Chocolate and Ash

Trip Start Sep 30, 2011
Trip End Dec 13, 2011

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Cuadrante Sur Kayak
Tourista Candy Store

Flag of Argentina  ,
Friday, October 7, 2011

    Twenty-eight...that's the number of hours we spent in a bus to get from Patagonia to Bariloche.  We discovered that the vast majority (and it is vast) of Argentina is a dry desert, inhabited by a few animals and even fewer humans.  
    We had already been on a few 15-20 hour bus rides and they weren't too bad.  The double decker luxury buses serve hot meals (although you can't always determine the origin of the meat) and with cama seats that lay all the way down, the bus rides can be pretty nice.  However, after 28 hours looking at the same dry scenery and 10 hours watching gory, depressing, Spanish war movies we were more than ready relax in the mountain town of Bariloche.
       However, when we got into town we found out that congress in Bariloche was sponsoring a women's rights movement and every hostel, hotel and patch of grass in the city was inhabited.  Thankfully, a lady at Achalay Hostel made a few phone calls and got us a room at Hostel Inn.  Turns out the folks there are fabulous.  Jessie and I stayed for three nights in Bariloche (partially due to our lack of enthusiasm about getting back on a bus but also because there were 11,000 other women trying to leave Bariloche at the same time).
        Our richest discovery in Bariloche was the candy.  The city is known for it's sweets (yes, I know we had sworn off candies, but these were too good to pass up), they offer everything from hand made chocolate candies to champagne berry ice cream.  Those women activists sure have it figured out...why not combine activism with some good old candy consumption.  By the end of our visit the folks at the local ice cream parlor were able to recognize us.  Maybe a little embarassing.
        To counteract our colossal consumption of sugar, Jessie and I went on a kayaking excursion on Gutierrez Lake.  We met some great people and enjoyed the beauty of the land.  We were quite shocked to discover that Bariloche and the surrounding mountains are still heavily impacted by ash from the Puyehue volcanic eruption last June.  The roads leaving Bariloche literally have piles of ash along them.  In some areas the mountainsides are completely white from the substance.   
    After a few days of ash relentlessly blowing into our ice cream cones we decided it was time to move on.  We boarded a night bus (only 16 hours this time) heading north to Mendoza.  Next stop wine country!!!
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