Bienvenidos a Bariloche, Argentina to me! I made it and the journey was good.
I seriously could not be here right now because I just about missed the bus this morning. It wasn't because I didn't wake up on time or get to the bus station on time, it was because I couldn't find my bus! I kept walking up and down the place looking for the bus that said "Bariloche". I knew the bus company, but I didn't recognize it. Unlike the US, the buses in South America are popular and there are many companies. So put those two things together and you will see the problem I ran into. If it wasn't for an old man (thank goodness for helpful old men on my trips!) flagging down my bus as it was leaving the bus station (yes it was driving out), I would of missed it. Thank goodness I asked for help when I did!
Most of the ride I listened to music (Gillian Welch, Justine Townes Earle, and Rosanne Cash). For awhile I was watching the Latin music videos they had up, but they just made me laugh. All the songs were about unrequited love and the singers danced and motioned like the backstreet boys like pointing into the sky as they sing, tugging on their shirt, and motioning their hands over their heart. Too cliche for my taste, yet entertaining enough to occupy some of my time!
On the bus we were served hot tea or Nescafe. Chileans drink terrible coffee. I couldn't bring myself to drink instant coffee, so I had tea, which was nice. Actually, I don't know what is worse, instant coffee or the powder creamer. I met a guy at a coffee shop in Valdivia who heard me talking about grinding beans and asked if I had brought my own from the US because coffee is so bad in Chile. I said no of course, but that would of been a great idea! Even a couple packets of Starbucks Via (decent instant coffee on backpacks) would of been smart.
The scenery was lovely. We drove through farming country. I saw cows, sheep, and raspberry fields. I saw big freshwater lakes and mountains. The summer landscape was lush, green, and full! As we began climbing the mountains, conditions started to get very hazy because of ash in the air from an erupting volcano. In fact, by the time we got to the summit of the pass, big piles of ash appeared on the side of the road from trucks clearing it off the road. Trees were coated and didn't look green anymore. Many of the trees looked like they had died, they lost all their leaves. But it was still pretty.
The bus had to stop twice. Once so everyone could go through immigration on the way out of Chile and one time again over the pass to enter into Argentina. It was a fairly easy process and it was sort of nice to break up the seven hour trip with a couple of stops. I met a couple from Oregon. The bus was a double decker bus and they had been sitting on the top level (same as me) but in the very front. They had a nice view during the drive straight out the front window. The first thing they said to me was, "You almost missed the bus!".
There are so many tourists in Bariloche right now as compared to when I was here last winter (our summer). This evening I took a walk and it was fun to hear everyone speaking in Spanish, English, German, etc. It got me thinking about the world and how we are all so different, yet really the same. At one of the bus stations we stopped at today, a whole family gathered to see someone off on the bus. Grandparents, kids, parents, children, grandchildren, they all waved us off. I was so happy to see such a loving family (with all generations). I think also of the people I met in Chaihuin, at the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, who are living with very modest means, but are rich in community and in the marine resources around them (delicious seafood every meal!). When it comes down to it, our lives and customs are different, but what we want is the same; a happy home, loving family and friends, and enough to meet our needs.
The photo in this blogpost was taken at my hosteria. Flowers are in full bloom at the entrance to this quaint Austrian style house on the hill.