CYCLING: INTERVIEW AT THE FINNISH EMBASSY OF ARGENTINA
What I now see mostly as the best possible opportunity for meeting new people and discovering cultures still unknown to me, initially started out also as a journey about new places and self discovery. The focus of the trip has shifted from something I want to do into something I feel I need to do, mostly because of the urge for sharing local stories. This is all still coming up as soon as I get on the saddle again, but for now, here’s an article about the first part of the trip. Written by the Finnish Embassy in Argentina.
Background: canoeing from Tigre to meet the Ambassador
In Buenos Aires, I contacted the Finnish Embassy on visa issues and before I knew it, they asked me to pay a visit to them. So, one morning after spending the night couchsurfing in Tigre (a wonderful neighborhood built on water channels in the North of Buenos Aires), I literally ran to the embassy to meet the Ambassador, Jukka Siukosaari, who was a prestigious yet very warm-hearted stranger! Why was I late? Because Tavo, my couchsurfing host, lived a half-an-hour motorboat ride away from shore and as we were rowing towards the shore, we ran into some other locals from Tigre. They were on their way to save a culture house which some people were trying to squat that very morning. As Tavo needed to go with them, I jumped into a canoe which was rowing slowly towards the shore. About half an hour later than expected, I was finally on dry land and started running. This wouldn’t have been a problem unless I knew I was meeting a punctual Finn. Or so I thought: the first thing the Ambassador said was: “no one expected for you to arrive on time“.
Curiosity: strangerless connections
And just a curiosity: Tavo, with whom I couchsurfed (in a beautiful house he has built himself in the challenging conditions of Tigre. Challenging, because the river rises and falls as it pleases), is a wonderful luthier and musician. As soon as he heard I was from Finland, he told me about a Peruvian friend of his, whom he met in Bolivia, who now lives in Finland. This friend is called Cesar. Now, I didn’t know him personally at the time, but I had just seen him on concert a couple of days before leaving for South America. Then, in August 2016, while visiting Finland, I go to the Independence Party of Peru. There, I see Cesar and tell him about having been at his friend Tavo’s house in Tigre. He’s amazed. After that I send Tavo a message telling him I have just met up with Cesar. He too is amazed (not least because he has no idea I’m taking a break from cycling in Finland).