So, finally, I have returned. I know that I promised that I would continue my sagas this morning but for some unknown reason, my alarm clock a.k.a. my blackberry went back an hour. If anyone can explain this to me please do, but because of this I woke up an hour late and had exactly one hour to get dressed, pack my stuff, eat breakfast, brush my teeth and get basically halfway across BA. I panicked and started freaking and inhaled a bowl of granola. Ana made me some fresh squeezed orange juice and washed my dishes. Somehow, I was only five minutes late.
Anyways, back to Bariloche, which was amazing.
On Thursday, Ami and Greg and Lindsay and I (from here on, we will be known as "we") had tickets to go to Bariloche. We had chosen a company called "Rapido Argentino" based solely on the fact that is was cheapest. We went with the cheap seats that don't recline quite as far and have about 6 inches less room in the seats, also based on money. We were to leave at 4oclock on Thursday and arrive in Bariloche at 11:35 Friday morning. Bariloche is in the lake district of Argentina which also is in the Andes and sometimes overlaps with what is known as Patagonia.
Anyways, we had everything planned. Ami and I would share a taxi from her house and Greg and Lindsay would share a taxi from his. I was to get some food on the way there, some fruit and a kiosco sandwich and I already had some granola (quaker oats natural granola, if any of you had any doubts). We hopped a taxi ("the taxi door was open wide", points of love for anyone who can identify this?) and went to the terminal de omnibus. We finally figured out how to read the ticket and then got asked for directions by some Australians. I think they picked us because we spoke English, happy. Anyways, we met up with the others and were confused by south america's system of everything as often happens. We finally got on the bus. We chilled. I ate my sandwich, got food poisoning and almost died (this last clause is a slight exaggeration) but it was pretty miserable anyways. They showed The Guardian with Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner and Funny People and Avatar dubbed in Spanish. I took a muscle relaxant and a melatonin and like three motion sickness pills and slept as much as I possibly could. It hit 11:35 in the morning and we were still 4 hours from Bariloche. We were starting to see signs of the Andes but as I may be stating the obvious, the Rapido Argentino was not rapido.
We checked into our hostel which was on the top floor of a building in the middle of town. It is called Hostel 1004 and it was gorgeous. We shared a room and were right next to the bathroom. They let us borrow towels and let us rent locks. We asked the lady if there was anywhere we could still go since we had arrived so late. She told us to get a bus to some place called Campinario. We first went to reserve our rafting spot for the next day and then went to the bank. I got some gatorade and some granola from a kiosco, as I was still recovering and a bit weak. We got on the bus and rode for way longer than we expected, it was about 10 miles out. We got there, didn't know where to go and followed the other tourists. We attempted to climb this mountain and eventually made it. But somewhere between being completely exhausted and dehydrated from being on a bus for 24 hours and my having had food poisoning and Ami, who it would turn out would be sick tomorrow, it took a while. We stopped a lot, also I have asthma, that doesn't help. We also had a doggy friend helping lead us to the top. We make lots of doggy friends because there are more strays in Argentina than pretty much the whole rest of the world. When we made it to the top, it was so worth it, I mean so worth it. I will post pictures tonight to go along with it, but oh my lord, this is natural beauty. I want to live there. We climbed down the mountain, made it back to our hostel. We went out to eat and at some point had had intentions of attending the wine party in the hostel, to make friends and such. We all basically slept through dinner, there was no way we were staying up for wine and we had to be up early for rafting. We showered and were gone.
Day two in Bariloche. We wake up and eat breakfast at the hostel, although we know we will get a second breakfast with rafting. We went outside, to where the company was going to pick us up. When the van got there, I got on and sat down in the front row. There was already a person there, there were about 6 people on the bus. I said hi, and quickly found out that four of our companions were Australian. Hell yes. I made a friend, his name is Daniel. We chatted for a bit on our two hour ride to the place where we would get our gear and then head to the river. It was mostly me talking, he talked back, but he's not as talkative as I am, imagine. We got to the camp. They fed us our second breakfast, I ate three medialunas and drank a really bad cup of coffee. We put on wetsuits, booties, jackets, lifejackets and helmets. We looked awesome, well at least I did. And of course, I acted like I looked like an idiot because it was fun. We got on the bus again and went to the river where we learned what to do and what not to do. We then got in our rafts, I was with Greg and Ami and Howard, who was British and with Daniel and Tom, they're Australian. Woot. We got going and Mariano, our guide, was trying to teach us how to be safe and not crash the raft, we sucked a lot. He would give us commands and every one of us would sit for at least 10 seconds and think about which side was left and which side was right. I just cannot describe to you the epic failure. Our guide started giggling at us. We were doing pretty well and then we hit this one big rapid whose name I cannot remember (although I know all the names were dirty) and we went in sideways. My side of the raft all fell out, Daniel was out and then me behind him and then Ami behind me. I panicked for a second and then found air and then someone yelled swim at me and thank god they did, I had forgotten. I started swimming to the left and was trying desperately not to lose my contacts which were basically floating in my eyes. They pulled us back in the boat and being the masochists that we were, we paddled back into the rapid twice more. Daniel fell out once more and Tom who was across from him pushed him out once. Then we decided to keep going. When we got to the next rapid, our guide told us that we could jump out and swim it. Tom had been dying to jump out, I followed, pulled Daniel out with me. Howard then followed and we coerced Greg out. Ami stayed in the raft. We swam the rapid which was completely awesome. The weather was on our side but the water was like a smack in the face cold. It wasn't really raining, a slight mist occasionally, but we were rafting through the Andes, who cares if there's a mist? It was majestic and beautiful and every single positive attribute I can think of. The water was so clear you could see solidly down for 10-12 feet, it was the cleanest water I've ever seen. The best rafting trip of my life. Anyways, we continued, I got pushed pulled and nudged out of the boat at least three more times that I can remember. We got to the end, sadly, as I could have stayed on that river forever and had to climb a small bit of mountain to make it to the buses. Oh and did I mention we were in Chile at this point? Yes we were, Ben called me a Chilean wetback and proud of my illegal trip, I will tell you I most certainly am. We took pictures, our group forgot to jump and we returned to relatively normal clothing. We rode back to the camp and they fed us the most amazing meal with lots of meat and lots of salad and endless wine. It was delicious. We watched a slideshow of pictures and videos of our awesome rafting skills. And then it was time to head back. We rode the two hours back, all attempting to sleep and all failing. We made plans with our new australian best friends for dinner that night and going out afterwards.
We got back to the hostel and sat, used the internet and sat some more. I put on the most normal clothes I had with me and we went outside to meet the Australians. We went to dinner at some place and had a good time. I accidentally ordered fried empanadas and gave them away while other people gave me their food as charity. It was really quite nice, we sat and chilled. And then when dinner was over, we went to some place and then we left that place and went some other place and then left and went some other place. It was a whole lot of fun. I didn't sleep as much as I should have.
Sunday, we went shopping for chocolate and went by the grocery store for supplies. We stopped, had decent coffee and some medialunas. Greg and I took pictures again. We chilled at the hostel for a bit and then got on the bus, which was on time, thankfully. We went off and Bariloche was very sadly behind us. We watched Invictus and Avatar, this time in 3-d without the glasses but in english and we realized that we'd been watching bootlegs. We arrived in BA only 30 minutes late. Ami and I shared a taxi back and our first trip and the best time I've had since being in Argentina was over.
But that's okay, because it was amazing and I loved it you should go, all of you.
P.S. Now at some point I must catch you up on things since Bariloche, I'm trying to keep up, but it's hard.