So, I’m in Uruguay. The landing is a bit bumpy, not the plane, that is. The plane from Buenos Aires in particular is nearly empty. What is bumpy is the money. I get out of the terminal and proceed to the first cash machine which itself not only does not give me cash with the credit card but also decides to retain my bank card.
I then find another machine and manage to get 2000 pesos out which, hoping I can mainly pay with credit cards, should keep out of the clutches of other cash machines for a while.
It’s time to assemble the bike now and I manage to do that with little problems. It has been treated with more respect than the last time but It has not escaped some damage. The plastic cover for the steering column tightener has gone and I will now have to use my multitool if I want to tighten the bolt properly. All else works as expected so I get on my way towards “l’este” and Punta Ballena.
There appears to be one viable route to my destination that does not include too many detours. I have not been on a bicycle in anger since the summer, I am further away from the safety and comfort of my known world I’ve ever been and I have just disembarked from nearly twenty four hours of flying so I decide that I will not ride too much today leaving myself with a rather long stint tomorrow.
Not too far from the Airport I come across a large shopping centre where I find a Movistar kiosk. The process of getting a sim card is straight forward and that means that within one our of touch down I have money and connection, in a country where I do not speak the language, it must be a record.
I stop to buy a drink on route and I find that Coke is rather cheap some 60p per half a litre, which is half of what you pay in the uk and a quarter of what you pay in New Zealand.
Nothing more happens before I get to Atlantida, the place i have chosen to be the stop over for the night.
I check into the Hotel Munday at round about five in the afternoon, I am not making as much progress as I thought I would but it’s ok, it’s only the first day and I really need to give myself time to acclimatise.
I repack the backpack, I did it rather in a hurry at the airport, and then I go for a walk down at the beach. The temperature is very pleasant and I walk along and back just to wait for sunset.
I am considering going to eat something out, but then I decide not to on account of the fact that tomorrow I’ll be cycling nearly 80 Km and my fitness level is pathetic and I need to be weighted down by a large meal like a fish needs a bicycle.
I tun in and put the TV on, it is remarkable how I can follow most of what comes out of the box. In the end I watch a bit of a dubbed Hollywood movie and then collapse in a deep sleep, courtesy of the rather poor sleep I had on the plane.
I wake up to a n ok breakfast and then get going. I am a bit worried as the weather forecast is for wind and whenever I cycle in wind it I find it’a always working against me.
Would you believe it? I was right, the whole 80 Km I had the wind in the face and, while Uruguay is really quite flat, it felt like I was climbing all day.
After considering a couple of time quitting and getting on the bus, I manage to make enough inroad to get myself in striking distance of Punta Ballena.
The final km to the Hostel is a terrifying ascent and I have no legs left at all. The good thing is that at the Hostel I find Martin, the owner, and Thiago, another volunteer from Brazil, and they make totally welcome. Thiago unfortunately leaves tomorrow but he will be replaced by Violet, a french chica.
I’m not sure as yet what the work load is going to be like, there are no customers yet so I think it’s just going to be getting the place ready for when they arrive but I’m sure I’ll cope.