Sunday, January 22, 2012

Settling In

Lightning is rolling in as I write tonight. I can see it flashing in the night sky from my room! Last night I woke up several times because of lightning and heavy rain. I love lightning and thunder! During the day it has been really sunny and warm, but the afternoon brings this unstable weather. I am glad it is raining (at night) because it clears the air of ash. I had wonderful clear views when I walked to mass this morning along the lake! Isn't the lake in the above picture a gorgeous shade of blue!?

Today was largely a recovery day from the busy week and the travel day yesterday. Days like this are important. So, what did I do to fill my time since I arrived? Yesterday after I checked in (and took a nap), I was set on getting to the basics. I had to get cash because I did not have Argentinean pesos. After doing that, I know have three currencies in my wallet. I found out from my last trip back in September that is important to carry US money in case I run out of the local currency, or if there isn't an ATM around. Also, many currency exchange businesses only take cash. I withdrew 200 pesos from the ATM when I went to the bank in downtown Bariloche, which is around $50 US dollars. I could always get more, but I will mostly be using my credit card to buy meals and gifts. But to buy empanadas (little pastries filled with meat and cheese) at the store down the street, using a credit card would just be silly. They are only 5 pesos each!

I also stopped at the grocery store to buy water, soda, and snacks so I could have a few things in my room in case I got thirsty or hungry. After that, I came back to my room and watched episodes of the Daily Show and Stephen Colbert! Does that mean I am getting homesick already!?

Today I went to a Spanish mass in the cathedral by the lake. It was a beautiful setting. When the Priest said the Creed and the Our Father, I prayed in English. The rest of the time I prayed that whatever the Priest and church community were saying and praying, would also apply to me, even if I had no idea I would know it. It felt good being at a mass knowing everywhere else in the world Catholics were saying these prayers together and reading these same readings.

After mass I strolled down the main street in Bariloche window shopping. The stores downtown really know how to set up a window display. Every product they sell is practically in view and each one has a price tag. So you really can wonder and look at what you want to buy and think about it before ever walking in! I had my eye on a pair of leather boots that I may be coming back for later in the week.

This afternoon I met with the people that I will be doing field work with this week. Tomorrow we drive 100 kilometers east to the open shrub steppe landscape this region of Argentina is known for. The reason why it is going to take us several hours to get there is because it is mostly on dirt roads! The shrub and grasslands are where the sheep and cattle roam the wide open range of Patagonia! I'll be bringing my camera, so I will have plenty of pictures to share with you come Wednesday! Until then, my blog will be pretty quiet. Looking forward to sharing with you again this next adventure!

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