Friday, February 24, 2006

Dinner with Bikers

When I arrived at the hotel in Santiago, there was one vehicle in the parking lot: a R1200GS like mine. I later met six Brazilian riders staying at this hotel. Dinner at "Delmonico's". From left to right: Javier from Spain; Conrado, Cecilia, Vanessa and Denis from Brazil; Rodrigo Perez from Santiago; Silvia from Austria; Rodrigo Caceres from Santiago; Joly and Humberto from Brazil. All ride BMWs, except "Perez" (who was being pressured by the group to get one) and Silvia, who is understandably a fan of the Austrian KTM motorcycles.

I asked the Brazilians (those staying at the hotel) if they wanted to have dinner at "Tiramisu". Everyone was interested.

I joined them around the pool where they were enjoying some beers. Later I added the bottle of Argentine wine to the mix. (Afterwards, I looked at the wine bottle: the front label stated it's a Goyenechea 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon "Quinta Generación". The back label says it was hand-harvested in March of 1999 and bottled in November 2000. I'm not sure about Argentinean labeling laws, but that wouldn't fly in the states.) The wine was good, though slightly tainted by a bad cork. (I hate when that happens!)

"Javier", from the Basque region, joined us. He was staying at another hotel, but apparently met everyone at the BMW dealership. He's in the early stages of his journey around South America. The Brazilians are just wrapping up a tour of Peru, Chile and Argentina. Some are riding home, while others (those with the damaged bikes) are flying, bike shipping arrangements to be made later.

Rodrigo Caceres, from Santiago, whom the Brazilians had met at Williamson Balfour, came to the hotel and persuaded us to go to a different restaurant, "Delmonico's", an up-scale seafood restaurant in a new shopping mall. I followed him over to the restaurant. He was riding a new R1200GS (that inferior yellow color though!) He's quite a "hot-dogger" and enjoys seeing what the bike can do.

Rodrigo ordered the wines, including an excellent Montes Alpha 2004 Syrah. At the table, I was surrounded by lawyers: Vanessa, Sylvia and Rodrigo. I had to defend myself all evening!

The Brazilians said "you must go to Fernando de Noronha", an island off Brazil's northeast coast. For me, it was quite interesting that I would meet and spend time with Brazilians when I'm at this crossroads in my journey. My brother, Drew has been trying to persuade me to go to Brazil, as several of his friends who live there have offered their hospitality should I make it that way.

But as I have mentioned to several people already, upon reaching Buenos Aires, it was just like the scene from the movie Forrest Gump where he was running across the United States (for the third or fourth time.) In the middle of Monument Valley, Arizona, he stopped, turned around and ran home, confounding his followers. He just decided it was time to stop. When I reached Buenos Aires, my vision of the route ahead was a blank.

We split the dinner bill eleven ways: $45.00 per person. Ouch!

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