Last year I purchased a couple of impractical and expensive pairs of jeans from net a porter…one of which were these pretty dusty pink jeans from Citizens of Humanity. In the last 6 months, these poor jeans have suffered greatly under my (lack of ) care. Now a week into my Argentina trip, they look pitiable. It starts with the mud and moss stains at the bottom, progresses to massive bicycle chain grease on the shins and ass, more dirt and even some blood for good measure (as I am the duchess of wipe outs) and finally the erstwhile carefully placed areas of distress turn into actual rips and holes. You can’t get this in a store.
That reminds me , I better get some laundry done when I get to bariloche.
So let me tell you how I ended up ruining my jean, or as I like to refer to it fondly, the worst bicycle ride of my life.
It was a very sunny day in Buenos Aires and I had just returned from a long and productive morning. I had visited the beautiful, even mesmerizing recoleta cemetery, spent a couple of hours there with a very cheap Spanish guided tour (40 pesos!). Then I had strolled around the area, eaten a freddo ice cream (chocolate with dulce de leche), tried to check out ateneo grand splendid but it was closed. I had had a gander at the Palacio de Aguas Corrientes. And I had done all this and returned home by 2 pm.
But then I went online and realised that I could walked an entirely different way from the cemetary and had a much better walking route from Recoleta to Palermo and even seen, among other things, the floralis generica – a massive metallic sculpture.
Meanwhile, my host texted me that he had just been been out with his bicycle and that it was a beautiful day and that I should borrow his bike and ride to the gardens of Palermo. Coincidentally that’s where the flower was, so I was tempted while also worried about biking the streets of an unknown metropolis.
I quickly put on my pink jeans, borrowed a bike route map and a backpack to put my things in and headed out. It was a fairly straight forward route to get to the gardens albeit one that passed and transversed several big avenues (which rightfully worried me).
In first minutes I realised that the bike was way too large for me and that once on, riding it was no issue but stopping and going at every red light was not going to be easy. I kept at it. A couple of red lights later while trying to get of the bike to read the map, the whole thing looped around my thigh roundly and clumsily. As you can see, the grease rubbed off quite nicely on my jeans. This is all going to end badly, jups, but you are not a quitter so go see that damned metal flower! Do one thing everyday that scares you, goddamnit!
So with the fear of getting run over in a foreign land pounding in my tiny sweating heart, I transversed what has got to be the second largest avenue in buenos aires (libertador, remind me to look it up). Ten more minutes to the flower I thought and now the bike lane is on the pedestrian path – lucky me. Except this meant many many more bicyclists, seasoned ones, one in particular heading straight at me…but he can see the fear in my eyes, can’t he? No? Oh I should swerve … Too late.. Bang!
The asshole rode away without even apologizing while I was left dusting myself off. When the light turned green, I made me way across he street except j didn’t, the chain had come off. Fuckety fuck.
I have to walk this entire way back? It’s an hour long walk! I had incecream for lunch, I have a late dinner and a 4 am flight to Ushuaia … My whole life was unraveling with this one stupid fucking chain. I yanked at it and got grease on my hands and everywhere. I didn’t even know where the damn flower was anymore. I yanked again and finally got it on again. I asked for directions and decided to walk the bike through the park for a while.
That’s when the Mosquitos came. Buenos aires Mosquitos are monsters! I tried to squat them and was left with huge splotches of blood on my arms. What I didn’t realize until two days later was they had chewed every square inch of my legs and hands at the park and at the cemetery.
When I finally made it to the flower, I felt too tired and gross to enter the university area. People were staring at me – blood on my arms, grease on my hands, dirt and grease stained jeans…fucking gross. I wanted to teleport myself straight into a bathtub.
Across the flower, I saw some very cool scrap metal sculptures and indeed it was a beautiful sunny day so I was inspired to try my luck again. I prayed to all my gods that the lights would be in my favour (and they were for a bit).
The chain came off twice again after that just in case my hands were not dirty enough already, oh and th ads of my jeans have grease too cause I had tried to rub the grease on the bike seat. Still I pushed on and finally made it home. The nice man in the elevator told me hot water was the best way to get rid of grease. And he was right.
So yeah I guess it could have gone much worse. I didn’t get run over but that was still the worst ride of my life. I ended up napping for a couple of hours afterwards, woke up exhausted with a throbbing headache and then ate some horrible ravioli with tomato purée (may say holiday meant restaurants were closed ). It was all much too much and I ended up crying to Ike because I had felt so frightened from the whole fucking ordeal and I didn’t understand why I had put myself through it. My night was redeemed only when I met Van and Fa for a lovely tenedor libre dinner in Puerto Madera. Friends and good food – the cure for everything.
P.S. I still have massive itchy scabs on my arms and legs, ten days after the bites took place so god knows what kind of weirdo mutant mosquitos they have in Buenos Aires. (I kid you not, some of them are bright green in colour).
P.P.S. My Argentinian abuela in Bariloche did my laundry for me and I don’t know how but she fixed my jeans. Aside from one small grease stain, they look almost as good as new. Grandmas are the best!