Cold Blooded

Alright, let’s return to my crazy summer adventure and recount the next chapter.

I think I left off when we arrived in Cuesta Blanca and collapsed onto the beach bathing in sunlight and eating paltatomatomayonesa sandwiches.  Pretty pristine moment.  After we finished, I snapped into my swim suit and we crossed the bridge looking for an empty stretch of beach to get some sand between our toes.  It wasn’t hard to find.  We were just out of view of the bridge—a spot with shade, sun, and even a rock in the river perfect for dipping in just up to your ankles.  We spent the next few hours enjoying the paradise of the sun and water, fooling around on the guitar, and cat napping.

The sand was full of micah and had a surreal sparkle in the sunlight.  I couldn’t really capture it with my camera but here are my best attempts:

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I woke up before Maxi and went and splurged on a bottle of fernet and some Coca-Cola at the convenience store to celebrate our successful arrival to the beach.

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Turned out Max was hiding some celebration refreshments as well—his favorite crappy cheap wine, Santa Ana.  We gathered sticks for a camp fire and I expertly built the twig and showed off my superior boy scout skills.  Max busied himself breaking apart the dead branches we’d dragged down to the beach saying, “Yeah, well…see, I was always the one who helped put the tent up, ya know?  Not actually starting a camp fire…”  It’s ok, I had his back.  I only learned how to build a campfire a couple of years ago and am still embarrassed that I went through the majority of my life not knowing how to strike a match and perform an essential survival skill…This time I was incredibly proud as we sat near the fire drinking ferne y coca and vino from the bottle and eating the rest of the avocadoes and tomatoes we’d purchased earlier.

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We talked for hours about politics, the benefits of hitch hiking, Maxi’s adventures through Israel, and our excitement about what was to come in the next two months we had to travel.  It was great to connect a little with Max but we still managed to avoid any personal details about our lives like family and friends back home, girlfriends/boyfriends, and deeper philosophies.  For me it is not very common to spend more than four or five hours talking with someone and somehow skirt around these topics, especially when we’re drinking, but Maxi and I talked and talked about everything but.

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At some point in the conversation I curled up next to the campfire with just my stolen airplane blanket and fell asleep. I don’t know when exactly I dropped dead, but I know that we were mid conversation and I know exactly when I woke up.

I woke up and it was still dark, the flames had turned to embers and smoke and the stars were incredible.  I didn’t see anything though.  I could only feel.  Cold.  So, so COLD.  I could barely move I was so cold.  I wrapped myself like a burrito in my paper thin airplane blanket that didn’t even cover my toes and shook for what seemed like hours trying to fall back asleep.  At last, I surrendered and made a break for my backpack tearing out every single shirt I owned and layering them on, changing into jeans and dawning as many pairs of socks as would fit into my shoes.  I had no regard for where my articles of clothing flew in my freeze-fueled frenzy and I think it would’ve looked like a yard sale of my intimates on the beach if it weren’t so dark.  My jacket barely fit over the layered clothing that did manage to make it onto my body.  I returned to my poor excuse for a blanket none the warmer and shivered for another ten minutes before I started literally crying.

I wasn’t too quiet about it either, but I don’t remember ever being so miserably cold in my life.  (Not before that moment anyways…there were other episodes like this during the trip.  This is the most memorable though.)  I finally caved and decided to wake up Maxi to see if he could spare part of his sleeping bag.  I started out my attempts to wake him none too subtly by shaking his shoulders and crying in his face.  He didn’t budge.  The wine had apparently cut him off from this dimension and he lacked any sense of consciousness.  I was desperate.  I was half-yelling half-crying and probably sounded like a dying werewolf.  As a last resort I hobbled to the fire and literally sat in the embers.

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It was a short-lived relief, but it had the desired effect.  I alternated putting different body parts in the remains of the fire and singing my clothing until I had melted all of the icicles down to my fingertips.  I laid out my airplane blanket on the rocks next to the fire and stuck my face as close to the embers as possible without burning the skin off of my nose, still crying.  Suddenly, I froze (pun intended.)

“Hola?….Hola?”

Even though I couldn’t wake Maxi, I had apparently waken somebody else up and froze in fear when I saw a flashlight and heard an, “Hola,” aimed in our direction.  Maybe I was being overdramatic with the cold thing.  Were we even allowed to camp on the beach?  Did maybe one of the people who lived in the town worry and call the police?  Why couldn’t I wake Maxi up?!  What was I going to tell these people if they stumbled upon our camp and found two foreigners trying to explain themselves amidst the remains of wine bottles and my entire collection of underwear sprinkled across the sand???  I held my breath, but the “hola”’s kept coming.

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About Autumn Standing

I love words; my name is made up of real words, even. I am studying Global Tourism and Spanish with a minor in Business Administration at Colorado State University but this year I chose to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. That's why this blog was born--to keep my beautiful family and friends informed of my whereabouts, thoughts, accomplishments, and mistakes.

Posted on March 25, 2013, in Argentina Part I, Summer Hitchhiking Adventure!, Travel and Study and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I have done a lot of hitchhiking and camping out. I have made some campfires, but the best way to stay warm is insulation—lots of insulation—like sleeping in haystacks, cornstacks, barns, back seats of junked vehicles, a pile of leaves, etc. Insulation from the cold ground is key.

    I read about this hitchhiker who learned how to make a campfire from an Indian:

    “The Short, Short Hitchhiker”
    http://hitchhikeamerica.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/the-short-short-hitchhiker/

    “Author”
    http://hitchhikeamerica.wordpress.com/about/

    • Those are awesome! I didn’t realize what a community of hitchhikers and travelers there are here on wordpress. I only just started hitchhiking this summer and was wondering what it’s like in the US. I’d feel less secure in the US for some reason I think, but then again, I didn’t really think it was safe here in Argentina either until I tried it. I was amazed by the inherent good in people.

      And I’d love to try an Indian campfire sometime, it makes so much more sense.

  2. lol… Its 8:58 PM my time…

  3. mmm autumn does it end there? i really wanna know what happens next

  4. Oh, me too… I want to know what came next, too 🙂

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