1000 KILOMETERS OF HOSPITALITY
In my last post, I stated that people are just way too afraid of each others. Lovely, friendly people often warn you about bad people. “The world is full of weirdos”, they say. Yet, most people in this world are just as lovely and friendly as those people warning you about the bad guys. To show what I mean, here are the people I stayed with in Northern Argentina – cycling through the provinces of Formosa, Chaco, Santiago del Estero and Tucumán. This is what I call 1000 kilometers of hospitality!
Clorinda: Migue and Maria José
Formosa: CésarParaguayan influence. In Formosa, I stay for three days with César, a man working as a buyer for Coca-Cola (I end up in his home through a local cyclist). During my visit, me and César go to a peña (a traditional event of folklore dances and music), have three dinners with friends, go on a motorboat ride on the Rio Paraguay and much more. In addition, César hooks me up with Celia, with whom I later on cycle away from the city. (Right now, I’m on my way to Cafayate – a small town César recommended for me to visit.)
Gran Guardia: Eleodoracycling pilgrims stop for lunch, annually a week before Easter. One of the pilgrims contacts Eleodora on the day I leave Formosa, to ask if I can pitch my tent on her grounds when I pass by. She says “yes”. As I get to the house, however, Eleodora invites me inside, offers me a bed, some mates and the chance to take a shower. Eleodora lives in the house with her “boyfriend”, a kind man (whose name I was never told) working with cattle in the fields nearby. Eleodora’s previous husband “has been taken away by God”, according to her own words.
El Colorado: Jorge
Paraje El 50: Mariamate while watching Mexican soup operas. The family even installs a lamp for my shed (although I tell them I have a head lamp) and bring me spirals against mosquitoes.
Campo Largo: Hermana Renée
General Pinedo: Emi and Eli
Quimilí: Ernesto “Tucho” Mazoud
Suncho Corral: Roberto and Enrique
Santiago del Estero: Eugenia
In the towns before, I’ve been warned about robberies in Santiago del Estero. It’s not a huge city, but it’s surely bigger than any of the towns I’ve been to after leaving Asunción. There, I have the name and address of a shop owned by Ms. Eugenia, a friend of my friend Ruben. For some reason, I’ve interpreted she has offered to host me, which she hasn’t. Not aware of this, I haven’t contacted anyone on Couchsurfing, nor have I written to another friend’s father, who also lives in Santiago del Estero. So, I look for Eugenia’s shop and thank her that I can stay over. Very confused, she does invite me over, although her son is currently at the hospital and the whole family is in crisis…It’s not really the time for photos, either.