Thursday, April 18, 2013

Frustration in Montevideo, Heading For the Beach

Day 164 (March 29, 2013)
Montevideo, Uruguay to La Paloma, Uruguay
Day's Ride: 143 Miles

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Sorry for slacking on these reports lately, I think I'm just starting to get tired after being on the road for a while.

Before leaving Montevideo for the coast, I wanted to lock down a bunch of American Dollars in order to ensure that I would be able to have the cash on hand when I headed back to Argentina so that I could utilized the Black Market exchange and get a big discount on my shipping and living costs during my final week in South America.

Unfortunately, I failed to take into account Semana Santa, the holy week leading up to Easter. I left the hostel and walked straight into a ghost town. Not a single bank was open and many of the ATM's were locked up and unable to disperse cash. I then had to make a very expensive international phone call ($100) on my cell phone to Bank of America and explain to them why I needed them to not issue me a new card for a few more days. I kept getting transfered between departments and supervisors who kept explaining to me that they couldn't do what I wanted and that I would have to talk to someone else. By the end of the call, I was about ready to explode. I kept explaining to them that every minute on the line was costing me several dollars. This whole identity theft thing has turned into a huge hassle. I had tried using Skype to call, but the internet connection was so bad that they couldn't understand me.

These events left me a little frustrated, and I was seriously considering punching a few holes in the wall. Fortunately, I decided to take a cue from the Uruguayans: tranquilo, amigo, tranquilo.

I decided that I would just have to ditch Montevideo for the time being and come back at the beginning of the week and try and get my money. Before I left I booked a ferry ride back to Buenos Aires for the 3rd of April so I wouldn't have to ride another 300 miles around the Rio Plata in order to get back. It was a bit pricey; nearly $150 for me and the bike. Since it will be the end of a big holiday for the Argentinos, most of the ferries were already totally booked and the only open spot I could get was on the very expensive fast boat between Colonia and Buenos Aires.

After getting everything straightened out as best as possible, I got on my bike and started riding east towards Punta del Diablo. However, after about a half an hour of riding, I realized just how tired I was of riding. I love the bike that I'm on, it's done extremely well and it's a blast to ride in the dirt. But after nearly 20,000 miles of riding a thumper day in and day out, I think I'm about ready for a break. After an hour of riding, I decided that I didn't really want to ride anymore and I began looking for a beach town that was a little closer. I ended up turning off the main road and going to a small town called La Paloma.

I had planned on camping, but ended up finding a nice, cheap hostel that was pretty much empty.

I stashed my gear inside, and then signed in on the register. I have a little tradition for signing into Hostels. First, I always use a different passport number because I can't be bothered to dig mine out and actually look at it. Second, I always try to think of a creative and totally bogus occupation to put down on the form. Because the typical hostel worker doesn't read english, it's kind of a little inside joke with myself. Today I was a "fighter pilot".

I've been a "janitor", a "storm trooper", a "hobo", an "adventurista", and a "professional motorcycle racer". Once I was even a "mathematician". It's always fun to try and think of something random and new.

In any event, I'm going to take a little vacation from my vacation for a few days, so I probably won't put up much of a post today or tomorrow. I'm going to the beach to drink beer and work on my tan. Chao.

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