(Montevideo, Uruguay) While searching the Tristan Narvaja street market for a hard-to-find paperback (Pin Pan Pun, to be precise), I noticed a foreign woman walking alongside a long-distance touring bike. Though unloaded, the bike’s history of miles and adventures and baggage carrier mishandling did not escape me; the handle bar bag beamed proudly like a cyclop’s headlamp; the rear rack hung tight around the wheel like tank armor.
I jumped in front of her path, animatedly. The excitement of seeing a brother, er, partner in pedals, in that crowded sea famous for pickpockets and con-men, in hindsight, was probably a bit overwhelming, perhaps even scary. In Spanish I bulleted pleasantries then reloaded a “Where are you from?” and “Where are you going?” Her hurried response was “English?” then, in English, an assertive “This is my boyfriend,” as if passing my threat onto the handlebar bag with Mace inside.
During our brief conversation I learned that they were heading to Colonia de Sacramento, my next major city destination, an easy two-day coastal ride away. I memorized their blog name, CycleNomads, said I’d contact them, then scuttled away like a beggar who scored some change. It wouldn’t surprise me if the German couple went cod red after our encounter, misplacing my frenzy for a scam. True to my word, I wrote. Below is the e-mail conversation that will carry through 200 kilometers to Colonia de Sacramento:
We met today at the market in Montevideo. Let me know if you’d still like to pedal toward Colonia together on Tuesday. My schedule is completely flexible. We don’t have to do 150 km, we can sleep where we end up—I also have a tent, of course.
Hope to hear from you, un abrazo.
Hope it’s not too late with our answer, we had problems with the wifi in the hostel. we are staying in El Viajero… we’d like to cycle a bit with new company, when and where do you want to start ? Our pick would be Plaza Indepencia, the big square with the mausoleo of Artigas. Easy to find and we cant miss each other.
Breakfast here is from 0800 to 1000, so we would be there around 0900. Late for a long day of cycling, but free breakfast is free breakfast ;)
I’ll check the emails this evening again, hope to hear from you, bob and surly ;)
Your answer arrived just in time—mid-sentence of an e-mail, actually. I’ll be packed and ready in La Plaza de Independencia tomorrow at 9:00am. I too look forward to a few days of riding with good company.
See you soon, cheers.
P.S. – I had no idea that huge statue was Artiga’s mausoleo, but as the heart of the city it’s appropriate I guess.
Check out Diana and Martin’s blog here.