New Year argentinian style

Trip Start Sep 2005
Trip End Sep 2006

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

I decided to fish and camp my way down to Trevellin, and hopefully get there for the new year. But first things first. Now that I had a rod again there was a great spot just about 2 hours away from Bariloche which had loads of trout. When I finally arrived at the "hostel" there I was informed by a couple of new-agers that there was no water. They must have been loving it. For 1 night I reckoned this was not a problem. Next morning I went round to the bridge and after about 10 minutes got a nice big fat trout, probably the biggest I've had yet.

So I packed up my gear and headed for the next hostel at Lago Steffen. After going down about 20km down a really bad road I had to admit defeat 1 km from the hostel because of a river across the road that looked a bit too fast for my wee car. Luckily there was a sign to another campsite and another dodgy road to follow. Eventually this led to a field with a load of cows and last, the campsite. There was just me and the creatures, and it was on a river bank, so you could say that at least this place had running water. As it turned out it was really beautiful, and had excellent fishing right outside my front door. Plus you could cook on an open fire with an endless supply of firewood around you. What more could you ask for apart from double quilted docken leaves? The fishing really was superb. There were several boats pulled up with tourists on board who were paying 200 US dollars a day to fish the same spot! So I decided to stay a second night.

New Year's Eve was always going to be difficult when you don't know the lie of the land. It's hard enough trying to organise a good one in Belfast. But this time my lucky stars were shining. I had intended to stay in Trevellin where there was an Irish community. (I'd even sent my Antrim top to the Laundrette). As it turned out the so-called Irish community was Welsh. I suppose we're all the same to Argentinians, speak funny english, kick their asses at rugby, and are crap at football. It turned out Trevellin was desperate quiet, more of a "tea-and-a-slice-of-cake" town than a "queueing-up-from-midday-outside-the-pub" town.

So I headed out to the lakes in Los Alerces National Park instead. I should have known I was going to be lucky when I set my tent up. I was doing the roly-poly test, (where you lie down on your tent before you put any poles up, and roll over it to see if there's any lumps or bumps) when a bird shat on my window, within splashing distance of my face. Now there's a sign of good luck if ever I felt one. I'd a bit of time to kill before I bar-b-ed up my steak so I set my rod up to fish the lake shore in front of my tent. Bang, first cast I caught a keeper. This was in front of a crowd of bikini clad ladies. If Carlsberg made campsites.........

One of the husbands of the ladies came over, had a chinwag and invited me out on his boat the next morning. We got on really well, hit a few fish, and I was invited to join them for the next few days, pretty much as part of the family. I now have 3 new brothers, and a sister, a fifty five yr old father and a very glamorous granny surrogate mother, who likes to go fishing in her bikini! I don't know why they needed a baldy 38 yr-old son, but I wasn't complaining. Their motorhome was my house. I had 24 hour access to whatever I wanted. Breakfast in bed with the daughter, if she was there. On the first night as guest of honour I had the happy task of carving up the bar-b-qed lamb. Needless to say I hadn't a clue, but it was absolutely delicious, if I say so myself! I liked my new family very much.

On New Years Eve we went fishing together again, bar-b-qed another lamb (one of his sons, Juan Simon, worked on a ranch) and drank in the New Year with more wine and lots of champers, hugs and cheek to cheek kisses. It was a really nice way to spend New Year, even though noone threw up, the toilet floors weren't covered in piss, there were no fights, there were no girls crying, no girls lying on the floor in their own pee.....Despite all this it was still a good night. New Years eve Argentian style. Maybe I've just been going to the wrong pubs.
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