Mar Del Plata. Argentina. 23/11/08.
A single-handed Budweiser-guzzling competition - man against barrel - leads to a late night steak with a wine "salad". Sleep, in a bed that international laughing-stock Tom Cruise would find restrictive, is hard to come by, and at 10 am I'm kicked out of the hotel and forced, blinking and confused, out into the world to fend for myself. Luckily "fending" on this occasion involves a 200 yard ride to the cafe for tostadas of jamon y queso.
Hans* from Switzerland comes over as I bite into what would seem to be a sandwich of Hoover bag contents, freaked out by my GB numberplate. Good bloke! He tells me that he rides a BMW around the Alps and wishes me well, so - nice one Hans!
A hot-but-jolly ride - a mere 75 miles - down to Mar Del Plata. It's like Toronto and Margate had sex and - THUNK - plopped out a very nice Atlantic coast town. Juan, on a rather groovy little 250 Honda CB-something, meets me at the lights, guides me to a hotel, tells me of his six-months-at-a-time Canada/Argentina life, and finds me a secure parking spot. Argentina is the chimp's nips (as we say in Thanet).
Necochea, Argentina, 27/11/08.
HUURRP! That was the best meal (asado, bitter lettuce, cheap vino tinto) of the last 4 days. In fact the only actual meal, if you care to join me in discounting burgers, ham'n'cheese toasties, medialunas (croissants) and garage sandwiches. Bugger the Mar Del Plata landlady who told me Necochea was "shit" and "nothing".
No, really! Go there - for me - and bugger her!
Coronel Pringles, Argentina, 28/11/08.
There's a little bit of chitter-chat in Britain and some other parts of Europe at the moment about the idea of removing road signs, traffic lights and other visual clutter, in order to allow the motorist to concentrate and make decisions based on current road conditions, traffic levels and so on. I´m sitting at a busy, traffic-light and give-way-sign-free crossroads in Coronel Pringles, staring our European future in the eyeballs. It's been 30 minutes but I'm nearly certain I'm going to snap up from this page any second, jolted away from pen and paper by a crescendo of rending sheet steel, the resolved chord of tinkling indicator lens on cobblestone and the delayed applause of human screeching that constitute a quite-serious car accident.
There is no statue of a stupid-looking bastard waving a cardboard tube of reformed potato-effect snack discs in the main square, so we shall have to assume Col. Pringles was not the man you and I both want him to be.
It is a lovely little town, with some lovely little humans in it. I'm thinking specifically of the busty chica who recently bounced past me on a suspension-free bicycle. Well done cobblestones!
2 hours slip by, no car crashes, and I'm bum-over-eyes, haplessly in love with this laughy little burg. Maybe I should just stay here? I'm in a pizza joint sitting next to a hilarious group of grannies, obviously celebrating something. It's 10 pm, 3 days from December, shorts and t-shirts. Hopelessly devoted to Col. Pringles.
Posted by Simon Fitzpatrick at December 22, 2008 08:01 PM GMT
*names changed to etc etc. And cos I forgot to ask.
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