Cafayate - Catamarca, Argentina.
A striking and charming town, made all the more atmospheric by the surrounding vineyards. We had a day off to explore. Made more complex by the need to change my now square and balding tyres. Luckily we had the globebusters' tyre changing collective, made up of the knowledgeable (Alan), the needy (Lou & meself), and the downright helpful (Mike(&Di) & John(&Marion)). Using no more than two logs and some suitable leverage the team had both tyres changed inside an hour, and we raced out on freshly hired tandems to catch up with the others who'd decamped to the vineyards for some instruction in wine appreciation. We were too late. The lead party were camped outside the vineyard, giggling incessantly, as you do when drinking starts shortly after breakfast. We had to catch up. One very swift tour and three bottles of wine later we were fairly sure we'd caught up. After a while we noticed the initially familiar sight of Brad forcefully demanding a refill from the wine "service", only to be denied by a chorus of "say pleeeassee" from his fellow drinkers. This resulted in the incongruous sight of our giggling American clasping his hands around his empty glass, corpsing away and dumbly begging for a top-up. A unique occurrence…fairly sure he still didn't say please though…Tcha. After a suitable period to register our disapproval (via some very English eye-rolling and shaking of heads, not unlike what you do automatically after a few too many vinos), we decided the tandem was more amusing, and we re-mounted and wobbled off back into town. The evening passed quickly enough, helped along by a great dog fight involving the entire town square's supply of strays, and a surreal encounter with a London Business School alum, who happened to be out for a wedding. Get everywhere these LBS'ers.
The next day we were onto Catamarca, a much larger, but unremarkable town made more fun by the transformation the new tyres had made to the bike - I mentally thanked Jack Lilley's once more, whose generous support had made it possible to get the latest tyres - and what a difference! We could now go around corners without the need for random readjustments to make sure we came out the other side - nice. Michelin Roadpilot V3, for those who care. We washed the bike in celebration while Alan (58) took on the laughing carwash lads (17) in arm-wrestling contests. Luckily he won. We retired to the town to celebrate his triumph.