Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 172 (673km): I can't take it anymore!

I awoke to the sound of a persistent rooster nearby. Back to riding on the painfully boring roads. We drove in the direction of Tucuman.
Some nice mountain roads in the morning
Today for whatever reason, drivers were out to get us. It was the worst complete day of negative traffic encounters since Colombia. There were so many times that we were giving the finger to people driving in our lane trying to run us over that we lost count. Northern Argentina reminds me more and more of Central America, and that's not a compliment. There are lots of little motos up here who ride on the shoulder so people probably expect bikes to ride on the shoulder but that is no excuse. A person should have sufficient intelligence and eyesight to be able to tell that a kitted out BMW with luggage is not a little moto going 40 kph.
Surveying the scene
At one point a driver tried to share my lane with me and then pass me. The windows were all tinted but I gave some strongly worded hand gestures and then opened the throttle to lose him. This was all taking place at 130 kph.

I was trying to remain tolerant towards Argentina but the riding sucks and the people trying to run us over today was the straw that broke the camel's back. I became completely and utterly fed up with riding in this country today and more than once the idea to get my bike to the nearest port and go home popped into my head.

So the riding sucked and the drivers sucked. We made it onto Ruta 9, which is the main highway. It became double lane but the problem was that the far right lane was grooved. This was worse than the ribs from yesterday. Just driving in a straight line on the road was difficult because the grooves would catch you and make the bike wobble. It was terrible, but so far typical of our experience with Argentinian paved highways.
The road
We stopped for gas in between Tucuman and Salta. We waited, and waited and no one showed up. So we pumped our own gas. Alberto went inside to pay, but they didn't take the money. So he went in search of someone who would take his money. When he found the gas station attendants they were slacking off. He asked if they took the money, to which one asked what for. For the gas he said. Who pumped your gas? I did. You can't do that! The guy was furious. What, like he is a gas dispensing engineer specially trained and no mere mortal can perform the task? Alberto simply asked, do you want my money or not. The guy stormed out of their office and came over to the pump, still angry. Alberto told him that the only reason why he has a job is to take money from patrons. That shut him up and he begrudgingly took our money. Next time we will save ourselves the hassle and not pay. The guy should have been happy we were trying to pay for goodness sake!

We hit a toll booth close to Salta that had tourist info. The tourist info was closed but there was a police officer nearby. He gave us the directions to the municipal camping in Salta, so that's where we stayed for the night. It was pretty sketchy but we survived the night without incident. It was a little worrying that the person we paid told us to camp by the bathrooms for convenience and safety. Safety?? 
Lots of murder today
Glad those aren't hitting my hands

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