17 January 2011

Bahía Blanca

I did not truly know it until I had made the hostel at Bahía Blanca, but I had needed time out of the saddle. The hostel was in an old building with high ceilings and access to shared and private rooms through an outside mall. I took a private room with a shared bath as I cannot risk the theft of any item of my gear and it was only 8 pesos more. The bed is a double and I laid down and almost went to sleep. I had been free-camping in my tent for the last week and it felt wonderful to lay down on a mattress. I got up. I needed to eat. I was as hungry as I was tired. I took a shower. It was cold but more pleasant than the water bottle showers in a field I had been taking for the last week.

The desk clerk told me a restaurant was down the block that served very good fish and meats. I ordered a bife de chorizo with papas fritas from the menu and a 375ml bottle of Chianti. The wine tasted very good to me. I had not had wine in a very long time. Before the food a wooden bowl with bread, breadsticks and wafers was served with a bowl of delicious aioli. I ate everything as quickly as it came. But then the wine got to me. I needed to lay down.

Along with the bill I was served a glass of sparkling wine. I drank that too and walked back weakly to the hostel. I was lucky it was only a half block away. My legs had nothing in them and the alcohol had overwhelmed me. I slept most of the afternoon.

When I awoke I went out and walked through the city as evening fell. I took a table at a outdoor café in the centro and had a café con leche. The center of Bahía Blanca around the plaza is a busy area of clothing shops and boutiques and banks and casinos and I sat and watched the people pass. I was still weak and finished the coffee and walked back to the hostel. I had dinner at the restaurant I had eaten lunch at, ordering raviolis stuffed with mozzarella and proscuitto along with a beer. Tomorrow will be a rest day but there remains much preparation to be done for the trip south into Patagonia.


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