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Trans Americas 2009 - The Blog

The Just One More Mile story of Paul's Trans Americas 2009 motorcycle expedition.

Sunday, 6 December 2009


The Last Supper (or Group Meal)...

With the sun streaming through the open curtains from the wee small hours it was no surprise to hear Jim getting up and banging around as he got himself ready for the day ahead. When he'd gone to breakfast I got myself up and showered, unable to lie in any longer. After breakfast I went back to the room to sort out the blog for yesterday, whilst Jim went back to bed and slept. Around 11am I went downstairs and met up with Aaron, Nick, Pertti and Simon for our planned shopping trip, determined to at least try and find something suitable to take home. I failed, though, as it seems wrong to buy others souvenirs of places they've not been to, and I have sufficient memories (and stickers!) to not require additional tacky ornaments or ghastly t-shirts. After a cup of good coffee and a bottle of water in a café we wandered round town to Plaza San Martin where we planned to get a tour bus round the city to see the sights. Only the bus' audio system was broken and rather than take a trip round to see sights and not know what we were looking at, we gave up. Simon and Nick wandered off on a long walk, Pertti went shopping, Aaron had already returned to the hotel and I decided to do the same, my back starting to hurt from walking. I manage to find a large bag to pack my stuff in for the return journey and fully intended to practice packing when I got back to the room, but then decided to snooze instead. Which I did for most of the afternoon. Lazy or what!

At 6pm we had another meeting, to run through the process for freight (again) and then the group took over the meeting with Richard and Max presenting gifts on behalf of the group to a suitably embarrassed Kevin & Julia (a picture of them peering through the rusting hull of a boat signed by the entire group) and Jeff (a picture of him with the turtle in Nazca and a large wad of cash donated by the group)...

Kevin and Julia with their gift...

Jeff and his signed turtle pic...

After a few more speeches, including a very moving one from Gerald we started to drift off, and I went to get showered and changed ready for the group meal. Coming down in my best shirt I was confronted by some of the group, all wearing their “Globebusters Trans Americas 2009” t-shirts. It seemed that as Kevin had failed to buy a new shirt and jeans he'd declared it a team t-shirt evening. With my oversized (xxl) t-shirt in the wash I was given another one, and this time it fitted me. So with just Al not wearing his t-shirt (his reasons: he doesn't wear t-shirts and thinks that old men shouldn't and besides, crew necks don't suit him) the entire group hung around waiting for our coach to turn up. Eventually it did and we were whisked away to the Carlos Gardel theatre for our meal and entertainment. The place was packed with tourists and we had a long table leading back from the stage in the middle of the room. No sooner were we seated than the water and wine was poured and we were asked to make our selection from the menu. Ordering empenadas to start, chicken for main and chocolate mousse for dessert I wasn't expecting much, as with somewhere in the region of 600 people to feed before the show started the kitchen was going to be very busy. But they surprised us all, the food of a very good standard and served with military efficiency. Whilst we ate they showed a film (with no sound) of the history of tango, which seemed to be more a musical style than just a dance as I'd assumed.

No sooner had we finished the meal than the show started. With a small band consisting of a pianist, a chello, 2 violins and 3 accordions playing from a raised bandstand above the stage, we were treated to the most amazing display of dancing I've ever seen. The speed with which the dancers moved their legs, kicking them in between each other's was staggering. One couple performed a routine that would not have been out of place in a circus or gymnastics display, the guy spinning the girl round his back and over his shoulders, whilst she adopted poses with legs and arms our straight creating elegant lines. And all the time they looked deeply into each other's eyes, the dance very sensual and almost erotic. Sometimes I wish I hadn't got two left feet and no sense of rhythm... With flash photography banned, I couldn't get any great pictures, but can't let the evening pass without posting a couple to try and capture a little of the mood...


Tango, Buenos Aires style...

The only downside to the show were the singers, who seemed to think they were the stars of the show but were really filling in whilst the dancers changed costumes. Singing what sounded like Spanish opera I thought they were terrible, but even they could not ruin what was a great evening's entertainment. As our last official group meal it had been excellent, and despite the red wine being on “free vend” I managed to prevent the waiter from constantly topping up my glass... another almost dry night? Well, I am preparing to come home!

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