The next morning Diego and Pepe drove me to the gas station, the same one where the wind had made me as white as a miller. The only difference was that this time it was quiet. I didn’t wait too long and a truck turned aside off the road in order for the driver to check the tires. At once I ran and asked where they were going – at Comodoro Rivadavia – and I was going there too. I got into the truck and we headed to the south.

The landscape around remained almost the same and a few hundred kilometers ahead the low bushes had been nearly replaced by grass. The terrain had grown more tumulous. However, there were no traces of water. On the way we ate and we even slept a little – the driver did so at the chauffer’s box and I stayed on the bed in something like a miniature bedroom set on the other side of the carriage next to the goods. In that case the goods were mattresses.

At dusk we reached Comodoro and I managed to get in touch with Maria – my next couchsurfing host. I found her father Francisco who is a private teacher in physics. Although he didn’t speak English we managed to say a lot to each other. Later we went at their place. Maria and her brother were just preparing to fly to Buenos Aires for a concert. So I ended up staying alone with their parents. Francisco is a Peruvian and that is obvious in his appearance – kind of short, heavy-set, with clearly accentuated Indian features. Many years ago he came to Argentina in order to study, he married Laura and stayed. She is also a lecturer in history at the local university. Their house is at one of the few scattered neighbourhoods of the town and it looks out on the sea.

So far I have defined most of the towns as unremarkable but I directly declared this one to be ugly. In the area there are oil fields and thanks to them the population flourishes. In contrast to Puerto Madrin you can hardly see an old car in here. The most interesting is that there is a whole Bulgarian community in the town – most of them also work at the oil industry.

On the day after the following one I decided to go ahead. Laura and Francisco took me at a gas station near the exit of the town but I assesed that the place was not suitable and I went on walking in order to get completely out of it. The first round crossing was not good because there was one more neighbourhod from there. Steep downhill followed and that’s how I ended up walking for 4 kilometers. The wind was blowing and it was wintry, that’s why I strongly hoped that someone would pick me up faster. One truck turned off the road and I talked him into taking me. He was going only to the next town – Caleta Olivia - but it was better than nothing. However, only 2 kilometers later we ran into a traffic jam – a car had crashed into a truck. The prognosis was two hours of waiting. And the driver had no intention to waste them so he returned back. On the other hand, I stayed with the hope that some of the many trucks may take me until a more distant town. That’s how I stayed, only with my hope, because the movement got unblocked earlier than predicted and all the cars and trucks came unstrung one by one. My position was extremely unsuitable for hitch-hiking – a long bend at a quite steep downhill. To my luck however the police boy who was rambling around drove me 2 or 3 kilometers ahead where the road goes straight and without a declination. There one boy picked me up but as soon as we set out on our way the tire became flat – it was certainly not one of the best days. After we fixed the tire I found myself only 5 kilometeres ahead – on the frontier between the two provinces – Chubut and Santa Cruz. Here the place was much better because all the cars were slowing down or stopped because of the police check-up but in spite of that no one would stop for me. And the wind was blowing strong and cold.

Finally one Chilean truck driver agreed to take me to Caleta and that’s how in the end of the day I found myself at a gas station by the exit of the town – only 80 kilmeters away from Comodoro. Here I met a byciclist from the Czech Republic – he was going down to Rio Gallegos. He looked bad not only on the outside but also on the inside – he sounded almost desperate. The wind was making things very difficult and probably he would have to take a bus.

As for me, my next task was to find a good place to sleep. The poor neighbourhoods of the town were extended around the gas station, that’s why I went out with my rucksack on my back. About a kilometer away I found an interesting object for taking photorgaphs – dried up salt lake and thanks to it I saw two big metal pipes that go under the road.

I really love places that provide a good shelter because that means I don’t have to perfom to complicated procedure of pitching up the tent. One of those pipes was perfect – dry and clean and it gave a good protection from wind, rain and bad looks. Almost like a gypsie amulet. Well, it was kind of noisy when trucks were passing but it was worth it. Especially when we mention the ravenous sunset that lit the far away hills in red.

In the morning I’ve been waiting only for fifteen minutes and one little truck stopped with a great enthusiasm at long range. He was going to Fitz Roy – the next populated place, only 70 kilometers way – in the middle of nowhere. I mean at one of the edges of nowhere because after it there are almost 300 more kilometers of nothing.

The guy was very talkative and at the beginning he gave me to eat some micro butter breads that he later gave me away no matter that I tried to refuse. At Fitz Roy I met one more byciclist – a Swiss who was going to the north. For 10 days he succeeded in going over 1200 kilometers. I asked him why had he chosen this boring and empty road and he replied that the other roads were not realistic for a bycicle. That was a statement contradictory to everything I have ever read at all the travel notes written by people who have crossed South America. Keeping in mind the conversations with the two byciclist I felt reasserted that I have taken the right decision by choosing the hitch-hike as a way to travel. Those boys were pedaling all day long and they almost had no chance of a contact with the local people. And I do that almost all the time.

The road traffic through Fitz Roy was horrifyingly slow but even though only 40 minutes later a pickup truck stopped and took me for Rio Gallegos – whole 650 kilometers – my exact ultimate aim. The driver was a Chillean and his name was Leo. He, very much like most of the Chillean truck dirver I have seen, was going to Punta Arenas. All that long transition through the territory of Argentina is due to the lack of roads at the central parts of Chille in direction to the southern parts. Leo works at the port of Punta Arenas but few times a year he had to go to his relatives at Koyayke. While we were talking the landscape was slowly changing. Nooo, it wasn’t getting less desolate, just some cattle appeared – sheep and lambs, here and there I spotted even some guanaco that turned out to be even larger than I thought. They manage to jump over with ease and effortlessly the wire fences that separate the steppe from the asphalt road. And while the sheep belong to someone’s estancia, the guacano are free and hunting for them is forbidden.

Leo gave me his e-mail in order to write to him when I pass by Punta Arenas and after that we split up at the centre of Rio Gallegos. I found a net connection in order to see if I had any reply by the girl who lives in that town. Yeaaah, I had. I turned my steps to the ice cream shop whose address she had given to me but I realized that her shift begins at 9 and a half in the evening so I had to wait for her for two hours. When she showed up we made a deal that I would go at her place. I caught the bus and half an hour later, already by the dark, I found myself at probably the poorest and most sordid neighbourhood without any clear idea which one is the street that I had been looking for. Unlike the central part here the street plates were missing. While I was asking around at the little shops, I heard someone calling me behind my back „Hey, amigo” and I ignored it just like I did at Buenos Aires and Barcelona. That was certainly not one of the safest places.

Finally I found the house and that made the pack of dogs at the yard bark. Carolina’s mother appeared at the door. Their house was certainly not of the rich ones. It was way too small for its many inhabitants and there were signs of leakage and mould. Somewhere on the inside I could hear drum sounds as if produced by a machine-gun and the music in the kitchen added to the completely chaotic sound picture. Except for Carolina’s mother and her drummer brother there were three more girls, one of whom was only a guest. Later one more boy appeared and in the end I couldn’t understand who is who at that house. Even though everyone were kind and nice obviously they have decided that after I don’t speak Spanish very well it would be better not to talk to me. I definitely didn’t feel comfortable and at ease. That’s why I decided to continue my journey on the next day.

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