Sad, but not tragic. A forced opportunity. Maybe even a fortunate adaptation…fuck it. Let's make taco salad.


The good news:  We have actually arrived in San Carlos de Bariloche (~3000people, ~3000 feet).  We are no longer on a Marga bus.  The night, while not exactly young, is not over.  And we have alcohol.

The bad news:  We have spent the dawn of New Years 2011 on a fucking bus in Nowhere, Patagonia.  With people that I have spent a painful 50 hours with.  Dicks, really.  And there is only one taxi servicing the bus station tonight and it just left with another group of passengers, so we are stuck here for a while.  Thank god The Policeman brought us some additional booze or I would lose my mind right about now.

After a 20 minute wait, a collectivo comes by and The Policeman tells us to jump on it and head to El Centro.  Fucking right, brother.  Anywhere but within sight of a goddamn Marga bus.

I part ways with Jeff, Ruth, Gali, and Martina (our new friend from Slovenia, another tragic victim of “50 Hours to Bariloche”) and we all agree to meet up in an hour for much needed booze.  After dragging The Foot up the hill 5 blocks to my hostel…which I was supposed to arrive at 22 hours previously…I arrive at the tail end of an obviously ugly international incident:  Cigarette butts, broken beer bottles, food shrapnel, drunks passed out on the floor of the living room, lots of people speaking unspeakable languages.  The host/owner is drunk, but lucid and still has my reservation, which is a miracle considering the circumstances and my ridiculous delay.  I dump my pack, run to the bathroom for a quick and long overdue shower (goddamn delicious), and then run out the door to meet my friends.  The Foot is throbbing from overuse in El Chaltѐn and I seem to have some sort of gastro-intestinal distress situation developing, but its New Years 2011…must find a way to rally!

We meet up at 1:30 am and discover that, although there is a lot of action in town, there is really nowhere to hang out and talk.  Only the discos are open.  Unless we want to hang out with all the teenagers at the gas station (seriously, hundreds of them).  Disco it is…

And, the moment we walk in, I’m already plotting an exit strategy in my mind.  After what I just went through, can I really subject myself to Lady Gaga and a throng of drunk and horny kids?  And this situation in my stomach seems to be growing uglier by the moment.  Ruth and Gali are begging me to come dance.  My deflection is to pretend I’m still waiting at the bar to get drinks for them, but in reality I’m trying to figure out where the emergency exit is located.

Jeff and I finally get drinks, we dance with the girls for 10 minutes, and I pull out The Foot as a reason for heading home early.  In reality, I am absolutely ill from the bus trip, sick of “I’m In Miami, Bitch,” and in dire need of a long long sleep.  Exit.




I arrive back at the hostel where I am trapped in a room with 10 beds, 6 of which are occupied by completely drunk and snoring strangers.  I try to climb into my top bunk (not really convenient, considering the current state of The Foot) and fall asleep, but immediately realize that the gastro-intestinal distress I was feeling earlier is much more serious than I had realized.

I jump down from my bunk, run to the bathroom, lock myself in, and spend the next 4 hours violently vomiting and shitting simultaneously (thank god the toilet and sink were in close proximity).  Happy New Year, motherfucker!!

The final “fuck you” from Marga Bus Lines is a real beauty.  When, exactly, did you make those dry-ass chicken sandwiches?  When I finally awoke on New Year’s Day (4 pm….), it seemed normal to everyone else in the place since they had all actually partied the night away.

I decided to move to a different hostel so I could escape the 10-bed communal snore-fest and found a nice place a few blocks away.  Bariloche is a major trekking destination, but The Foot is fucked.  Now that the chorizo-sized blister has popped, I now have some seriously raw new skin and it hurts worse than it did a week ago.  After communicating with Martina and a couple of people from the new hostel, it seemed like a car trip around the area was the best second option.  My new friends Laura and Andrew tagged along and we had an amazing day.






















This was my first time driving in 8 months and I loved every minute.  We spent 12 hours in the car and when the girls drifted off to sleep in the back seat on the way home we decided to see what our sweet Chevy Classic could do (160 kph was it) as we made our way into the sunset.  Amazing day.  The only downside was Andrew introducing me to Yerba Mate along the way.  Just what I need…another addiction.

By the way (sorry, Mom), these pictures are all taken while driving 140-160 kph on (fucking) Route 40 on the way back to Bariloche.  I love my little camera.  At least this section of Route 40 is actually interesting…









The town of Bariloche itself is not all that compelling (Martina’s father is an architect and she referred to it as an “architectural disaster zone”), but there is so much to see and do in the surrounding area that I could see spending quite a bit of time here as a base of outdoor operations.  And the little village of San Martin de Los Andes that we hit at the far end of our road trip was absolutely stunning.  Highly recommended.

Another (sigh…) amazing steak dinner in Argentina, some amazing wine, and then it’s back to Chile.  On a bus.





2 Responses to “Bariloche”

  1. Jody says:

    Love the last shot – driving into the sunset!
    i wanted to see a pic of the broken bottles, food shrapnel and drunken people on the floor of the hostel on New Years Day!
    p.s. watch out for those pepitos.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You are damn skinny Casey…but that 4 hour extravaganza in the bathroom didn't help either.

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