We gain two, Eugeneo and Angus aiming north but arcing our way to catch their five days on deck Amazon boat to Iquitos. Youthful exuberance and joy and curiosity. Eugeneo, ever grin unruly blonde dreadlocks from Argentina, Angus, 6’7″ plotting his permaculture Byron Bay farm literary magazine from Australia. Eugenio gets amusingly infuriated every single time someone calls out “gringo!” to him, which is often. I ride next to Angus for hours chatting, he seems astonished (yeah, me too) and flatteringly delighted that there is such a career, remunerative no less, as “Philosophy Professor” and he wants to know all about it.
Rainclouds, fat sparse drops now, promise of more. Eugeneo deftly arranges for us to stay in the abandoned infirmary of a school, warmish concrete space, a sink!, soon filled by bikes and wet gear and jokes, merry gang. Sarah’s turn to cook, I appoint myself her helper, we go into focused creativity, unexpected mouths to feed so we use everything we have, rice, beans, vegetables, tortillas, mozzarella, goat cheese, popcorn. The boys reckon that the stove and the filter and pot and having a working pump and a cassette remover and headlamps are all quite excellent ideas, they seem repeatedly stunned by the useful things we pull out of our packs, which is especially endearing as I am now carrying essentially nothing. On the other hand, Angus does have a wet suit, an inflatable body board and flippers.
I accept your apologies for having thought I was making that up:
(He also has trousers though that isn’t evident here.)
Notwithstanding the omissions, their cobbled together kit, recently acquired bikes, bungies holding it all together for good hours or two at a time, $2 homemade pannier rain covers, have enabled them to do big mileage, high altitudes, days in lashing rainstorms, negotiate nightly floor crashing, seemingly subsisting on cold partly softened oatmeal. They’re having a brilliant time, and if one ever ever thinks that quality of gear has a damned thing to do with that, Eugenio and Angus are decisive refutations. Terrific guys on a splendid journey.
I cross the field in the downpour to get beer and postres, then stories of travels and books. Eugeneo is first mildly skeptical (“Shankees read him?”) then proud when I tell him that Julio Cortazar, an Argentine national hero, is much esteemed by literary minded folks in the USA, that I was inspired to wide eyed silence by the genius of Hopscotch when I was 20.
Tom plays fantastic flute — I suppose that when you’re on a Big Dummy you bring a flute — through our drifting off with pelting outside.