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  • Writer's pictureMartijn

Confirming Argentines are super friendly and helpful

January 2021, the height of the summer season and I am in our country house, on the “Costa Atlantica” in the South of Buenos Aires province. The sun is shining, the beach is empty and the surrounding nature quiet and energizing. It’s the kind of place where you just feel like sitting outside, relaxing and reading all day!

Apart from family visits, the main distractions are the hares that appear on top of the dunes every now and then and the thumping of the “tucu tucus”. These mole-like little animals hammer the ground with their rear legs to dig holes and tunnels and it resonates so much that even if there is just one, it sounds like there is a construction machine at work.

Apart from the occasional tucu thumping, the environment is so calm that it is hard to believe that in just a few weeks Alex and I should be on our way to Brazil. Our first stop will be Paraty, a colonial town to the South of Rio de Janeiro and I can’t wait to write about our experience there. But in the meantime, I will recount an experience here which proves again that Argentines are super friendly.

Our country house is about a 4 hour drive from Buenos Aires city and Carmen and I were charged with the task of covering the distance in our old Toyota pick-up truck that belongs here but had been in reparation in the city. Due to lock-down, the reparations have taken a lot of time: they started in March and ended in December, the idea was to fix the car completely in order to sell it after the summer. In those 9 long months, it went to the mechanic, to the body-shop and to a specialist in electrical circuits. We finally got it back a week before our departure and decided to take advantage of its spaciousness to start moving a few things to the country-house (after all, we need to empty our soon to be ex-house by end of March!) and to have Carmen drive the whole way in order to practice her highway skills. Once the car was fully loaded with all kinds of random objects, we covered them carefully with plastic because we knew it might rain on the way, and indeed, halfway through the trip, it started to rain softly. Everything was going according to plan when all of a sudden, 120 km away from our destination, we heard a loud bang, followed by a splash of dirty water on the windshield and white smoke. Carmen immediately got off the road and stopped. After a few minutes to let the engine cool, we decided to open the hood to see what was going on, took a picture and called Alex who was still at home. Alex contacted the mechanic and gave us instructions – apparently the radiator had overheated due to the pressure. The first test was to add water to check whether it was just empty or leaking. Luckily, there was a house right where we stopped so we knocked and were told by a woman to get water from the garden. When I went to fill our bottles again, a man stepped out and asked me if I was alone. When I answered that I was with my daughter, he shook his head and said “oh, so you are two women, so you are alone” and immediately started to help with the water-pouring operation. It soon became clear that the radiator had exploded and was permanently damaged. We reported that to Alex and the magic started: he called the owner of the company that we sometimes use to build roads in the dunes, thinking he would know about fixing machines. Mr. Davila was traveling but he mobilized a tow-company he knew and agreed to meet us upon arrival in the town closest to our country-house to open his garage so that our broken truck could sleep there. While Carmen and I were waiting for the tow-truck, it started raining so hard that we couldn’t see a thing – literally curtains of rain- so our rescue took longer than expected but finally arrived about 2 hours after the explosion. It was still raining cats and dogs, so placing the car on the platform and driving to our destination took a long time, but Carmen and I were sitting high and dry in the front of the tow truck, driven by Martin with whom we had a very friendly conversation.

Instead of arriving at our own house with slight rain around 7 pm, we arrived at Mr. Davila’s garage under pouring rain around 10 pm. There, we moved all our miscellaneous objects from our truck to his, a very embarrassing moment because there were many loose items: an iron, 2 yoga mats, a wooden fish-sculpture, bags of food, a huge number of cases of wine (many more than normal for a vacation so I felt the urge to specify we were emptying our Buenos Aires house), etc… Mr. Davila drove us home and when we got there we had to unload all our loose items, still in the rain, which allowed for another thorough review of our lifestyle and habits… When we thanked him, he insisted that helping us out was completely normal and that we could count on him if we needed anything else. The next day, he called Alex to recommend a mechanic close to his garage where the car is now undergoing another check-up.

And of course, throughout this whole adventure, everyone was respectfully wearing facemasks!

Now that it’s over, I realize there are many silver linings to this experience:

1) Carmen is a very good driver and reacted perfectly under stress

2) We could again witness how incredibly friendly people are, even under Covid-19

3) Dealing with unexpected events is likely to be part of our round-the-world reality, so this was another good practice

4) The truck will be even prettier and fixed-up on the day we put if up for sale!

Greetings from us all on the Costa Atlantica!

From left to right: Lucero, Jose, Pedro, Susana, Alex, Martijn, Tobias, Carmen, Gabriel, Sandy, Julia, Esteban and Border Collie Nala.

Greetings also from our newest house guest: the Border Collie cat, who appeared out of nowhere and seems to like it here, maybe because he blends in so well 😊

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