Crossing Paso de Jama felt momentous. After 6 1/2 months in the Andean countries that once comprised Greater Colombia we were crossing to the Southern Cone: the more
developed, European part of the continent. And on my quest to reach Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, it felt like a half way point. Were this Super Mario World I’d have jumped through a white pole and doubled in size, though unfortunately if I die I doubt I’ll respawn on the Argentine border.
It also meant higher prices. My days of $2 almuerzos and cheap hospedajes were over. From here on out I’d be camping 95% of the time and the ol’ alcohol stove would be seeing a lot more use. Thankfully the temperate climate of Northern Argentina is well suited to camping and the Argentines love a good camping trip. Consequently there are well maintained campsites all over the place, while the sheer size of the country makes wild camping a doddle.
Descending from rainbow mountains and desert canyons, it was a shock to see the grey carpet of cloud that smothered Jujuy. I’d spent a year in a half in countries without spring or autumn, their seasons simply defined as wet and dry. In dropping down from the Bolivian antiplano we were entering a Northern Argentina on the brink of spring. Deciduous trees denuded of their leaves covered the hillsides and a frowning sky threatened to burst at any moment. For the first time in a long time I felt like I was home.
Talking of goodbyes, after 6 weeks of cycling together it was also time for me and Philipp to part ways. He had to rush down to Cordoba for a meditation workshop, while I was planning on taking things a bit slower. Cycling through Bolivia and Paso de Jama was tough and I was so grateful to have shared those hardships with someone else. Those long cold nights would’ve been a lot longer and colder without the fireside chats and bullshitting sessions. It was a pleasure riding with you, mate!
Tunes: Brand New – Science Fiction, Queens of the Stone Age – Villains, Metric – Fantasies
Reads: Hitch 22 – Christopher Hitchens, Modern Romance – Aziz Anzari, Neuromancer – William Gibson, The Secret Race – Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle