15:01, the clouds release and the showers begin to rain down on the bikes and myself. Everyone takes cover in their stores. Yet, I, well I must get all of the bikes back in their respective storage space... 3 blocks away in a garage. I start by locking the bikes I'm leaving and taking 2 bikes at a time down the cobblestone road of Avenida Defensa. People in the cafes look at me confused. ''What is this gringo doing running with 2 bikes down the street in a rainstorm?" I look back and muster a smile. Two bikes locked safely in the garage, now time to run back to Plaza Dorrego for the rest. Again, 2 at a time.
"Oye, there goes that same gringo running with 2 more bikes in this torrential downpour." What is that boludo thinking?
Rewind several weeks: Biking BA has decided to store bikes in a garage several blocks from a highly touristy plaza. Lo bueno: It's very affordable to store the bikes in a garage near a closer location to our South Tours. Lo malo: We must arrive at least an hour in advance to transport the bikes from the garage to the meeting point, 2 at a time. It's not the most efficient way of preparing for a tour, but 'es lo que hay.'
So there I am, 20 minutes into the storm, drenched and defeated. Nobody showed for the tour, rainstorm duh. I had heard it was going to rain but I went to set up for the tour anyways, hoping the weather man was wrong. Dedicated or stupid? You tell me.
I then hop on my bike and make the ride back to Palermo area, 45 minutes away in the rain. The water drips out of the foam handlebars as I cruise through the slowing storm at a leisurely pace. The taste of defeat, oh so bittersweet.
Then I ride past a young man with no legs in a wheel chair, wheeling himself down a puddle-filled sidewalk with a smile on his face. A health dose of perspective sinks into my bones. It could always be worse. What am I bitching about? Sometimes, a little perspective is all we really need.
I love Buenos Aires for that reason, whenever something may seem upsetting or negative, turn the corner and you'll find a good dose of perspective. It lies in the faces of each cartonero.
The rest of the ride home, I carry a smile and know that tomorrow the sun will shine and another tour awaits. For now, I feel warm in the cold rain knowing I have a place to sleep tonight and am surrounded by good friends and family all around. More tours will come and the next time, maybe I'll believe the weather man.
Spanish phrase learning:
boludo- A common term in Argentina used between friends. Literally means someone who's head is filled with air, like a ball. Can mean fool or friend, depends on how it's said.
es lo que hay- Also very common here. Literally translates to 'it's all there is.' Used often in terms for settling for what there is.