This is my second day on the road. But in a way it is another day on the road since my birthday. Still I have not slept in the same bed two nights in a row since by birthday over a week ago.
Since Sunday’s half marathon in San Sebastian so much has happened that this – just a few days away memory – seems like thousands miles away. In fact, I am thousands of miles away… so how did I get here?
I’m on the bus from Mendoza, Argentina to Santiago, Chile. The bus is going through the Andes as I type those words on my iPhone. After I run the Donostia Half Marathon on Sunday I traveled back to Brussels via Bilbao and Munich airports. In Brussels I stayed a night and on Monday night I traveled to Amsterdam. There I worked on a text that I hope will be published soon on the trade agreements between Canada and EU and between USA and EU. In effect I slept only 4 hours.
On Tuesday I went for a jog in Amsterdam. It was a chilly but a beautiful day. Sunshine and no clouds, no wind and plenty of friendly people. I didn’t care about the speed and enjoyed th views. 13.7 km later my right calf said ‘break’ so I stopped otherwise a very enjoyable run. A bit worried about the calf I went to a sauna to refresh my body.
In the evening I boarded a KLM flight to Buenos Aires. The check in service was so helpful, the ladies helped me with making sure I would not be paying for over luggage. I had four pieces and only one could be checked in. Only one could be taken on board as a carry on. I’ve repackaged and beefed up my big luggage to almost 20 kilos. Lighter carry-ons were ok now.
13 hours long overnight flight and I slept again only 4 hours. I watched some movies instead: BFG, Tarzan, The Pets, Cafe Society…
Eventually I have landed at 6 am in Buenos Aires. A revisit after 11 years! I lived here 2 months June-August 2005. And what hit me was… the heatwave! It’s summer here, and the local papers are saying it is going to be the warmest December since 1960.
A good friend of mine was in town on a visit from Brussels; we’ve got ourselves for a breakfast in the Palermo district: Miłka, her Argentinian half Roger and their adorable daughter Dalia. Miłka’s mom was also there. A nice reunion in a city I once considered the end of the world. Not any more, as I am changing planes to move on.
Aerolineas Argentinas domestic flights take off from an airport known as Aeroparque. I am flying to San Juan in west Argentina on my way to Mendoza. The Mendoza Airport is undergoing renovations and is closed until 7 Dec. But the local government provides a free shuttle to Mendoza, which is uber convenient.
The only downsize of all this is time, but who’s counting? It goes so smoothly I am amazed at my own effective organisation. In Mendoza there is a car waiting for me provided by the Acomara agency I am scheduled to go up Aconcagua up in a few weeks.
In Acomara office I drop some of my luggage I will not need until I come back here for the mountain ascent. Suddenly I am some 12 kg lighter. Feels nice. I am mobile! From there I go to meet my couch surfer Walter, who generously agreed to host me for the night. First warm shower in two days feels nice… I am so tired from the trip, from undersleep, from climate change that one beer makes my lids so heavy I just need a touch of a pillow to fall asleep.
I sleep like a baby. 6 hours later I am up. It is not the duration of one’s sleep, it’s the quality of it that matters. Kind Walter asks if I have the time for breakfast. I say, I’ll make time. Nothing’s better than a morning coffee. Fourty minutes walk with my 20kg luggage to the bus station will have to make for my today’s workout… it’s 8:45 and I’m looking for a bus to Santiago. I catch one leaving at 9. But everybody refuses to give me the arrival time. The agent and the driver in a chorus: it all depends on how much time we spend on the customs on the border.