San Martin de los Andes & San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina — October, 2014
After hiking to a mountaintop and having a pizza party with newfound French and Argentine friends, we extend for another day of bliss before heading to Bariloche.
After having a breakfast of unused pizza dough from the night before, my Spanish friend and I decided to stay another day. Our original plan was to spend one day in San Martin and two in Bariloche before parting ways (me to Peru, him further south before returning home), but the previous night was so good that we decided to stay another night in San Martin and cut the Bariloche journey short. The problem was that we had only arranged for one night. We asked our jovial host if we could stay another night. He told us the apartment was full for that night already… but why not? We ended up sleeping with 10 people in a cramped two bedroom apartment that night.
Having taken care of accommodations, we went to the apartment of a newfound friend. We went with her and her friend out to a campground well outside of town to explore more. The entire area was impossibly beautiful. After an hour there, we walked back to the city along a highway carved on the side of a mountain and ended up again on the beach of the lake. The beautiful, beautiful lake.
There we hung out for a couple of hours, enjoying the weather, soaking in the amazing view, and watching stray dogs harass happy couples on the beach. Life was good.
That night ended up being a letdown from the night before. It was fun again of course, but it was a different group and lacked the chemistry of the night before. The next morning, we were invited to a friend’s house to share breakfast before we left. She went to culinary school and worked at one of the nicer restaurants in town. We had burnt toast. It was both great to see everyone one last time and very depressing to think that I will probably never see them again.
We then headed out to hitchhike to Bariloche. The girls told us that it would be easy. Not so. Two exhausted white guys who have been on the road indefinitely have a tougher time finding a ride in South America than a svelte Brasileira, believe it or not. After standing near the highway entrance for roughly 30 minutes and getting no attention, we decided that my Spanish friend would stand alone and do the talking, with me standing around a bend up the road. The logic was that they would be more likely to pick up one person than two. I personally think that picking up a hitchhiker hiding behind a bush around a bend is much more dicey than just picking up two people, but it worked and after a bit we were in a camper van with two hippies heading towards Bariloche.
This ended poorly, as we went only about a quarter of the way to Bariloche before they had to turn off. We were left at a fork in the highway, nearby exactly nothing as the afternoon was rapidly passing. At least earlier we were near the city and could have walked back if there were issues. We waited for roughly two hours, amusing ourselves by throwing rocks at a sign and seeing who was more accurate (him), with me hiding behind a small bridge when we heard a car approaching. It worked again somehow and we rode with a travelling family until reaching Bariloche. Oddly enough, we were passed by tons of vehicles with empty back seats, but the family who took a chance with us had a full car and had to get creative to fit us all in.
We ended up in Bariloche before dusk and headed to the hotel we would be couchsurfing at. The couple ran the hotel, but apparently get bored and host couchsurfers in unused hotel rooms when they come through. l kept expecting that they would ask us to pay for the room, but the moment never came.
The night was uneventful minus a parrot biting me surprisingly hard, which was becoming a very peculiar pattern for me. Karma struck later as the parrot fell off of its perch while sleeping, waking up to the loud thud of himself hitting the floor. I don’t know if his bird brain has the capacity to realize that I was laughing at his misfortune, but I sure hope so.
Well, I could do a bit more about that night and the next morning, but nothing overly momentous happened and this is already two parts long. After walking to the bus station, I bid adieu to my Spanish friend and was on my way to Peru.