Suitcase on wheels     stuck in the snow   sniffer dog

Thursday, February 01, 2007

83. Summer in Bariloche (Bariloche, Argentina)

It's been about six weeks since my last post - so what have I been up to? The weather here has been great most of the time, so we've spent a few days at the Bariloche's beaches. Most of the beaches are covered in pebbles, and the water is absolutely freezing, but it's still nice to soak up some rays and sprint in and out of the water.

Around Bariloche - 16 - Playa Serena
First day at the beach on a small and empty Playa Serena

Around Bariloche - 17 - Playa Bonita
The nicer and bigger Playa Bonita

Christmas and New Year were both spent in similar fashion, with a gringo asado with Hamish & Lisa and other friends in the Kiwi House. Pozzy, a very good friend of mine from BA came down and spent New Year with us. Like most Argentines, he's very close to his family and he missed them a lot, as New Year is a family occasion here just like Christmas. In NZ our New Year's Eve is centred around the countdown to midnight. Here the tradition is to toast with your family at midnight with Champagne or sidra (cider) from champagne bottles, and pass the night visiting your friends' and extended family's houses and toasting with them. Partying comes later.

Año Nuevo 07 - 03 - Pozzy Mark
Pozzy and Mark on New Year's. Pozzy ain't short, Mark's 6'6"!

As far as my work goes, it's been up and down. I had a good run of work just before Christmas, taking people fly-fishing, some rafting, a trip to Mount Tronador, but then come early January it had all dried up.

Pesca - 05 - Willy Mario
Fly-fishing

Rafting - 02 -
Rafting on the Lago Stefen

I later tried hooking up some work by putting flyers up in hostels but it was tougher than I expected to get a big enough group of people together to make it worth my while. I did make a couple of trips - one though the Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Route) with a bunch of backpackers. Unlike any other tour in town, we stopped for an amazing swim in Lago Espejo (Mirror Lake), which had sand and was much warmer than any of the Bariloche lakes, and later did a bit of bridge-jumping. It was a great day, and I had as much fun as they did. But the tough, rutted, corrogated-iron like dirt roads took their toll on the van and whatever profit I made got spent on subsequent repairs.

Siete Lagos - 01 - Van lake
Lunch stop and a swim in Lago Espejo

Siete Lagos - 07 - Shaun jump
Shaun bridge jumping

So I was once again waiting for the phone to ring through agencies. As it is, I'm working 3 days a week or so but usually only with airport transfers. I'm making just enough to survive, but I have to remember that now is the high season, and come March that work will dry up. The norm is to make enough now in the high season to get me through the leaner months, and that I'm not doing. I've spoken to other drivers who've come here from out of town and they told me they had a hard time entering the market as well - which is fair enough. It's all about local contacts (as it is anywhere) and I don't want to scrape by another year or two to get going. So I'm done. I've come to the decision to sell the van and move on to something else - most likely back to NZ with my girlfriend and getting back into the computer industry. I do like living here, but I'm sick of the struggle. Strangely, my van is worth more now than it was when I bought it, even though it should have depreciated a year. I guess because of the high inflation here.

So this year should be interesting, since I'm gonna have to support my girlfriend in NZ while she learns English well enough to get a job. I kind of doubt she'll adjust to NZ, seeing as she didn't adjust to Bariloche, but she wants to give it a try and we're hopeful things will work out. And fortunately Argentines can get a working holiday visa for NZ.

To my readers out there, this isn't my last post, I'll keep on blogging.

7 Comments:

  • just love it =)
    it's a wonderful place.
    take care =)

    By Blogger +ººDie Geigerinºº+, at 12:38 PM  

  • Sorry to see you go. I've enjoyed reading your blog, man.

    Cheers,
    Ian (of GoodAirs.com)

    By Blogger Ian, at 3:27 AM  

  • Oh Matt, I am so sorry that things did not work out for you here. I loved reading your blog. Maybe we will meet up in New Zealand. I may be going there to dance.

    I hope everything works out for you. You seem like such a good guy.

    Deby (TangoSpam)

    By Blogger TangoSpam, at 2:15 PM  

  • You can tell yourself you gave it a real shot without having to wonder "what if." Sounds good to me. Best of luck to you two. I'll definitely keep reading the blog.

    By Anonymous Dan in BsAs, at 8:41 AM  

  • at least you tried

    Roman - an expat in Santiago

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:32 AM  

  • Sadly a life of pointless struggle seems to be all too common for folk in Argentina. Apparently there ARE people who make good money, but I never met any:-( Everyone else works their arse off for very little in return.

    Good luck in NZ! You HAVE to get your girlfriend in contact with any Latin American community that may be there. That's what I did in the UK and it makes life a LOT easier for her, knowing that she has other countrymen/women to meet up with and grumble about living in a strange country with:-)

    By Blogger The Alex, at 1:03 PM  

  • By Anonymous World destinations, at 10:10 AM  

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