Madaru moto - motorbike adventures in South America  

 After a week I found out Javier and Sandra were closing Dakar Motos during the low season for their annual holidays, and I had to find alternative accommodation. Consulting the oracle of Google, I found suitable lodgings not far away at the Hotel Munro. I walked there to see if I could book a room for 3 or 4 days. Along the way I passed this building, whose sign reads "Peronist Doctrine Centre":

The area was semi-industrial, and there was a protest happening outside a factory:

Later  I had arranged to meet a friend for dinner at a Restaurant in Belgrano called "Big Mamma"; I caught the train, even though the ticket office was closed.

It was peak hour, and pretty crushed

Saw some nice looking chocolates while walking to "Big Mamma". 

On the way back the same coaches were as empty as a ghost train

In the mornings my only company was Sandra's pet cat, who liked crawling all over my stuff.

The cold mornings made a cup of tea look steamingly hot

Frequently offered Argentine mate at Dakar Motos, I slowly came around to liking it if it had sugar in it, otherwise it was a bit on the bitter side. One of Javier's bike-riding friends told me you should never touch the silver mate straw with your fingers. He also told me that his grandfather was a gaucho, an Argentine cowboy, and that when they wanted to banish one of their gang, they would put salt in his mate, and he would understand he was not wanted anymore.

I went by train into BA looking for an electric air pump after Javier ticked me off for not carrying one among my copious baggage. I went to the street where most of the motorcycle shops are, but only saw one and it was a hefty US$100, so I didn't buy it, but the day wasn't wasted, as I was able to shoot a few gigapans.  

Iguana grease for sale:

Best-selling biographical books in BA this month included Steve Jobs, a footballer called Almeyda, and two about Eva Peron, inlcudling one by Felipe Pigna. Some years ago I read one of Pigna's books called The Myths of Argentine History,  translated into English, and it was very good.

Isabel Peron, Juan Peron's 3rd wife and former President of Argentina,  still rules the minds of grafitti artists. Living in exile, Spain has refused to extradite her.

I stumbled upon another protest: 

The leaflets spoke of a dispute between a company and its workers: "Enough of robbing workers"

I shot  this quick video  of the protest, which shows the protesters jumping up and singing almost as if in a celebration, while police were keeping an eye on things.

Posters for a tango dance school compete with those for a Beatles tribute band:

This building's sign translates as "Mutual Association, House of the Footballer".

Near the university are these bookstalls and chess players:   

click to open as a gigapan:

"Made in-house" Havana cigars

Despite its ornate exterior, this impressive building - the Palacio de Aguas - houses a water pumping station: 

It even has a coat of arms, sculptured in relief:

click on image below to open as a gigapan.

Even newspaper kiosks are brightly painted

Wouldn't mind one of these

Another motorized bicycle. I saw many chained to posts, but never actually saw one being ridden.

Another interesting site was this solemn monument to Argentine servicemen killed during the Falklands / Malvinas conflict. Sadly, most of them were young conscripts.

Click to open as a gigapan:

Nearby was a poster  from a group called the 'Argentine Patriotic Network' calling on Argentines to rally to a protest march, for an "Argentine country without English nor traitors"

A beautiful winter day

But, in the heart of affluence,  some people are living rough

At the end of a long day, back in Dakar Motos, all on my lonesome.

My bike all packed and ready to ride to the Hotel Munro the next day....


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 Text and photos copyright  © Glen David Short 2013