Thursday, January 26, 2006

Getting my Hippie On.

Apparently El Bolson is the hippie capitol of South America. I would say I agree with that.

So far I have certainly spotted a lot of mangy beards, dirty t-shirts, ratty hair, flowy skirts, earthy sandals and lots and lots of Bob Marley. Funny thing is, it does not make me crazy anymore. For some reason hippies used to drive me up the wall. Maybe it was being surrounded by them in HS, or the fact that so many of so-called-hippies I have known were some of the most pretentious people on the planet (i.e. wandering monologues about different and original, being anti status and anti corporate, followed by turning up the same shitty, Other ones album everyone else they know listens to and busting out their new North Face Parka their dad bought them). Since about mid college, I realized that If I ever hear another hippie witness about how the (insert random date) (insert misc sports arena) bootleg changed their life because that was where they were totally connected with the crowd and showed what great musicians they are, I would have put a fist through their mangy, unshowered, bolivia mountain hat wearing, patchouli scented temple.

Which is why it is rather meaningful that Regardless of my past experience, I came into this famed hippie mecca with an open mind, believe it or not. It has been working out well. I just had the most marvelous 24 hours. After wrapping things up in Bariloche (I got to shop for new mountain pants, among other things) we caught a bus to El Bolson and ended up staying with this fellow we met at the Bus station who was this total old dirty hippie but was real nice and offered to have us stay at his house/hostel, and gave us a flyer. Well, he actually has a website and looked legit, so we caught a cab and headed over. It is kind of out of town a bit, and it was getting real rural real quick, and I did not like the looks of the cab driver, so I turned to Andy and said "If you hear a banjo, run."

Actually, it has been great. for you curious ones. We are basically staying on a commune, right next to a river. there are those rock piles everywhere (the tall ones that hippies make), we are right near a river, and it is super rustic but really great. they have all these chickens (I made fried farm fresh eggs this morning for breakfast) and more random collarless dogs you see all over this country. It is totally sunny and warm and idyllic hear, as we are in this valley surrounded by mountains, paragliders overhead and children playing all over the river. We took a walk along the river and Andy found a fishing spot for the next day. we also walked to the super rustic store and bought beers, wine, and the requsite large quantities of meat for the big Parilla we had that night.

It was a total scene. There were these two super skinny Spanish guys, this pair of adorable argentine sisters Mariana and Vicky (one 19 and a Culinary Student, vicky is 29 and write scripts for Soap operas), this italian girl elisa who speaks four languages brilliantly, the Brit Helen who grew up in Rome, rented out her house, moved in with her mom, and quit her job of 9 years as a photography producer (commercial and ad work) to travel, and is planning on spending the next two months watching all the movies she has always wanted to see. She is a riot. oh yes, there was also the american outward bound instructor from North Carolina, and then Augustin, his wife, and his kids. Oh yeah, let´s not forget about the other Brit Andy, who basically sits around smoking joints and reading paperbacks, except when he starts talking. He reminds me of that roadie from teh wayne´s world movies.

It was just everything you wanted from a relaxed summer bbq, Except being Argentine and thus it started at 10 and went until 2 AM.

today, at Augustin´s urging everyone but the spaniards and Susan the American who left went to this lake that only locals know about. Again, it was about 25 Kilometers down a really ruddy dirt road which we of course navigated in a econo box compact car. it was so worth the trip. it was 85 degrees, we had this lovely beach, and bought beers soda and ice cream and swam in the 45 degree, caribbean blue lake when we got hot, and got to know each other. it was just wonderful. I am really getting into this experience on a new level and feeling more and more comfortable with what I am doing, which is great. It is like my trip is a pair of shoes and I could not hit my stride until they were properly broken in.

oh, pardon me, no more thoughtful metaphors. tomorrow we are off to Ezquel to do some camping, and then El Calafate for the real goods (i.e. Fitz Roy and Torres del Paine).

until then, Boardman


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