Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 23 seconds.
When we met the three friends they did not immediately tell us about the bottle. They did mention the two oceans but no reference to the bottle. That would only come much later. There was something rebel about it and they were not sure that they could trust us to tell us their tale.
The three friends were three old Argentinian motor bikers and we met them at an unofficial border between Chile and Argentina. We stopped in a pass with a huge sign welcoming us (or farewelling us) in Chile depending on the direction we were coming from. We stopped for the official photo. A few minutes later they arrived and as usual among bikers, we exchanged compliments (about the bikes, what else!) and road experiences. They were coming from Viedma, Argentina and were on a week trip to Valdivia, Chile. Their idea was to drive from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast and back.
I don’t exactly remember when we first heard about the bottle. I think we raised the subject of the small luggage they carried and they laughed and told us they did not need to carry much and that anyway the most important thing that they were carrying did not need much space. We waited for further clarification but nothing came. After a silence that was becoming embarrassing we changed the subject and probably ended up talking about the weather or the kind.
We decided to drive together until the official border where again we had the chance to spend some time together since there was a long queue to enter Chile. We started opening our luggage in search of food, we knew from previous border crossings that Chilean officials were very strict about this and we ate with them the rest of our cookies that we had to get rid of before the control. They accepted the cookies and we felt a growing anxiety amongst them. It was hardly perceptible, it is true, and it was most visible in the oldest of them who could not stand still and kept looking at the officials doing their job.
Could it be that they had something to hide? Could it be that the most important thing that they were carrying and that did not take much space was not only small but also illegal?
Finally the official came to them. Anything to declare? My knees started trembling and my blood dropped to my feet bleaching my face. I imagined that these friendly guys were most likely ending the day in prison! He opened his expert eyes, searched around and found nothing suspicious. A couple of nervous smiles indicated relief (from the bikers, not the official). We knew they were hiding something…
We crossed the border together and stopped some kilometres afterwards to follow different directions and say goodbye. And that was the moment when they disclosed the entire mystery to us.
They were carrying with them a bottle, a regular plastic bottle of 50 cl filled with water. But not just any kind of tap water. It was a bottle that they had filled with sea water at the Atlantic Ocean and they wanted to pour it into the Pacific. They intended to bring that same bottle filled with Pacific water to pour into the Atlantic.
This was the story of the three friends, two oceans and one bottle. We are tempted to stop the tale here. Let the reader imagine on his own why these musketeers were on such a peculiar mission. But if there is a reader out there, he is certain to be a demanding one. And so the story goes that these rebels in their hearts wanted to secretly mix the oceans, clear them from a state of purity. Contaminate one ocean with the other by offering a tad of the wild Atlantic to the Pacific while bringing the temper of the Pacific to add to the Atlantic.
If they accomplished their mission, we cannot tell. If they did, then what they did was literally just a drop in the Ocean. And that’s the end of that!
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