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Hello Argentina

San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

Hello from Argentina!

Apologies for not updating the blog for a while.

I´ve been in Argentina a week now. The flight here was absolute paradise. I normally despise flying but the flight was empty so I had 3 seats, a choice of terrible movies and unlimited blankets.

Buenos Aires was a bit of a shock to the system. Its a really big trendy city. It feels a bit like London and the bars and restaurants are gorgeous but I actually felt really claustrophobic because I´ve got used to being outdoors doing stuff. I spent a couple of Days there with a really nice girl called Claire who was also from the UK. We spent our time visiting the sites, drinking red wine, visiting museums, drinking red wine, and talking rubbish. After a couple of days I decided that I needed to get out of BA because it was eating a hole in my bank account and I wanted some greenery.

I booked a bus ticket to Bariloche in Northern Patagonia for the next day so me and Claire decided to go out and celebrate... until 6.30am. My bus left at 13.00. I woke up at 11.50 and paniced. The bus station was all the way over the other side of town and I had no idea where I was going. I packed (stuffed) my bag, but because i didn´t have time to fold I couldn´t fit all my things in so I decided there and then to dump my sleeping bag (mistake no.1) and thermarest matt (mistake no.2). I ran to the metro station and got on the underground to the bus station. When I got to the bus station I was greeted by no less than 250 bus counters (not an exageration) and I had to find which one corresponded with my e-ticket. I finally found the counter and used the only Spanish phrase I´d managed to learn so far "¿Hablar Ingles?" to which he answered no. I spent the next 5 minutes using the power of mime, loud slow english and smiling to communicate. Eventually I established that he needed the credit card I booked with (Tarjeta de credit for future reference). I made it to the platform just in time and boarded the bus. The jouney was 22 hours long, 22 HOURS LONG. Luckily, the buses in Argentina are very comfortable. The seats recline pretty much fully, you get served meals and drinks and you get to watch films that sometimes haven´t been dubbed over in SPanish. Since arriving here I´ve heard about a bus company that do bus bingo in the mornings so i´m going to make it my mission to get on that one next time.

I´m now in Bariloche and I like it a loche (Rausa I´ve completely stolen that from you and use it at every opportunity). Its basically a ski resort so all the buildings look very alpine, there are a million outdoors shop, a load of outdoorys people, far too many chocolate and ice cream shops and a shed load of activites on offer. Since I´ve been here I´ve turned into my mother and spent most of my time walking and cycling. The scenery is out of this world and i find myself walking around with a grin on my face for no reason.

South America has proved quite a challenge so far because I´m predominantly travelling alone and I speak no Spanish. Its normally not a problem travelling in countries where the language isn´t English because the tourist industry is geared caters for English speakers. Here the tourist industry is all aimed at Spanish speakers so its A LOT harder. All the backpackers here also speak at least enough SPanish to get by so I am quite a bit behind.

This week I´ve been attending SPanish school in the mornings to try and pick up some language. Its a complete pain in the A but its definitely worth while. Last night I went to Tango lessons with the other pupils from the school. I used my Jenny Reeds School of Dance (circa 1995) skills to pick up the moves quite quickly. We were then given partners. I was paired up with an overweight Mexican with sweaty hands and two left feet. Brilliant. We got the hang of it eventually but by this point I wanted to get out of there because the Mexican seemed to be having too much fun.

I´m going to be in Bazza for at least another 5 days because I have more SPanish lessons and want to do some more hiking.

Pictures so far...

permalink written by  lizziecarver on January 12, 2011 from San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
from the travel blog: Backpacking... it's not as fun as Insurance
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