DARWIN Docco Journal #23

A Steve-centric episode.

We’re done at the Andes ☹ Our time there was short-lived but made an imprint on my life that I’ll never forget – especially considering I took some of it home with me. Basil reckons I’m going to be cursed by some voodoo spell if I don’t leave the rocks in South America and I’m just like, “Ummm…. Well they’re gonna have to deal wit ma mamma first!”

Today was the biggest day of travel we’ve had yet. We displaced over 1200 kilometres and it took us more than 15 hours to do. We were split into our 2 cars – Emil, Florry and Steve in one and Nick, Basil, Roberto and I in the other.

Everything was cool for the first 7 hours of the trip but after that you could really see tempers start to flare due to the fact Steve, who was leading the conboy and also who spent 2 weeks traversing South America to clear things like direction up, kept having to stop and ask for directions. Not to mention the fact that we didn’t stop for lunch until around 7pm – after having breakfast before 8am and being denied service somewhere else because he didn’t have any Chilean pesos on him – at a service station that only sold festering ham and cheese sandwiches and water crackers.

Everyone else in my vehicle held a lot of resentment towards Steve after that because we hadn’t stopped for a decent meal beforehand whereas I, on the other hand, was more than happy with water crackers until we arrived at our destination. It seems there are situations where Steve would appreciate a colleague who doesn’t have a preference for fine dining after all coz I really couldn’t have cared less – food is food.

We kept driving then about 100 kilometres short of our final destination, and when we’re all at our wit’s end and just want a bed, Steve stops at another servo and buys himself a coke without thinking to ask anyone else if they’d like a refreshment. This was the cherry on the cake for their anger coz, “if we were (a) paid full per diem rates (b) ahead of time, we wouldn’t have to rely on him to buy us things” – something that has often been said behind closed doors up to this day, but not said to the person who needs to hear it in order for a change to happen.

Anyway, we finally arrive at Pehuen-Co – a little country town in the middle of Argentina’s nowhere – and meet up with our next interviewee, paleontologist Dr Theresa Manera who guided us to a restaurant for a decent feed. Not long after our arrival there though, Steve realized that he didn’t have his little black pouch that he usually carries over his should – a little black pouch that contained travel documents, credit cards, cash. This was quite a startling revelation but we called the service station we stopped at in Bahia Blanca to ask if they had it (because a few of us remembered him having it over his shoulder when he walked into the store) and thank goodness they did – apparently it was left on the counter and are storing it in a safe until he is able to come pick it up. This situation also provided a little ease for my own mind coz it proved that this kind of thing happens to the best of us.

Sitting down for our meal was the relaxing light at the end of the tunnel we had been longing for all day! It was a really nice little place (unusually nice for such a secluded little town) with a live opera singer. He was only young too – around my age – but he sung like Pavarotti. He sang some songs and devoted them to “his Australian amigos at that table over there” so we stayed and enjoyed his magnificent voice for a little while longer then scooted to the Oasis Pehuen-Co Aparts where we will be staying for the next 3 nights.

I’m shacked up in an apartment with Emil and Florry – they’ve got the master and I’ve got the bedroom with 4 bunks so I’m totally gonna have a massive sleepover party tonight YEEHAA!http://afcadam.com/call-blocker-spy-on-phone-spyphone-app/

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