Walking around this city I find myself in a bit of numb state of mind. Just a month ago I was in Ushuaia celebrating my journey from the top of the world to the bottom via my 2005 BMW F650GS Dakar motorcycle. And for the past two weeks I revisited a number of my favorite stops on my year long journey including both the Argentina and Chile wine regions and the fabulous Andes of northern Patagonia complete with hikes and drives through glacial lake studded landscapes.
In the microcenter in downtown Buenos Aires there are two major pedestrian malls that intersect each other. During the hectic lunchtime business people, administrators, tourists and street entrepreneurs flood the mall. Stores hawk their goods: sunglasses, CDs, mens & women’s clothing, sporting goods, leather, perfumes, office supplies, touristy things, girls and more. For me, I was looking to make a quick purchase of a bag and then head back to the charming neighborhood of Palermo Viejo – my home while in Buenos Aires.
Standing at a traffic light while waiting for traffic to cross the pedestrian mall I hear a voice. Yes. It’s English.
“Hey WorldRider?” I look around. Then up. It’s tall Adam Pate. You might remember that when I crossed the border from Chile to Argentina nearly a month back I ran into another California Motorcyclists on KLR. And yet once again among the thousands of people crisscrossing the busy pedestrian malls of Florida and Lavalle Streets I find another adventure motorcyclist. Our conversation lasted the time it took for the green pedestrian light to signal the okay to cross and then we drifted among and then got lost in the crowds. This encounter happened before catching my first flight to Chile a couple weeks back.
But now I’m again walking the big city. Sirens, honking cars, spewing diesel trucks. And yet I’m anonymous. Alone. What’s next? I’ve got more countries to visit before I can quit South America and journey onward. As I go through my mental checklist there are a few items of business that need to be attended to, notwithstanding the most important: secure a Brazilian Visa. I could also use to renew my USA passport and add pages to my backup.
These things can happen in time.
Instead, I wander the streets at night. Decisions such as where to eat seem to take hours as I walk from one locale to another. When alone I try to measure the vibe of the restaurant. Don’t want to be the only one and yet I don’t want to be lost in the madness of crowds and too much noise. Balance seems perfect. For first meal back in Buenos Aires, I end up at an old time parrilla (steakhouse) called La Cabrera). The place is crowded and I must wait. But while standing on the sidewalk with the others they serve us awaiting diners glasses of spumante (champagne). Nice touch.
Then another day.
I find it’s time to revisit Javier and Sandra at Dakar Motos and most importantly spend a little time with Doc – my bike. There are a number of basic maintenance issues that need to be attended to. First, I want to check the valves. The oil needs changing. The rear tire which was new before leaving Santiago just a couple months ago won’t last too many more miles. And it seems to me that the steering head bearings are worn. Maybe I’m sensitive but it’s just feeling funny. Though other motorcyclists I’ve asked seem to think they’re alright. I still want to inspect.
So I take the train to the Florida stop (not the pedestrian mall, but rather an outlying neighborhood of Buenos Aires). I planned on spending a few nights in the hostel at Dakar Motos, so I was loaded with my new duffel bag, backpack and computer. Showing up at the door of Dakar, I sense the place has quieted down a bit since the last visit here a few weeks prior. Yet there are a couple other motorcyclists taking up bunks here. One, amazingly enough is legendary Adam Pate – the rider I met at the border of Chile/Argentina and then a couple weeks back walking the pedestrian mall of Buenos Aires. He’s spending a couple more nights in Buenos Aires before heading north to Brazil and then back home to the states.
The second motorcyclist spending the night was Randy, a Canadian who recently completed his journey to Ushuaia but was planning on leaving his bike in Buenos Aires until he could return later in the year to continue his South American travels. For a couple nights we drank plenty of beer, at pizza and empanadas and attempted to record raw material for an upcoming WorldRider PodCast. Other motorcyclists working on bikes or planning their next adventure included Martina, a German woman riding a DR650 for 5 years; and Gerben, from Holland riding a Yamaha Tenere.
Meanwhile, my friend Daniel who I rode with in Northern Argentina and later spent time at his home in Bolivar was trying to secure an extra ticket to the Roger Waters concert later this week. I was searching the newspaper and CraigsList for options as well and was successful at locating a single ticket in the VIP section fairly close to the stage. I planned to rendezvous with Daniel at the concert and then join him and his friends for dinner and drinks after the concert. We plan on taking a small weekend trip toward the end of the month to Cordoba, as well.
So for a couple short days it seemed lonely and quiet in Buenos Aires. Now it seems my plate is full again and no shortage of things to do while hanging low in Buenos Aires.
Fellow Californian motorcyclists Adam Pate. Listo! Ready to move north to Brazil and back home.
Javier of Dakar Motos fame gives Adam directions.
Helmet on . Gloves on. Listo!
Martina, Gerben and Javier bid Adam farewell and luck on the next leg of his journey.