Che Guevara: The Motorcycle Diaries

dear mama

January 1952
En route to Bariloche

Dear Mama,

Just as you have not heard from me, I’ve had no news from you and I’m worried. It would defeat the purpose of these few lines to tell you all that has happened to us; I’ll just say that two days after leaving Bahía Blanca I fell ill with a temperature of 40 degrees which kept me in bed for a day. The following morning I managed to get up only to end up in the Choele Choel regional hospital where I was given a dose of a little-known drug, penicillin, and recovered four days later…

We reached San Martín de los Andes, using our usual resourcefulness to solve the thousand problems that plagued us along the way. San Martín de los Andes has a beautiful lake and is wonderfully set amid virgin forest. You must see it, I’m sure you’d find it worthwhile. Our faces are beginning to resemble the texture of Carborundum. Any house we come across that has a garden, we seek food, lodging and whatever else is on offer. We ended up at the Von Putnamers’ ranch, they’re friends of Jorge’s, particularly one who’s a Peronist, always drunk, and the best of the three. I was able to diagnose a tumor in the occipital zone that was probably of hydatic origin. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. We will leave for Bariloche in two or three days and intend to travel at a leisurely pace. Send me a letter poste restante if it can arrive by February 10 or 12. Well, Mama, the next page I’m writing is for Chichina. Send lots of love to everyone and make sure you tell me whether or not Papi is in the south.

A loving hug from your son.

Copyright: © 2005 Aleida March, Che Guevara Studies Center and Ocean Press. Reprinted with their permission. Not to be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Ocean Press. For further information contact Ocean Press at and via its website at