Route 7, Buenos Aires & Mendoza
Monday, 04 July 2011 09:39
DSC_00622This truck did not stop as well, for the last two hours we are trying to hitchhike on Ruta 7 which links Buenos Aires to Mendoza and Chilean capital Santiago but it seems we are not that lucky today. Are we on the wrong place ? Besides the weather is cold, why did we leave the beautiful seaside and come to the other side of the world, the other hemisphere, furthermore in the middle of the winter ?

"İsooo, should we move further ? noone stops here, my ears will fall down any minute..."

DSC_0176Normally, I really like the trucks. I had a huge interest on them (and double deck buses) when I was a kid. I was really wondering about the long trips as well. My longest trips were to first Ankara and then Konya-Ereğli since I started the university. I couldn't have slept the night before these trips and next day I used to stare outside through the window of the bus. The second bus departing from the old Ankara terminal used to take us to Ereğli, we used to arrive to Ereğli in the evening after passing by Mountain Hasan and the Salt Lake. Of course, we as 3 siblings liked drinking water in the bus a lot so it was a kind of torture for my mother (and sometimes my deceased grandmother) but what could we do, it was great to drink the water in plastic bags that were popular in the buses those years...

"Stopped, İso run, he stopped, ask him where he is going to..."

DSC_0070It was time to move to a new continent spending 10 months in Asia. I took İsmail who was in tears to the plane and we arrived to familiar Buenos Aires. We really liked South America when we came here in 2007 right before completing the military service and amazed by the huge green parks of Buenos Aires. But this city wasn't like that city we came before and liked a lot, because first of all it was cold. We, who roamed around tropical islands for the last months were like fishes out of the sea after changing hemisphere and thus the season. The Argentinians with their coats and berets were also surprised after meeting two strangers with shorts.

DSC_0097It was nice to walk through Buenos Aires streets although it was winder and cold. Thinking about cities we visited in Asia, here was so different. We felt so weird to come here after walking in Asian streets for months, it was hard to adopt for the first few days. As a matter of fact, we were sleeping mostly in Buenos Aires after changing 11 time zones suddenly. Neverthless we visited the historical centers La Boca and San Telmo with Lora who joined us here. We sent our respects to Maradona once more in La Bombonera. After meeting a guy who learnt we are Turkish and responded with Turkish well known team Galatasaray cheers, we were smiling again because we had the same experience in several Asian cities before. By the way we met with Ale and Mariana who hosted us when we first visited Buenos Aires and then came to İstanbul to visit us. It was great to see them again, its their turn now.
 
DSC_0167We decided to try a new way of traveling with the new part of our trip, hitchhiking. It was something that we really wabted to experience although we knew that it would be hard, that's why we left Buenos Aires early in the morning by train and went to Lujan that supposed to be the best town to start hitchhiking. In fact the situation was simple. The east-west plane of Buenos Aires and Santiago was linked by Route 7. Our aim was to move on this road, spend the night in a convenient place and keep going to Mendoza as soon as possible. We walked out of Lujan for a while and found Route 7 which seemed to be a simple road and there weren't much cars or trucks on the road. After spending half an hour hitchhiking someone there warned us that this was the old road otherwise we would wait there much more. We got our backpacks and found the new road and after a little while a car stopped to pick us up. There were 2 young guys in the car, we also got in the and they took us to the toll gater just before the city of San Andre de Giles. We were gifted the paper written "Mendoza" on it here and from now on it was our way to communicate the drivers. As a matter of fact a truck driver picked us up. I climbed the stairs to the truck after İsmail and Lora, it was the time that my childhood dreams were being real. The truck driver was a funny guy who greets the truck drivers coming accross, talks on the mobile frequently and fools around with the people on the road, he dropped us in the city of Junin after 200 kilometres while it was getting dark. We decided to spend the night in this city, we already got used to spend nights in weird cities that we didn't even hear before.

DSC_0173We hit on the road very early next day. The doctor who picked us up on the way to Route 7 and dropped there was a good signal for the rest of the day... or we thought so. We were still in the same point after two hours and getting cold. Fortunately a middle aged guy picked us up and took us 50 kilometers further. The lady who picked us up there was a retired teacher and took us 30 kilometres further. In fact this was all the situation. A car or truck stopping, learning how many kilometres s/he can takes us and getting on the car/truck. (I don't want to mention about a guy who stopped after noticing Lora hitchhiking alone while we were busy with the backpacks and left quickly after noticing us) This time we were next to a gas station and after a few minutes a truck stopped. First we agreed on heading to a town which is 1,5 hours ahead. But then the driver told us he was also going to Mendoza and he could take us if the two sitting in the back side hides behind the curtaing while passing through police controls. Apparently having more than 2 people in the trucks was forbidden in Argentina and that was probably the reason why we waited so much time in Junin.

DSC_0086We were all sleeping when the driver clapped his hands and shouted as "Mendozaaa". We were sleepy when we got off the truck but we quickly found a place to stay and continued sleeping. Mendoza is a city located on the east side of Argentina, just below the Andes mountains. It is the fourth biggest city of Argentina and famed by the wineries. We wandered in the city for a whole day and then decided to hit back on the road to Chile, Santiago without losing time. Hitchhiking was risky since heading to Santiago was only possible over the Andes which were very cold and the customs could have been tricky. After discussing for a while we got on the bus and we were ready for the new country.

I was back to my childhood days while our bus moving forward to snowy Andes mountains. My nose was next to the window again, I was staring at the hils and mountains. My throat was already dry soon...

- Mom, I am thirsty...
- Me, too...
- Me, too...
 
Özcan
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