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  • Writer's picturePawel Stefanoff

Arrived in the crossroads

The place is called "La Esperanza". Despite this name full of promises, I felt a bit like in one of these horror movies when a happy bunch of friends are butchered in some remote places... I tried to find food. First I went to a shop labeled also as hotel and restaurant where the waitress was wiping the tables intensively even if they seemed pretty clean... To my question if there are free rooms the attendant said 'No' with such expression that I felt stupid having even thought asking a question like this. The food available were mega-sandwiches for 8€ and the only fresh product were bananas... I thought there should be something else! I went looking for a shop. The only guy I met on the street said that he doesn't know if there is a shop where you can find bread, vegetables and fruits... When I continued my exploratory walk I found out that the shop was 20 meters away... But closed... When I was standing in front of a neighboring house, attacked by a horde of mosquitos, a guy suddenly appeared out of nowhere! I asked him if there is a shop around. He said 'Yes' and then he went in the direction of the shop and opened it. I was happy to buy bread that seemed only 2-week old, a small sausage and two apples... I decided to try the last place where I could buy something - the gas station. A guy was there who seemed angry that I dare entering his shop. He did not look at me in the eyes and did not answer my "Good afternoon". There i bought a pack of cookies and a bottle of water... I asked for coffee. He said "There is no coffee". I said "Ok". He repeated "There is no coffee". I said "Ok". He repeated the third time "There is no coffee". I said "Ok, I understand. If there is no coffee I will not take coffee". He did not reply anything but by the expression on his face I guessed he understood that I'm ok to not take coffee. I also understood why the 20 tables in the shop were empty. And than I paid. I thought that since I cannot buy supplies these monster sandwiches are not so bad after all... I returned to the restaurant. The waitress was still wiping the tables. When I was buying a sandwich, two bananas and a coffee, I had an impression that the attendant really wanted to smile, I saw this desire in her eyes... But the smile never appeared... When drinking the coffee I thought that even if I have potentially a chance to find some accommodation in this place, it would not be the nicest afternoon In my life. With only grumpy people and hordes of mosquitoes... And considering the flashback of these horror movies where a bunch of happy friends come to freaky remote towns asking for the directions, and then being butchered one by one... And then I packed the sandwich, the two bananas, the two apples, the two-week old bread, the cookies and the bottle of water and I went back on the road!

Distance 130 km (cum. 2,197 km). With excellent cycling conditions (almost no wind) I was continuing to increase my chances to get to El Calafate tomorrow. I thought I will find a place to stay in a place marked on the map as El Cerrito. Well, it showed to be one building, a kind of centre of operations for winter road maintenance. The guardian kindly allowed me to camp. He even suggested to use one temporally unused barrack. I set my tent inside even if I could not attach it correctly. The guy was so nice to propose me to use his wifi :) We talked for a while. I did not know why he was especially interested if I have a girlfriend... I got this short thought that in these horror films there are always nice guys who are luring the bunch of happy friends to the hands of their psychopathic murderous brothers, but I was so tired I just got my earplugs on and got asleep immediately...

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