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no unaccompanied women

Bomberos, that unexpected haven of hospitality which holds out to a travelling cyclist the tantalising hope of a hot shower and a dry place to sleep after a long day on the road is barred – at least in some cases – to that most dangerous of creatures, the unaccompanied woman.

Men? Sure. A woman under the supervision and care of a man? Of course. Why ever not? But a woman alone? Well, no. That’s a different matter.

It’s kind of churlish to complain, since the fact that the bomberos of Latin America offer hospitality to travelling cyclists at all is something of a miracle and a gratuitous kindness. Still, it irks. I have previously suspected that the high rate of refusals I get at bomberos is due to my perilous nature as a loose (as in unattached) woman but it is in Rocha that my suspicions are unequivocally confirmed.

The bomberos of Rocha, Uruguay, proudly relate to me how they regularly provide hospitality to travelling cyclists. Just not if you happen to be a woman, alone.

{ 5 } Comments

  1. TJC | August 28, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Having spent most of my life as a macho man who would have totally self-destructed by now were it not for the care and supervision of various women, I find your situation with those bomberos ludicrous. But hey, when in Rome…

  2. Stu | August 29, 2014 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Sometimes these aren’t blatant sexism, if it is a male tended and male run establishment their religious / moral view may say its inappropriate. I don’t agree, i think everyone should be free to choose what situations they will put themselves in male or female, but it may be more an attempt to do what right/ proper that targeted in malice

  3. anna | August 29, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I guess I wouldn’t have been so irked if it was a no women at all policy but the it was the fact that women are, in fact, welcome when in the company of a man. The young lad who I was talking to about it, who was pretty apologetic overall, said, and I think he was more than half serious, “Can’t you go and find a companion?” – as in couldn’t I just ride off, find some willing guy and come back with him in tow. I vetoed that suggestion.

    But never mind. And I did, I should mention, stay with the bomberos on the other side of Uruguay and they were fabulously welcoming.

  4. Nicky Coles | September 2, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Hi Anna This the first time I’ve made time to read your blog in several months. It’s so rewarding that I wonder why I don’t do it more often. Julie was visiting for a family picnic by the river with Jenny and Keith and one or more representatives from each branch of the immediate Wilson family – in fact two generations of them: 24 of us all told. I think it’s getting more relaxed and enjoyable as the tradition develops. We’re really quite a normal family after all! There were also a few ring-ins – one of whom was meant to be Jodie so that Julie could meet her, but she was sick and had to call off. Jodie stayed here with me for two weeks between accommodation – quite the easiest housemate as she is light of touch, busy with her own life and likes to retire to her room with a book. I enjoyed having her.

    I am amazed at what you cope with on your bike on your own in such terrain. I feel cold just looking at some of the photos and wonder how you keep warm enough to sleep in your little tent. Also wonder how you carry all that gear over mountain ranges. It’s a good thing you have a rich vocabulary in Spanish (as well as in Portuguese, no doubt) to fend of the occasional bandit. I hope you continue to be lucky as well as brave and canny.

    The blog is great. I love the photos and the brief, pointed and often witty captions. I’m sure it’s worth publishing in one form or another.

  5. Nicky Coles | September 2, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    I whizzed through it again with my grandson Olie (now 13) who was very interested – probably helped by the fact that there wasn’t much to read. I’ll try the other three younger ones(Portia Remy and Rollo). Olie and Portia are now at high school.

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