Running dry in the desert

Trip Start Apr 17, 2006
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Trip End Jun 14, 2006


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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, April 26, 2006

After an uneventful morning, I stopped for lunch in a cafe in a little town called Costa de Araujo (where's the Costa?). I was telling the owners about my trip: the wife's jaw dropped to the floor while the husband made the (obviously universal) finger-to-the-temple "you've got a screw loose" gesture. They warned me that there was absolutely nothing between here and the next place on my map, Encon. I decided that I was sufficiently stocked up and went on my way.

Before long, the road split perfectly in two like a zip with not the slightest hint as to which might be the correct road and which was some minor road best diregarded. No sign, no white lines, not even tracks of dust to suggest which was the more used. There was no traffic to ask but, by shere chance, a passing cyclist. I asked which was the road to Encon. He shouted "this one!" and waved a vague hand in front of him.

I made the right choice, though, and was soon in the desert - flat, uninspiring landscape of scrub and little else. It was seriously hot and I emptied my water bottles very quickly. I started to become concerned - I was still miles and miles away from Encon and would never reach there before dark. I passed a muddy puddle under a bridge from which some horses (whose horses? wild horses?) were drinking and decided to fill an empty bottle, thinking the water could always be filtered through a T-shirt and boiled if it came to that.

And then, like a miracle, I passed a sign for park rangers. Park rangers? In the desert? What park? But sure enough, there was some sort of reserve by the side of the road, looked after by a park ranger. With running water! And even an adventure playground! So I was OK, but had learnt a valuable lesson.

I also suffered my first puncture today, which I totally deserved for brazenly wheeling my bike over a thorny bush as if it was invulnerable.

Most useful Spanish word learned: 'agua potable', drinking water
Song on brain: D-REAM, 'Things Can Only Get Wetter'
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