May 11, 2008

In the end trudging through the ash wasteland was just too much; I got on a bus. Even this was not without it's problems though, as we were at one point delayed an entire night (luckily at a pub which allowed us to sleep on it's floor) while part of the ash covered route northward was cleared for driving. My understanding is that now there is ash even in Buenos Aires, which is incredible and horrifying at the same time. The eruption was more or less just to the west of all the best rivers and lakes in Argentina, and as the wind shifted it sent the ash both north and south of there on its trip east; I have serious concerns for the safety of my little trout friends. But then again, T.I.P. (this is Patagonia).   On that note, upon arrival in San Carlos de Bariloche I started to wonder if I was still even in Patagonia. Talk about touristy! It is a beautiful city and the surrounding area is even more so, but it is definitely not the Patagonia that I am used to. There are people everywhere (not one of them wearing home-made boots), a more or less complete dearth of horses (non-statuary horses anyway), and a whole lot of (I can barely bring myself to say the word)... marketing.  Oh well. At this point it is too close to my date of departure to head back south at all, so I guess I'll dig down deep, into my pockets as well as my tolerance well, and see what this part of the country is all about. Fishing season in Argentina has ended, and as the Andes get higher and higher it is increasingly difficult to just "jump across" as I have been doing up until this point. I'm actually not sure I will get back into Chile until I am all the way up near Santiago. Everyone be good; I will see you all soon.