It felt good to get back on the bike again. The road out of town rose for about ten miles before I started getting into rolling hills. I passed over and through scenic hills and valleys filled with pine trees. There were several indigenous villages, Coca Cola emblems posted over every available space. There were Coca Cola posters, Coca Cola umbrellas, Coca Cola chairs and Coca Cola posters everywhere, even on houses that didn’t sell the stuff. Not once did I see a Coca Cola rubbish bin.
I didn’t have any shoulder to ride on, but again, never felt unsafe. No vehicles ever overtook closely to me, and most would give a warning honk if they thought I needed it. The cars and trucks coming in the other direction often honked and waved also. I’d wave and give a “Hoya” to anyone that was walking and especially anyone that was riding along the road and would always get a very friendly wave and greeting back. I’ve never been honked at and waved at so much before in my life – it was fantastic.
Often men, instead of giving a Hoya would give a whistle and a wave. Often I would have to look for the source of the whistle, often a man grinning and waving madly from a field or house some distance away.
Another passage from Che’s adventures which I can relate to:
“Our pace was incredibly athletic while within sight of the town’s inhabitants, but later the vast solitude of the bare Andes, the sun that fell harshly across our necks and the badly distributed weight of our backpacks brought us back to reality. Until what point our actions were ‘heroic,’ as one policeman put it, we’re not sure, but we began to suspect, I think with good reason, that the definitive adjective was approximating something more like ‘stupid.’”
– Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Che Guevara