Argentina – Bariloche

So, the trip up to Bariloche was set to be the easiest of the trip so far, apart from the three buses from Ushuaia back to Calafate. From El Calafate, we had booked a plane, and were looking forward to cutting out a 30 hour bus ride for a 2 hour flight, except that what actually happened was that the plane, that was supposed to leave at 1pm, ended up leaving at midnight, and we got into Bariloche after 4am, when all the taxis had left from the airport, and we had to bum a ride into town, then find a map and walk to the hostel. We got in at 5am, and were looking forward to better weather than we had been experiencing, and got our wish at first, as the first day was tshirt weather, sunny and beautiful. However, we were far too assed out to actually do anything that day, and decided that now that we were farther North, and were going to be here for 5 days, there was less of a hurry to see things. Except that the next day the temperature dipped from 74 degrees Fahrenheit to 48 degrees, or 23 to 9 Celsius. And both Zoe and I got sick immediately. So, the one nice day when we could have done things, the airline made sure that we were too tired and sick to do anything. Lade, the airline, is also the carrier for the military and airforce of Argentina, and I don’t know what their budget actually is, but the same man who sold tickets at the bus station checked us in at the airport, then went out to unload the plane when in arrived and reload with our baggage, and then took our tickets when we finally got on the plane. Jokingly, I asked him if he was going to fly the plane as well, and he said no, he only flies the small ones.

Bariloche is a city in the lake district of Argentina, and the town itself sits on an incredibly blue lake. Even when the sky was at its bluest, the lake was more so, a thicker, more palpable blue that if you could hold it in your hand, you would want to make jewelry out of. If you made jewelry. It is a slate blue that you would expect to see on a new Lotus sports car, or perhaps in your grandmother’s jewelry box. There is a Swiss influence, perhaps why they are so gung ho about their chocolate and fondue, but maybe not. Bariloche was extremely beautiful, and I would love to go back to see it again, but due to weather and illness, it turned out to be a place where mostly I rested and saw some friends that I met earlier on the trip.

I stopped back through Buenos Aires for possibly the last time on this trip on my way back North, and got to see a Boca Junior soccer match, which so far has probably been the highlight of the trip. Due to all of the warnings I received from other travelers, as well as the hostel who sold me my ticket, I did not take my camera to the game, since apparently they get stolen or broken frequently. Like most of the security warnings I have received so far, though, this one was overblown. I could have taken the camera no problem, but although it was amazing to be there, I don’t think that a picture could have captured it.

We sat in the area behind one of the goals, which actually has no seats, and is standing room only, on steeply graded stadium rows. The areas behind the goals are also known as the crazier section, and it was packed with people as tightly as they could stand. People got there starting about three hours before the game, and by an hour before the place was full, with people chanting, singing, and jumping. The stadium shook, and they unfurled flags that covered the entire sections, each covering about a quarter of the stadium. Our section was blocked from the field and the seating sections on the sides by a tall fence with razor wire that was facing down at the crowd, as well as curved spikes coming over at us. We were caged in, and I realized why when it became clear that the section of the stadium directly above us was filled with the visiting team’s fans, who were behind a chain link fence about 20 feet high. So, they could not actually throw anything solid down onto us, since I was with the home fans, but they did manage to get a lot of liquid down through. The amazing thing was that even though Boca lost 3-0 and it was not against River, their biggest rival, the fans kept up a deafening amount of noise throughout the game, and continued singing and jumping until after the final whistle blew. They kept us locked in, with the drums beating and the people singing for 45 minutes afterward, so that the opposing fans could be well clear of the stadium before we were let out. I wonder if they could have gotten any crazier had it been against River, and had they won, and while I guess perhaps it is possible, I can’t imagine it. The place buzzed with energy, and the air was electric. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who gets a chance.

Alright, sorry no pictures of soccer, but at least there are pictures now, hmm?

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