola Argentina! Country 27
Pozos, Bolivia to Oran, Argentina
Distance: 70.3 km
Time on board: 6 hours 10 minutes
Average speed: 11.4 kmh
Ascent: 336 m. Descent: 478 m
Cumulative distance: 19,228.1 km
Better to seek forgiveness than to wait for permission. Though sheltered under the basketball court’s canopy, I was at the edge. When the night storm arrived unexpectedly, my bivy was wet. Lighting and thunder roared the entire night. Forced to relocate. I have never been experienced such a storm in ages. A sign that I am leaving the dry season in the Altiplano, high possiblity of rain in the Chaco region. At least, the storm provided the much welcomed cool temperature in order for me to sleep.
Attempted to leave early before the school commenced in the morning. Somehow, some diligent teachers arrived at school. We greeted each other and went about doing our business. In Singapore, any unauthorized strangers caught Camping in school, school will immediately call the cops on me. Amazing how trusting Bolivianos are.
Not sure why, woke up fatigued and feverish. Furthermore, my back pain was further aggravated. Couldn’t bend my back without excruciatingly pain. Still, I must continue on. Supposed the school wouldn’t allow me to stay another day. Is it flies spreading their disease to me? Or infected by a cut on my thumb while doing slicing my bread. Maybe miss my Altiplano.
The flies woke up as well, having me for breakfast. My legs and arms became swollen with bite marks. Will I get superpower if one of them were radioactive. In Andes, I skate without taking breaks in order to keep warm. Here, I kept skating to escape from pesky bloodsuckers. The moment I paused, I woul be swarmed. I couldn’t open my mouth to inhale unless I fancy extra proteins.
Apparently the school was having an event at other schools, they drove their students to other schools. Maybe teacher’s Day celebration. No sun today, completely covered by clouds. Good thing in lowlands, if not I would be skating in soaring temperature.
Once again, the rolling hills continued, descending more after each ascent. 26 km to Bolivia Argentina border to go. Took me almost 2.5 hours, to arrive at 9.30 am. At the Bolivian checkpoint, a policeman came up to me, explaining my story. On separate occasions, after listening to my adventures, 2 families in cars came over to hand me 400 Argentina pesos which was roughly 10 USD. Each time, I was leaving a country, someone would always hand me some money. Peru, and other happened countries too. I should just loiter at every border and enter back and fro, thus I can make living. Amazing hospitality by Bolivians. Now too touched to leave Bolivia. Every time I have to leave the country, amazing things happened, making me reluctant to leave.
Crossed over the international bridge. At Argentina customs, the officers wanted to scan all of my belonging, have to unpack everything for scanners. I am not supposed to carry any organic food into Argentina. In the end, they confiscated my chopped garlic for Aglio Olio and my bananas. Allowed me to finish my bunch of Bananas, I gulped all 4. Now I couldn’t cook my meal until I get to Oran, 50 km further to replenish my food Argentina was facing economic crisis and Hyperinflation crippling the economy. Maybe, this was measure to boost agriculture sector. Not as if Argentina was a isolated country like Australia to protect its delicate ecosystem.
Having to reorganize my pushie, everything felt strange. That is why I detest going through customs. Skated another 1 km to Argentina Bolivia immigration. Both counters are located in the same building and side by side. This should be the way, everything will be simpler. Without any further questions, I was officially in Argentina, country 27. Will exit and enter Argentina several times since it borders many countries.
The rolling hills persisted until 10 km, it flattened out. Little hope of having lunch all the way till Oran. Everywhere was farmlands and factories. Until 41 km, passed by a community of wooden shacks. Saw a window selling grocery. Crossed the road to inquire if they have lunch. Yes indeed, inside the community, there was an eatery. No signs indicating there was an eatery. Thankfully I went over to ask. 40 pesos or 1 USD for a rice with meatball. I thought Argentina was supposed to be expensive. While having lunch, entertained the owner’s son Manuel, showing my pictures on Instagram. My first meal in Argentina. After finishing my meal, I wanted to pay but the owner said it was a treat. Another case of human hospitality. 40 peso was 1 USD, nothing consequential to me but alot to then. Yet they give me more than my heart can receive. Wanted to give my hoodie I won in San Diego Adrenaline skate marathon to Manuel but it slipped my mind.
Full belly and warm heart, I resumed. Soon after, a car pulled over and Juan handed me 30 pesos. Omg humans are simply amazing. Can’t believe my good fortune. Events of generosity happening in a single day. Today I already made 430 pesos including a free meal. Haven’t even spent a peso in hours. If this goes on in Argentina, I can cover all my living expenses here. Humans are amazing.
The road flattened but headwind persists. To make matters worse, Argentinians drove as fast as they exited from world cup. Plus no shoulder lane. My back pain intensitied and feeling more fatigue. I just kept pushing on slowly. 10 km before Oran, A van pulled over and offered me a lift to Oran. I don’t know what gotten into me, I politely turned down. Back pain and feverish fatigue like this, I could have relaxed for last 10 km to Oran. Maybe, I don’t want to waste the goodwill of the locals on me or I want to suffer. Suffering is part of the touring fun. Soon I regretted my decision, as I struggled in strengthening headwind. No more 2nd chance, have to make it on my own to Oran. Sky darkening, another storm incoming. Seemed like here would be rainy season.
Arrived in Oran, enquired at Hostal San Martin. 450 pesos for a single bed. Upon checking in, I found the WiFi wasn’t working. Asked for an refund. After 3 days without WiFi, it became essential to me to connect to outside world. Went over another posh looking hotel, but it was only 480 pesos. Cheap for this quality. I couldn’t stand properly with my wrecked back and feeling feverish. Went straight to bed after posting updates. Till 9.30 pm, then I could manage to walk and get dinner. Looks like I have to rest another day or so. Worst case scenario might have to grab bus to Paraguay. But today, humans are amazing.