When Rachel's little brother decides to visit Argentina whilst you are travelling the country, then you have to turn up - even if it means a 2,000 km drive in a few days.
Matt was flying in to support the Ozone Kites distributors at Kitefest Argentina, catch up with Ozone Rider Ruben Lenton and have a good time into the bargain.
We set off from Peninsula Valdez for the long slog north and east.
A few days later, just outside San Juan, we passed a cyclist on a fully laden touring bike. He waved and I waved back. We decided to stop to say hello and offer him a cold drink or some fruit, figuring he was probably from the UK - it was cooking hot and slightly mad conditions for cycling. Well we were right, it turned out it was Steve Boyd, a friend we had made at Christmas in El Chaltén. I think he was fairly pleased to see us and we ended up with a travel companion in the back of the van for the rest of the journey - it would have been a horrible desert ride on a bike. It got darker as we climbed through a canyon toward Rodeo, the road rough and winding. We arrived at Rodeo and found a campsite by the lake.
The next morning we found the Kitefest site and the first person we saw was Dany, a fellow kiter we had first met in Colombia. We found a spot overlooking the lake to camp for the next five nights - other campers wandering off into the undergrowth with toilet paper didn't bode well. Thankfully, with Festy set-ups come portable loos - just in time for our arrival.
Cutting this long story short - we kited, Matthew arrived, we drank beer, met and hung out with some awesome people, and another friend Thomas arrived (camper van-less) to celebrate his 40th. The guys from Windtoys (Ozone Argentina) - Tortuga (Lisandro), Topo (Federico) & Nacho, who from minute one, made every effort to make sure we enjoyed ourselves....some days later this involved being dragged (sort of) into the dancing Festy crowd, front of stage (been a while) following a few too many beers.....brilliant.
Over the days of the event we got to meet and hang out (briefly) with Kite Professionals and Legends, Ruben Lenten, Nick Jacobsen, Tom Hebert, Rita Arnaus and Angelly Bouillot - all great fun and easy going. Their displays out on the lake were fantastic. We also got to meet Adrian and Paula, windsurfers who we hope to catch up with later this year in northern Brazil. Paula was indefatigable taking some great photos of the event, which she has kindly allowed us to use - thanks Paula
After the festival, we drove south, stopping briefly to drop our Swiss friend Thomas at his 'sickly' camper van just north of San Juan. We then continued to San Juan with Rachel and Matt keen to do some wine tasting at the local vineyards.
The following day, after winery tours, it was time to drop Matt at the airport in Mendoza. Great catching up and as always, never a dull moment when Matt is around.
Time to recover and head back to the Atlantic side...