After arriving at Choele Choel, an Argentine town, Ernesto gets the flu and has to stay in the hospital for several days. Even in this unfamiliar city, he is able to obtain good medical care from a kind doctor who personally supervises his treatment. Although it’s an inconvenience, Ernesto sees this experience as evidence that he’s roughing it and having a real adventure.
Ernesto experiences health problems, but because he has some medical knowledge and is able to pay for healthcare, they don’t seriously hinder his trip. At this point, Ernesto doesn’t think about access to healthcare as a serious issue—in fact, he sees his suffering as proof of his distance from his bourgeois life, rather than realizing that his access to care is evidence of his privilege.
As soon as the doctor gives his permission, Ernesto and Alberto depart, but La Poderosa quickly suffers several breakdowns. Ernesto and Alberto have to find people to fix the bike and to put them up for the night, and they befriend locals from all walks of life. Ernesto is equally comfortable with and fascinated by the life of the mechanic who fixes the bike, the ranching family who gives him shelter, and the farm laborers they employ.
As open-minded young men, Ernesto and Alberto prove themselves at ease among many different kinds of people. Their interactions and friendships aren’t limited by their bourgeois class background. This is the first real evidence that Ernesto is capable of transcending his upbringing and belonging among people who are different than him.