Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Sunday was spent in the fantastic Andean town of Bariloche. We arrived late Saturday night, settled into our hotel, found some food, and had an otherwise early night and got some needed sleep.

The next morning we awoke to an unbelievable view (though for said view, I had to lean about 2/3 of my body out the window and crane my neck around a building). Bariloche lies on the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi, which is a large lake and the basis for one of the largest national parks in Argentina. Bariloche is the southernmost town of any size in the Andes, and serves as the gateway for the Lake District and the ski slopes, depending on the season. As the town slopes upward from the shore of the lake, it is generally possible to see the lake from nearly any point in the town. This time of year, after ski season and before summer vacations begin, the town is quite peaceful, although we were glad to not be there in a month or so.

We began our day by boarding a bus for the Hotel Llao Llao (pronounced "zhow zhow" - Argentines pronounce y and ll like a soft j sound, which makes understanding them even harder than it should be). The hotel is a luxury resort, complete with its own golf course, at the end of a long road that goes along the lakeside for some 30 km. The hotel is perched atop a hill with unbelievable views of the nearby lakes and snow-capped mountains, and while it would cost our entire retirement accounts to spend a night there, it was certainly fun to walk around. Adding to the charm of the town is that it was originally settled by Swiss immigrants, and thus features many Swiss chalet style alpine chalet buildings in the downtown area.

After some walking around, we got on the bus back toward Bariloche, and got off about halfway back in order to take a cable car up to the top of one of the nearby mountains, hoping for a nice lunch at the top with panoramic views of the lakes, but we found that it was closed for renovation and repairs. After punching Marty Moose in the nose and shooting John Candy with a bb gun, we got back on the bus bound for a chair lift to the top of another mountain, and then got off.

When I got off the bus, immediately as it pulled off, I realized that I no longer had my camera. We felt around for it in all our pockets and backpacks, and couldn´t find it at all. Since the buses were on a loop, I waited until our bus came back around, had the driver ask if anyone had seen a camera, but alas, it was gone. I was wearing a baggier than normal pair of pants with shallow pockets, and the camera must have fallen out of my pocket while I was sitting on the bus. Not surprisingly, it had disappeared by the time we got back on the bus. I don´t think it was a pick-pocket situation because the bus wasn´t crowded, and I´m extremely attentive to that type of thing (eastern European buses will do that to you).

Feeling somewhat dejected, we headed back toward town to get some food and ponder our options. We debated buying a new camera if we could find the camera we wanted, but it seems like the Canon Powershot line, which we love (gratuitous product placement) hasn´t arrived in this part of the world yet. I did some brief camera research on cnet for some of the types of cameras they did have for sale, but all of the decent ones were selling for well above what they would cost in the US, and it just wasn´t worth buying a new one. Fortunately, we brought our old camera, and will use it for the remainder of the trip (while keeping it in more secure pockets, of course). Expensive lesson learned, but then again, if that is the worst tragedy to befall us in the next few years, we´re doing pretty well for ourselves.

Fortunately for our mild state of depression, Bariloche is known for, perhaps most of all, its exquisite selection of chocolate. As such, before leaving, we purchased a box of chocolates before getting on the bus to El Bolsón, where we find ourselves now.


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