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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Just Another Tourist in Buenos Aires...

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

As planned, I wrapped up my time in Cordoba.  I stayed at Turning Point Hostel and it was a nice place.  Although there isn't parking, there is a great lot directly across the street, which provides a cheap and secure place for the bike.  I really enjoyed the city, and that much more as I was there the night that Argentina clinched their entrance into the Cup final.  The air was electric!  Grown men crying in the streets, children running around dancing and setting off fireworks, people hanging their entire torsos out of buses screaming, everyone was smiling and singing...  Jesus the singing!  Seriously, if I hear 'Brasil Decime que se Siente' one more time I'm gonna gouge my eyes out!  Anyway, it really was a special night, one I'll never forget.  

The morning following the match I left Cordoba for Rosario.  I didn't know much about the city, but knew it was halfway between Cordoba and Buenos Aires, and that Che was born there, so figured it would be a good stop.  Turns out it's the third largest city in Argentina filled with beautiful architecture, history, and women.  Seriously, apparently people say Rosario has the prettiest girls in Argentina, and I don't doubt it.  Well dressed, sophisticated, a little snobby (rightfully so!), but oh so beautiful.  I stayed at Art Hostel, which wouldn't be my first recommendation.  There was no parking onsite, so ended up having to leave my bike at a lot next door (even though their site clearly states 'parking' as one of their facilities).  Not a horrible spot, but nothing special. 

On one of my first nights in Rosario I met a really nice Aussie bloke named Anthony.  He had a date planned with a girl and needed a wingman as she was bringing a friend and he didn't want anyone to feel uncomfortable.  I obliged and we all ended up having a really, really fun night out.  While Cordoba is filled with Cuarteto in clubs, young Rosarinos prefer old school politically charged cumbia after a few (hundred) Fernet and Cokes.  The girls (yeah girls - they were 22 if memory serves) took us out for quite a night on the town.  Starting at an artisanal brewpub then making our way over to an underground squatter party filled with young locals.  We all grinded the night away and drank way too much.  Nightlife aside, the city really is nice.  If you get enough of the cobbled streets, derelict neighborhoods turned hipster/art filled, and lomitos (lomito = the most amazing skirt steak sandwich you've ever had), make your way over to the river to spend a day on one of the many beaches.  I could certainly have spent more time in Rosario.  

Alas, the end is near (at least the end of the S.A. portion of my adventure), so I'm tired.  Lame I know, but hey I'm getting old!  I've been looking forward to parking the bike in Buenos Aires, setting up somewhere, and being able to explore the city for a bit.  So that's exactly what I did.  I arrived in BsAs a couple days ago.  I had originally been asked to 'work' at Rock Hostel in return for room and board.  I said "hey, that sounds like fun, and a way to save money", but when I arrived and saw the intense party atmosphere and calculated the real ROI for my time, it simply wasn't worth it.  Anyway, I'll be leaving here tomorrow and moving into a nice small apartment just outside of Palermo for the remainder of my three weeks here.  I'll be living with Mariano (an artist), her boyfriend Diego (a musician), and their black labrador Lennon.  Looking forward to getting to know them, their neighborhood, and the city as a whole with a much more relaxed and comfortable environment as home base.

This morning I woke up early to pack my bags and bike one last time.  I drove to meet up with Sandra and Javier at Dakar Motos.  They are helping me with the particulars of shipping the bike back to LAX (Los Angeles).  I am SO incredibly grateful for their help and glad that the company exists.  After working with Sandra this morning and seeing the myriad of paperwork, stamps, and legwork involved, I'm not sure it would have been possible without their assistance.  For a fair amount they are handling all the logistics and allowing me to store the bike at their facility.  I left with a packet of paperwork and a few HW items to complete prior to bike collection day, which is the 31st.  That day I'll grab the bike and gear, and spend the day at the airport working with customs, draining fuel, removing front wheel, bending bars, removing luggage, disconnecting the battery, and prepping the bike for shipment.  The next day I'll make my way over to find out the exact cost of shipment based on volume.  With that amount I make my way over to the bank to deposit into an account.  Finally, with deposit receipt in hand, I make my way back to Dakar to complete the process.  Phew!  If all goes well, I'll follow along and arrive into LAX on the 6th for bike collection. 

Dropping the bike off was an intense feeling.  I felt like a mother leaving her child at school for the first time.  I haven't been without my motorcycle and gear for eight months now.  I feel naked, but like I said, ready to blend in as 'just another tourist' for several weeks here in BA.  I arrived with mixed emotions.  Sad this part of the journey is coming to an end, but excited that I'll soon be able to complete my ride through the US, and will see friends and family following that.  I've been very contemplative the past two days. Meandering through the city, and sitting in cafes for hours.  Daydreaming, thinking, reflecting, and wondering what the meaning of all this has been.  Hell, what the meaning of it all is!  Not a bad thing, but certainly not enjoying and living in the 'now' as I feel I should be.  Anyway, now that the bike is safely dropped off, I've promised myself to do just that.  Live for and enjoy the moment that I'm in now.  I made it!  I made it all the way from Denver, across the States to Atlanta, then down through 15 countries.  Along the way I clocked 20k miles, and collected an unreal amount of experiences, memories, and friends.

I think that's a wrap.  BA has a free bike rental system, so I think I'm gonna get outta my head, hop on a bike, and enjoy the day.  There are many more experiences to track down.  Chat soon, 

~ D

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