Suitcase on wheels     stuck in the snow   sniffer dog

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

79. Bored, lonely, but finally some hope (Bariloche, Argentina)

It's been almost a month since my last post, so let's sum up what I've been doing.

The downtown apartment in the Bariloche Center we were in was only a temporary arrangement, until December. Although the Bariloche Center is by far the biggest eyesore in town, if you're living in it you don't have to look at it, rather you're looking out from it. How about this shot - go the moon! Notice it giving the lake a milky colour, but only in the distance. Closer to the camera the lake is black.

Around Bariloche - 08 - From apartment at night
Gonna miss that view...

Come December and until March most furnished apartments here in Bariloche get rented out to the summer tourist market on a per-night basis. So we needed to find ourselves a furnished apartment with a permanent lease so they wouldn't jack up the rent on us come the summer season. Talk about a mission impossible, especially since we don't have a garante (guarantor). After two weeks of looking we finally found a place but compared to the last place we were in it's pretty crap. Now we're out of the centre, so no more nice view overlooking the lake and plaza. We don't have to listen to the schoolkids on tour chanting and blowing whistles constantly either. It is furnished, but it doesn't have a TV - we'd both gotten used to the luxury of cable TV the last couple of months. So with no view and no TV there's not much to look at except the 70s tiles on the wall in the kitchen, accompanied by the constant rattle and buzz of the 60s fridge. The apartment is spacious enough though, so we've finally unpacked all the boxes of crap we bought with us from BA.

Since it has been 10 months since I started setting up my business, and I have yet to do a single trip, I'm now broke (and in credit card debt). We've long been spending as little money as possible - in the two and a half months here we haven't eaten at a single restaurant (or bought a single meal), it's been home cooking every day. Our one excursion was last month's low season ski trip which ended in disaster, hospital bills, and locksmith bills.

So much for enjoying Bariloche.

My girlfriend has hated it here from the beginning, and unfortunately that hasn't changed. With our 70s drab apartment she's gotten worse, so we talked about her going back to BA until the summer season here starts. If she had a job to keep her occupied she'd be OK. So last weekend she went back to BA, where she tells me she's found a few hours work and she's in high spirits and catching up with her friends.

She of course made a big sacrifice to come down to Bariloche with me. I've sacrificed even more to be here with her - 10 months of paperwork, stress, and not to mention my life savings in buying the van and paying my living expenses while the paperwork got done. My original plan was to be in Ushuaia, but after that was ruled out due to the regulations I settled on Bariloche, because I liked it and also because it's a decent-sized city and she's a city girl, so I hoped she'd adapt. Not so.

Now that she's gone I've been really bored. No internet at home either (we've never had the net, all these blogs have been done from internet cafes). But finally, some hope. First, on Monday, my driver's licence came in the mail. That means I can now do some transfers and excursions (those that leave the province), so I first calculated the prices I would charge and then delivered my list of tariffs to tourism agencies around town.

And then today the local habilitacion on the van came through, so now I can offer the local excursions as well. That means I'm in business!

Now I just have to set a price for the local excursions, deliver my new list of tariffs to the agencies, and wait for my phone to start ringing. It could take a while, as right now we're in the "mud season". Everyone tells me the hardest part is done. Come December I will be fine, as I'm told that all through the summer season there's a shortage of vans. The trick will be surviving until then. If the van breaks down in the meantime I'm screwed.

Update: Lord, why do you hate me? I swear, I had just typed that last sentence and then as I went to go to an internet café to post this entry, what do I see under the van? An ominous green puddle from a surprise new water leak. Sure enough, my radiator's now empty. Just what I need. I just can't get a break! That is so indicitave of my time here in Argentina - just when things are looking like working out along comes yet another setback.

Update: Thankfully, only a cracked pipe, not expensive to repair, but it could have been worse.


  • Here's hoping the cathartic release and vindication will come in the summertime. Keep on truckin'.

    By Blogger afraid, at 11:17 PM  

  • Hang in there! I'm rooting for you!

    (not "rooting" in the Australian sense of the word though - that would be worrying)

    By Blogger The Alex, at 4:10 AM  

  • Matt - There's nothing worth having that present a challenge. That said, you've had a long string of bad luck that sux big time. But guess what... high season is here! I've been working my ass off in BA for the past 2 weeks & there is no break in sight. So I'm sure they will be coming your way soon. No worries.

    If you find that it doesn't work out for you in Bariloche, let me know cuz there is a lot of BA tourism to be tapped. I know it isn't your favorite place, but there is a lot of work here. Hang in there.

    By Blogger Robert, at 2:29 PM  

  • All the very best luck this coming season, fortune favours the brave.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:03 AM  

  • Chin up fulla. You are so close!

    By Blogger Nasty McFly, at 6:10 PM  

  • Matt - keep it up. Great site and I have added a link to yours from mine:

    Feel free to add a link to mine blog under your Expats in Argentina section.

    I am soon to remove from under its dust cover my Kawasaki Ninja 600 which I brought here after crossing the USA in 2002 - so we can share stories one day about crossing Argentina !

    Best wishes, Russell

    By Blogger Russell Ferrier, at 1:13 AM  

  • Ahhh know how we are...anyway, you love this place. We love you, and your blog. What would you do with your free time if you didn't have this blog? You can't leave. Noooooo, Nooooo, Noooo

    By Blogger TangoSpam, at 4:27 PM  

  • Hee Matt!
    How´s it going!? It´s been a while since you wrote a new update. I hope this means you are busy and making money. I hope it doesn´t mean any other kind of trouble. But the comment before this one worries me a bit...
    My breakup story with the Argie girl never turned around. I am with another (Argie) girl now, she is more mature. But I am leaving BsAs soon to travel the South. Maybe I will see you there in Bariloche, who knows!
    Ok, hang in there and I hope everything works out for you!

    By Blogger davevandongen, at 8:39 AM  

  • Hi Dave,

    Yep I'm still here, I haven't posted in ages because life has been boring so I haven't had much to write about.

    Cool, give me a shout if you come to Bariloche and we'll meet up for a beer.


    By Blogger mattyboy, at 12:16 PM  

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