Buenos Aires [an error occurred while processing this directive]
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formalities We have reached Buenos Aires. It was more difficult to get here then we expected and hoped. As you may have read on our preparations page, we had asked the Argentina embassy whether it was possible to enter Argentina without a visa and with only a one-way ticket. They answered that this would be no problem. Unfortunately, when we tried to leave the Netherlands from Schiphol airport, our flight company United Airlines started to complain. They would not let us enter the plane if we didnīt buy a return ticket. A small financial set back and some stress. We and our bikes have reached Buenos Aires in a good state. At the moment we are staying at the most perfect hotel you can imagine, the house of Pablo. He is a cycling friend we know from the Warm Showers List . He received us with a lot of hospitality. Together with him and his friends we discovered the secrets of the Mate.

Mate

Mate set In the streets, in shops, in offices and at home you can see people carrying small cups with green stuff inside and a metal straw pointing out. Carefully sipping and passing it to their neighbours, keeps them occupied for hours. The green liquid appears to be some kind of tea made from fine cut leaves, called Yarbe. Those leaves are put into the cup, filling it almost completely. Hot water is poured onto it and the Mate is ready to be used. The metal straw through which the Mate is drunk is called a Bombilla (a bulb). It contains some kind of metal filter on the bottom side, which prevents the small Yarbe particles from entering the straw. After taking a few sips from the Mate, the Yarbe becomes dry and new hot water should be added. It would be really offending to pass the cup to your neighbour without adding hot water first.
Although it is possible to see people drinking Mate on their own, it is more common to drink it with a group of people. This can be with several friends but can also be with several colleagues in the office. One person in the group is responsible for the condition of the Mate. He or she adds the water and passes the cup to the others.
To integrate with the locals, we will also buy our own Mate set.

Biking with ACU 

Every Tuesday evening, bikers from the cycle club ACU in Buenos Aires gather together for a cycling trip. This Tuesday we are invited to join them. About 70 cyclist, mostly riding mountainbikes, are waiting for us. The group is split up in 2 small groups, a slow one (20 km/h) and a fast one (30 km/h). Together with Pablo we join the fast one. The ride goes through the city over an 8 lanes wide street with many traffic lights. Some of us have claxons and all of us have lights which makes the group easy to be seen and heard. This also allows us to sometimes drive through the red light (how Dutch). After 20 km we stop at a shopping mall, and wait for the other group to make new groups for the ride back. We both can keep up easily with the Argentina chicos, which gives us confidence for the rest of our trip through South-America. 

The real cycling part will start soon, after we have reached Rio Gallegos by bus.

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This page was last updated on Friday July 29, 2011
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