3/30/10: Bariloche, Argentina
Guess what? I have a story for you from today! I’d advise you to go turn on the fire, grab a warm drink and get comfortable because you’re about to be treated to a lengthy mediocre tale. I’ll pick it up at the rising action.
It was about 9:15pm and our mostly motley crew of five piled off the local bus almost five miles outside the city. Just as we had done in the city, Zhou and I walked about 30 paces ahead of the pack. The old lady brought up a distant third position, talking at anyone who would listen. (We’re pretty sure English was her first language because she spoke it with no problem, but we’re also pretty sure she never understood a word anyone else said.) The young Asians brought up the rear, dragging their oversized roller luggage a few feet behind the old lady. (I thought it was awfully nice for the girl to be taking her little teenage brother around South America, but Zhou later informed me that they weren’t brother and sister at all: “I saw them kissing!”)
We had formed a team of five on accident – I had asked the other three which hostel they were looking for and they had taken this as an invitation to join us at ours. The old lady had ignored our warnings that our hostel was a 20 minute bus ride away and that it was most likely full. (Again, she was in her own little world.) I don’t think the shy Asians had the heart to tell the crazy old lady that they wanted to do something on their own because she had befriended them during our night on the street.
Anyway, Zhou and I had the directions to the hostel pulled up on her iTouch and began our walk up a dark, unpaved road into the woods. Three blocks and we’d be there.
The first block was easy. It was a bit steeper than we would have liked, and a bit darker, and a bit longer, but it was easy. The second block was more difficult, as we weren’t sure where it ended and a couple big dogs started barking at us. We looked over our shoulders a couple times – the old lady was still yammering away and the Asians looked to be struggling mightily with their luggage.
The third block and subsequent fourth and fifth blocks were the hard part. By this point the couple barking dogs had turned into an all-out riot. I looked around and saw nothing but what looked like Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers, except for a couple Cujo-lookalikes lurking behind their fences. At one point Zhou panicked, shouting “This is it! We’re going to get eaten alive!” (The theme of Zhou panicking has been a common one in our recent posts, hasn’t it?)
When we finally figured out which street we were supposed to turn onto, we found it to be more of a narrow hiking trail than a street. We forged our way through the narrow opening and I, mighty Kevin, even began to get quite uncomfortable. If we weren’t eventually greeted by the best-looking hostel in the world I was preparing myself to get quite angry – at who I have no idea. Meanwhile, I could tell through Zhou’s terror that she was feeling responsible for the well-being of the people 30 paces behind us. And neither of us had the slightest clue how the they were feeling. All we knew was that the lady was still talking and the Asians were now gasping for air.
Unfortunately, I am not yet Sam Raimi and can not figure out a way to make the ending to these posts as frightening as the middle. Eventually, we made it past the dogs, through the woods, back to a normal dirt street and to Alaska Youth Hostel. And despite all that we had been through to get there, I wouldn’t waste a second in recommending it. If you do find yourself in Bariloche, please do stay at Alaska, but please email us and ask us the actual way to get there.
Epilogue: For those who were curious, the old lady and Asian couple all found beds available since it is now low season in Patagonia.
Picture of the Day: They must have heard this was our first private room in two weeks, as they upgraded us quite a bit. In the foreground, our sitting room. In the background, the bedroom, complete with cable TV!