Thursday, January 17, 2008

An Andes Adventure

It is 9pm in El Bolson, the hippie capitol of Argentina, and the internet cafe is packed. Spanish rock is drifting in from the live band in the plaza down the street. Sarah and I have just come from there where we munched on beef sandwiches and waffles as we watched the commotion at the police station across the street. The police station looks like all of the other plaster houses in this small town expcept for its light blue paint and small "policia" sign above the door. A large crowd of hippies, trekkers, and local teens on bikes crowded in the yard, spilling out on the street. They clapped in unison and chanted in Spanish. All Sarah and I could make out was "no manana" (not tomorrow). Every once in a while a man with dreadlocks would squeeze out the crammed door and announce something to the cheer of the crowd. Neither of us had a clue what was going on, so we strolled around the park instead. About an hour later a huge cheer came from the police station and the crowd marched around the plaze joyously and then dispersed. It is times like these when I am anxious to improve my Spanish. (A note for my Mom: I was a safe distance from the crowd, and at no risk. Love you).

Monday we took the night bus from Puerto Madryn to Bariloche (vacation capitol of Argentina located in the Andes). The highlight of the trip was seeing Orion, upsidedown, doing a cartwheel in the sky as we crossed the dark pampas. Bariloche is known for its unbeatable vistas, and unbeatable chocolate. It did not dissapoint. Mariana had given us the inside scoop of where to go for the best of the best chocolate. It is the first time in my life that I have not wanted to put down milk chocolate, and I can´t even discribe the dark chocolate. Wow. We took a bus to Isla Victoria and a nearby National Park on a penninsula (I can´t remember the name at the moment). The Island has a thick forest of unique trees on it and was lovely. The penninsula boasts cave paintings and pudu deer. I was incredibly excited to see the pudu deer, because I learned about them in my mammalogy class last semester. They are about the size of a medium dog and have fangs. Deer have never been this cool. Unfortunetly, all we saw was pudu doo.

My tent has now been pitched in the Andes, which makes me happy. Campgrounds here are big mown fields and you pitch your tent anywhere. It is a very cheap lodging option. The only problem is that they are all located a fair distance from the towns; and the busses feel more like Disneyland rollarcoasters than public transportation as they zip around the windy roads with only standing room inside.

Goodnight to all! Thanks for reading. I enjoy reading everyones comments. I love you all so much!

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