Getting my gear together

Trip Start Sep 2005
Trip End Sep 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Monday, December 12, 2005

I'm still a bit like a headless chicken here. But finally making progress with the plans. Tomorrow I pick up a car and head up to Junin de Los Andes to start fishing. I ended up having to come to Bariloche to get a good deal on a rental. So I'll pick up some sort of 3 door hatchback, depending on how it works out. I've also bought a house. Well a 2 person tent, which was also cheaper in Bariloche. There's so many car-rentals and camping shops that the prices are very competitive. Also the season hasn't quite kicked off yet so there's some great deals if you bargain hard. I might stock up on a few other essentials that might come in handy as I go farther south, and the towns become more scarce. Gas oven, portable fan, cappucino maker, etc.

I still haven't gone fishing, but maņana hopefully. The problem is that most of the spots just aren't accessable without wheels. I'm still not bumping into many backpackers, which is no bad thing. Probably round Christmas and the New Year I'll kip down in a hostel somewhere and see what happens. I really don't know if I'm likely to bump into anyone who's likely to want to go to the same places that I'll be headed though. Wherever that might be. But you never know.

Bariloche is really beautiful. It's on a big lake at the foot of a snow capped mountain range. Very picturesque, and very swiss. It's a dangerous place for a lady to travel on her own, as it's full of home-made chocolate shops, where you pay by the kilo. The white chocolate flake covered in milk chocolate is particularly fine. Even me, without a sweet tooth in my head, can't resist a half kilo in the afternoon. Despite all it's promise the nightlife is crap, so like I say, my festive plans are up in the air.

There's three Irish pubs in town, the most popular of which is the Wilkenny. Yes, spelt with a W. W for weally weally quiet. Actually, they were all really quiet even at 11, so I had a pint in "The South" and annoyed the barman for a while. He had good english and no other customers so we had a good chat til the bar started to get lively, which was about 1. That's just the way they go drinking here. The bars then stay open till the last customer leaves. Not a bad system. It has it's merits.

We talked about, politics, the financial collapse of argentina, football, the works. He thought the Argentenian football was the most passionate. It's a close call between them and Brazil. I watched a match the other day and a player who was red-carded had to be taken off by the 6 riot police under their shields. I also so a linesman rolling round the ground, who had to be stretchered off. There's no denying their passion. Their politics I knew. But they dislike others in a more subtle way than the other latinamerican countries. Take north americans. In Peru I saw buses painted with Osama Bin Laden and Che Guivarra (who is the South American equivalent of St Patrick) standing holding hands and firing off a few rounds. In Bolivia, the favorite to win December the elections uses the catchy election slogan "let the coca live, and the yankees die". While some of the Argy's don't like north americans, they don't seem THAT fanatical about it. Needless to say they're not mad on England, but they don't jump down your throat to find out if you're English or not. When Maggie Thatcher was admitted to hospital the newspapers ran some great stories on her. You'd have thought it was Hitlers sister. All they talked about was the Coalminers strike, the Hunger strike, the Falklands war, and of course the sinking of the Belgrano which "she personally gave the orders" for sinking. They put the number of english they'd killed a fair bit higher than I'd previously been led to believe by the english media.

On Sunday I came across a very rare animal, an english speaking backpacker. It was at a restaurant with a panoramic view of the lake, snow capped mountains, spring sunshine, temperature just right. Not too hot, not too cold. I'd just had a great meal of Bambi stew washed down with the local vino tinto. Myself and herself nattered the afternoon away, exchanging stories, comparing notes, having a proper backbacking chinwag. All in all it was a very pleasant affair.

Then in the evening there was a civic tango concert as the sun was setting. I'm quite partical to a bit of tango music. It's very happy, sweet and romantic in a foot-tapping kind of way, and goes down very well if you've had a few glasses of wine beforehand. It was all very cultured and civilised. There was the obligatory singer of the amateur operatic brigade. Two top class dancers, who were contestants for the world tango championships. (A title which I believe is currently held by an Argentinian couple.) It was staged in the town square which is very pretty, which looks very like a swiss village. There was a fair-sized crowd, and many of them started to join in. Young couples, old couples, mixed generation couples all worked their way around the square in tango steps. It was great to see and not a drop of liquor in sight. I felt a bit awkard standing there in the front row with my 24 pack. Doing my wino shuffle. "All right boss".
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