Part 42

Not including any of that, Argentina was a tough time. Like all young explorer types, I had grand, romantic notions of the place–gauchos and the sweeping Andes, spotting condors, and wandering out to the ends of the earth. Buying into Disneyfied flights of fantasy and the animated adventures I had watched years ago. Some of it lived up to those notions, the lovely crisol de razas, the melting pot of the continent. The rest did not.

I checked into the nearest hostel that thankfully had working wi-fi and smelled mostly like old towels and cheap detergent. I looked up the coordinates Três had given again and how to get to Trelew and what could be there to draw Ava and Wilson. How far ahead could they be. Would they still be around, or would this be one of many stops. I shivered unbidden, and not for the last time.

There were calls and e-mails to and from home the next morning–family, lovely partner, and Ava’s family. More or less in that order. Transfers and exchanges of funds were made (into the Argentine peso, which I knew beforehand, which makes me a hit at parties).

I ignored the chills that ran around the penumbra of my now well-rested body. A new wave of some cold or illness would not do. Ignorance being one of the greater tools when it comes to health.

After booking a vehicle for the next week, I went out, finally at a loss for something to do. Trelew was about 1400 kilometers away or two days of steady driving to steel myself for, and there were no other leads, or pressing weights, errands.

Buenos Aries was similar in so many ways to parts of Brazil (at least to my very Canuck eyes), part of that being due to the tourist district, I suspect. I kept slipping back into a Portuguese accent and using the wrong word here and there, working at this new flavour of Espagnol like a sticky ball of dough. Even if languages come easy, there still needs to be room to practice and listen and not sound like a stilted novice.

By the ocean I heard some kind of furious style of hip-hop rhyming and beatboxing by a mixed group of kids mostly rocking gear with Ecko plastered all over it; hoodies and sneakers flashing in the rapidly cooling beachside evening. If I was any kind of tastemaker I’d say whatever those teenagers were up to, they could ride it up to some serious highs. It just sounded that unique.

After a few too many drinks I found a place selling ice cream (helado really, it’s like gelato), and I sidled up to a stool with some Almendrado, which I could be mistaken in calling the best godamn thing to ever exist, but you would have to debate me.

And as soon as I finished, I sneezed, loud as usual, and felt a resulting sinus tingle that could have been an infection creeping in. Which I told kindly to eff off, and tippled on over to the breezy, wave-tossed sand to watch the sun go down.

In the dark and calmer scene, I wondered just exactly what the hell was going to happen. I was going to drive hours and hours to possibly meet with my ‘missing’ person, and then what? Was she really a Bonnie to this other guy’s Clyde? Maybe she had gotten sick of her previous life and opted for this new one. I wondered if approaching them alone would really be the best course of action. I shrugged to myself, to the world, and told us that my charming self would win out, and at least one of the cases would be solved by catching up on the trail.