I didn’t think I’d make it this far. Patagonia was a mirage shimmering so far in the distance that I assumed I’d give up or die of thirst before I reached it. At the beginning of my trip I was unsure if I even wanted to go this far. What if I had crippling back pain, got really lonely or my bike exploded? When people asked about my destintion I’d always say Montevideo with an added “maybe via Patagonia…but we’ll see”.
Accordingly I didn’t do much research about the ruggedly beautiful region that draws so many people to this part of the world, nor did I spend hours poring over earthporn photos of the Torres del Paine or the Carretera Austral, preferring to leave an air of mystery around it. Or maybe I was just lazy. Either way, when I emerged from the bus in Pucon it was clear that I was entering a whole other world – one of log cabins, crystalline lakes and the kind of raw, uncaring wild that Jack London wrote about.
The odds weren’t good but I thought that just maybe I’d find a small bar or cafe showing the game. I even considered asking to rent a cabin for a couple of hours. A few hours of passing empty resorts later and I’d all but given up. There were no bars, no cafes and barely a hint of life. With 15 mins until kick off I approached one final campsite and upon seeing the “closed” sign turned to walk away when I heard a voice.
“Can I help you?” “Uh…there’s a football match I really want to watch. I don’t suppose you have it on TV here?” “Sure! Come on in.”
Lorenzo welcomed me in to his house and we proceeded to watch the game together. He gave me an apple and we discussed English football hooligans and the River/Boca rivalry. Then after a very enjoyable match, to spare me camping in the pissing rain he offered me a free night in one of his riverside cabanas. It was one of those strange occasions when the exact perfect scenario slowly unfolds before you and you can scarcely believe it’s real.
Tunes: The Smiths – The Smiths, Hatful of Hollow, Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism, St Vincent – MASSEDUCTION, Morrissey – You Are The Quarry, Blondie – Plastic Letters
Reads: Child 44 – Tom Rob Smith, Watership Down – Richard Adams, The Road to Wigan Pier – George Orwell