Getting out of Buenos Aires is naturally just as difficult as getting in it and that’s why I decided to use a bus in order to reach some near little town situated on Ruta 3. And that was San Miguel del Monte, which is 100-120 kilometers to the south from Buenos Aires – the thing was that this bus simply didn’t have any closer stop stations.

On Monday in the morning I flung the luggage over my shoulder and advanced to the bus station. While going there I had to change my ready money. About the place where the official Cambio was supposed to be one guy was calling in a rapid and persistent manner – cambio, cambio, cambio and I decided to check if that was true. I slipped in something like a little arcade and stood there to see how things were happening. The above-mentioned caller took the money from the people, he changed them at a teller’s desk and then he gave them back. I asked for the course of exchange and the obliging mediator pulled out a cleverly marked piece of cardboard with the numbers 545 and 520. After that he tried to persuade me that 545 is his price and 520 is the official one – meaning that in any case I was on the make. In the end, it lacked a decimal comma and that is a common trick in Sofia too. I thanked and no matter that this guy told me I would come back after seeing the official prices it didn’t happen that way. The official exchange office turned out to be just 20-30 meters further. There was a queue of people waiting, uniformed guards and a monitor with all the courses of exchange – 5,5 pesos per Euro.

The bus station is situated just next to the railway station and it is huge. At Argentina people travel most often by busses and due to the immense distances they are luxurious – double-deckers, with seats called semi-cama or cama (half a bed and a bed), with an air-condition and they even offered a free breakfast. They are also considerably cheap – at least my ticket cost me only 6 Bulgarian Leva.

When we were getting out of town the sky got occupied by heavy clouds that resembled a rough sea. A few lightnings split the skyline and it started raining.

During the first kilometers the shacks of the ghetto dragged one by one by the road and some slightly disturbing thoughts crossed my mind – how many places like this would I have to go through, on foot?

About 2 hours later I went down at San Miguel. There Ruta 3 was just an ordinary asphalt road with two carriageways and wide lay-bys that meant they were perfect for hitch-hiking. Twenty minutes later I found myself at my first South American truck.

When I opened the door I fixed my gaze at the gas hot plate that stood prominently between the two seats. After that my attention was attracted by something like a wall rug with the Virgin Mary and Jesus hanging over the bed. Another Jesus was staring peacefully from a sticking plaster on the cracked wind-screen.

At a Bulgarian truck the hot place usually serves for coffee, even for preparing beans but it does not stay at the cabin. Here it serves only for mate preparation. And just some ten minutes after our departure Juan kindled it and put the kettle on it.

The mate is a type of green tea, a sort of socializing drink for the Argentinians. The coarsely ground leaves are put in a small wooden vessel in a shape similiar to that of gourd. After that you periodically add hot water and sugar and drink it through something like a thick metal straw. As for its taste – at least for me – it is like an ordinary tea.

In the next little town the number of hitch-hikers at the truck grew by one. Just as he got on the truck Mauricio took the part of mate maker and spent the next half an hour in kindling the hot plate on regular basis, and he also added water and sugar at the „gourd”. When we arrived at Azul the time was getting on and I had to search for a place to sleep. I saw a sign of some camping site situated about 3 kilometers away and I decided to ask one guy if it was free. He decided to pick me up at his car and drive me at that place. It was not free. Although the price was just 5 pesos I explained that this was 1/3 of my daily budget and the man advised me to pitch my tent at a big gas station on the road and then he got me back there. And that was the better option, not only because it was near but also because at the rear part of the gas station there was a very neat and sheltered meadow.

In the morning I got up at about eight and ten and hit the road. I have been waving for an hour, for two, for three and the high sun was scorching my face badly. Obviously at South America I would have to correct what I have called a „border of despair” – the moment when I was about to get sick of hanging and always someone would pick me up just at that moment. At Europe that border was 2 hours. When three hours and a half passed I stopped waving in order to take a break when a clunker stopped. On the inside there was a 40 years old driver, his wife and child. They left me 50 kilometers ahead, at a gas station next to their little village. When I asked them if there were any shops at the village in order to buy myself some bread they gave me their own. They would buy themselves a new one.

I’ve been waiting by the road and the wind that was carrying dust intensified the sense of freedom woken up by that deserted place. The landscape hasn’t changed a lot since I went out of Buenos Aires – vast, fenced and flat spaces that had hundreds of cows grazing on them. Here and there one could see buildings of farms that were put up at small forests.

Twenty minutes later a truck stopped and took me 50 more kilometers ahead to another gas station. From that point only 15 minutes later a Toyota Hilux passed me by but 20-30 meters after that it stopped and pulled over. I had seen many cars like this one – new shining pick-ups that seemed to belong to the local land owners but not even once some of them stopped to pick me up.

The guy was called Cesar, a farmer about 40 years, who spoke English very well. Finally I met someone I could carry a normal conversation with.

The farmers in here own hundreds of hectares land and most of them are descendants of Europeans. In Cesar’s case his ancestors were Italians. Actually great part of the population of Argentina has European origin but gradually plenty of immigrants from the adjacent countries have entered it and that has formed its current variegated image. According to Cesar Argentina has great resource potential but it is managed in an outrageous manner. He gave me as an example the great but not used opportunities for building wind generating parks at Patagonia.

Cesar had to go through his estate, which was situated somewhere on kilometers among the fields. The house is enormous and luxurious but nevertheless he can’t afford living in it year-round.

For a few years part of the farmers have changed their methodology for planting certain cultures. They have stopped ploughing the land because that destroys the superficial stratum, it reduces the production and it also increases the expenses. Now they use special machines for direct planting of seeds. And since that is the reason for more troubles with the weeds it requires more sprinkling with herbicides. The latter ones are cheap at Argentina. The other problem is some small animal similar to a little armadillo whose population has assumed alarming proportions because nobody destroys its tunnels anymore.

After he finished his work Cesar drove me to the next town – Tres Arroyos. The time has advanced and there was not much point to continue hitch-hiking. That’s why I went out of the town and no matter that I had some worries I pitched my tent twenty meters outside the road.

I woke up in the morning, I gathered my staff and went to the opposite end of the town. I tried hitch-hiking at one place but somehow I didn’t like it inwardly no matter that it had been suitable for hitch-hiking. That’s why ten minutes later I went on walking. While I was passing by a gas station and a guy called after me „Where are you going?” I answered him and twenty seconds later I was already at his car on my way to the next little town.

Ricardo is 49 years old and as far as I understood he works something related with fridges. Most of the time he sang in accompaniment with the music and every now and then we took turns at drinking a box of juice. When we reached the town where he had to make a turn to go on his way he decided to go on another way in order to drive me directly to Bahia Blanca, no matter that it would prolong his trip. Then he let me use his phone to call Facundo, the boy from Couchsurfing at whose place I was going.

Half an hour later he left me at a gas station at the town’s outskirts. He bought me a juice, plenty of sweet things, he called a cab for me and gave me 50 pesos (about 9 EUR) for the taxi, whose fare actually turned out to be 20 pesos.

In the end he wrote down his number so that I could call him in case of emergency.

The only omission was that I never understood where he lived. It is unbelievable what kind of people you could meet on the road.

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