Buenos Aires, Argentina

It´s been raining since I got here last night. I left my motorcycle in Atlantida with a member of the local motorcycle gang, who is also on the SWAT team. It should be safe. We spent the morning talking about different trips and experiences. He has me sold on taking a trip up the coast of Brazil.

Then I took the bus to Montevideo, and the boat to Buenos Aires. At the terminal, the Argentine customs agents had two golden labs for drug sniffing. One was inside, at the point where the luggage comes in on the carrousel, and the other was right outside. The one inside decided it would rather play with the dog outside than sniff for drugs, so it got on the carrousel and started jumping over the bags, trying to get outside, even though it was on a leash. After a while, the agent decided to get out a tennis ball and show it to the dog. That drove the dog nuts, it started jumping up and down, trying to get to the tennis ball. The dog outside stuck it´s head through the opening and tried to get the tennis ball. So the agent would touch the bags as they appeared with the tennis ball and the dogs lunged at them. When he realized how ridiculous this looked, the agent let the dog go outside and play with the other drug sniffing dog. They didn´t find anything in any of the bags. I got the distinct impression someone in the Aduana´s office read somewhere that golden Labs are good for sniffing out drugs, but skipped over the part where it said you have to train them.

I got here at 9 last night, and shared a cab with some backpackers from Australia and New Zealand. We went to an area where their guidebook said there was a hotel, found it, and the place had one room. So instead of taking out the guidebook and looking for another hotel in the area that might accomodate me, the female backpacker asked if I was going to be okay. I asked the woman where there was another hotel, and she told me. The female backpacker said, ¨do you understand what she is saying?¨and repeated ¨Are you going to be okay,¨ but not as a question, then they almost knocked the woman at the door over racing into the hotel ahead of me. So I wandered a couple blocks until I found the hotel Bolivar, which was surprisingly clean and functional for $10 a night and cheaper than the hotel the backpackers were staying in.

Around the corner was a pub called the Gibralter, where I met a nice couple from England on an 8 month honeymoon. They have been renting cars and traveling around South America. We compared stories and experiences.

Then it was off to bed and here I am in the pouring rain, waiting for my plane home.

Atlantida, Uruguay

I rode across Uruguay yesterday, from Paysandu to Valizas, where I spent the night in a rancho, which is a house with no electricity, where you have to pump the water with a handpump if you want to take a shower or use the bathroom. so I pumped water and wandered around in the dark looking for candles. I got there after dark, and went to a restaurant I was at during my bicycle trip in february. because the residents have voted against putting in street lights, the night sky is incredibly bright and full of stars and galaxies. It´s hard to believe this is what the sky used to look like all over the world. valizas was deserted, and the restaurant served five tables all night, but I managed to meet an interesting Italian who has been in Uruguay for 30 years and was surprised I could tell he wasn´t a native.

this morning I rode up to aguas dulces, another beach town, and then hit the autopista back to Montevideo. After three days on the bike, I am sore, and I realize that I don´t take in as much on the motorcycle as I did on the bicycle. I think I will be taking a lot more bicycle trips in the future.

I am going to leave the bike here in Atlantida with a member of the Uruguayan swat team who assures me it will be safe, and take the bus to the ferry to argentina. I should be in Buenos Aires tomorrow.

I had a problem with my atm card yet again. apparently one of the airlines double charged me on a ticket and took out all my traveling cash, so when I got online, I had $2 and change to my name. but I called my bank and was able to transfer enough to keep going.

beside me in the cyber cafe, some kids are playing a game online, and screaming at one another as they play on different computers. It is rather distracting.