Getting together, in and
-- Story by Erin --
Friday, March 1st: White Rabbits! We drive
into Bariloche and find Liam at an internet café. We also knew he was in the neighborhood
and planned to meet here. However in the meantime Liam had found himself working with a
Brazilian film crew making a documentary for Brazilian TV about riding and meeting a
Brazilian girl (all for the sake of moviemaking of course, since we know that he has a
very serious girlfriend, Catriona in Ireland!) Liam introduces us to the film crew and we
get a bit part in the film, pretending we are seeing Liam for the first time since India.
All very fun and interesting, then Liam was off with the Brazilians for a night of
camping. We run errands and check into the nice hotel where we stayed last time ($7/pp @
US$1 = 1.9pesos). Sebastian and Sofia meet us in town later that afternoon and stay in our
hotel. A biker sees us in the central square and tells us about a motorcycle meeting in El
Bolson, 120 kilometers south of Bariloche, on Saturday. There will be many bikes from both
Bariloche and El Bolson and a free asado (barbecue). We decide to go. That night the four
of us go to dinner at the Mexican restaurant from our visit before, and Annet joins us
with a Belgian backpacker from her hostel. We have a nice evening drinking lots of 1/2
price margaritas during happy hour.
Saturday, March 2nd: Sebastian, Sofia, Chris and
I meet Annet and another German biker in the central square for the ride to El Bolson. We
are early and have to wait some time (Argentine Time) for the local bikers to show up -- (they
said to meet at 1pm, and we finally left around 3:00). Eventually we all get on the
road in a long caravan of bikers out of town. The locals come out of their houses with
their children to wave to us. We honk our horns and wave in return. The weather is
gorgeous and the scenery is quite beautiful this day. The 120-kilometer ride is slow
however, even for us, and we get antsy. Sebastian suggests we ride on, while the others
stopped for the third time in the ride, to a place just outside of El Bolson which makes
their own beer. We heartily agree and drive on to this lovely little beer garden. We enjoy
our one beer and the peanuts as we watch the rest of the group drive on into town without
us. We catch up shortly after to where they have stopped in a park in the center of town.
The bikers are giving rides to the local kids. Chris and Sebastian gladly join in giving
rides to 2-3 kids at a time. The smiles on the childrens faces (as well as the guy's
faces) could not have been bigger and broader. After, there are "slow" races
---- who can drive the slowest without putting their feet down and crossing the finish
line last. We all participate in this and have good fun laughing at ourselves.
This drags on a bit long however and we decide to find the
campground where the meeting will eventually end with an asado and everyone camping
overnight. We get there and pitch our tents. The rest of the group arrives about a
half-hour later and soon the asado and live music begins. We are serenaded with a mixture
of pop music and local folk songs while eating big sausage sandwiches and swigging wine.
Sunday, March 3rd: We sleep late and wake to find
that a good many of the other bikers have already left. The meeting winds down quietly.
The weather is good so we decide to move on south in the direction of Futuleufú, Chile
for rafting. As we leave El Bolson around mid-day, Liam pulls up on his bike. We stop for
coffee and end up staying in town for several hours more. With all the talking about
rafting in Chile, Annet decides to join us too. We finally leave around 4pm. As we drive
out of the protective mountains around El Bolson we are suddenly blasted with strong winds
out on the open pampa. We all struggle to keep the bikes upright and in the right lane.
About halfway to Esquel there is a new museum, calledMuseo Leleque, which displays
the local history of this part of Patagonia from the times of the indigenous Indians,
through the wars with the Spanish, to the immigration and settlement of foreigners.
Its quite good, and for $US1 well worth the short detour.
We finally arrive in the town of Esquel at about 6pm, aware
that we are tired and will not make it across the border this day. We search for a cabaña
for the 6 of us so we can have our own kitchen. We find a lovely place outside of town and
up the side of a hill, with nice views. While shopping for groceries in town, the local TV
station spots our group and they want to interview us. With our limited knowledge of
Spanish, Liam and I manage to make a few gaffes when asked about our opinion of Argentina,
Liam saying that he thought Patagonia tasted delicious and I saying how much I really
liked CHILE! Hopefully those were edited out before being shown on the local news!
WOW -- Is that Liam? We haven't seen him in Years!
Our debut as actors -- it's for a Brazilian TV show
A quick stop for a reflective ale
Sofia, Chris, Sebastian, Erin, y Annet
Rides for Kids
Slow Races: First to cross the line looses
The ground was a bit soft, and the bike was tired
The author rests while his loyal subjects watch over him
Preparing dinner at the campground
Inside the Leleque Museo
Liam's first encounter with the
"prickly" Arucaria tree