Bariloche 115 This posting will be brief, as there’s precious little to report on from Bariloche.  Bariloche is a ski town in western Argentina, nestled at the foot of the Andes.  I can imagine the draw of being here in winter for skiing, but February is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and unlike ski towns in the U.S. (e.g., Aspen) with lots going on in the summer, we didn’t find much to do in Bariloche of interest.  It’s beautiful, but a dull summer venue.

Bariloche 097 We did have one fabulous day when we drove a couple of hours to go on a whitewater rafting trip down the Mansa River.  The landscape here is beautiful, and there’s no better way to see it than from a raft.  The river this time of year is a Class 2+, which meant we had a few good rips through current, but were never at any risk of falling out of the boat.  The kids did manage to find and catch a Mountain Slope Lizard (picture below a few paragraphs), and we got in a great swim. 

Bariloche Other than the rafting trip, our four days in Bariloche were largely restful and uneventful.  We got a lot of homework done and had a lot of relaxed family fun.   At dinner on Friday night, though, we ran into good friends from Charleston — Wally and Bev Sensheimer — and it was great to catch up with them.  They were spending a couple of weeks in Argentina on a business/fun trip involving the YPO organization.  It was only the second time on our trip we had run into people by coincidence that we knew already. 

Picture 317 We did follow the primary returns on Tuesday night from my native state of Virginia, as well as DC and Maryland — more exciting results.  For good luck on Tuesday, I wore my Barack Obama tee-shirt, and had many strangers approach me (mostly from South America) telling me how much they hope the United States elects him President.  Amen!!

We’ve loved South America, but our trip has — perhaps in keeping with Latin America — run hot and cold.  We’ve spent time in places we’ve loved, but we’ve also visited places that combine being a) hard to get to, and b) not that interesting for us.  As I type this, we’re on our way back to Chile, confident that our next destination (Punta Arenas and Puerto Montt, Chile) will be more engaging than Bariloche. 

Bariloche 087 Our stay in Bariloche was not enhanced by our hotel.  We stayed at the Llao Llao, a sprawling hotel, with beautiful views and horrible service.  Our room was ten minutes and three elevators away from the lobby and restaurant — so at least we got our exercise.  The best example I can provide of the service here is when a hotel staff person knocked on our door after midnight to deliver a non-urgent message.  As they say, the elevator didn’t go to the top floor frequently at this hotel.

I suspect that anyone else visiting here could come up with a more interesting set of things to do than we came up with.  Apart from the rafting, we chewed up most of a day on  a long drive to a short hike around a lagoon.  We took a short hike by the hotel on a road and a crowded trail.  And that was pretty much it for four days in Bariloche.  And, on the morning of our departure, we got a call at 10:00 a.m. that our noon flight would be delayed by five+ hours.  Oh well.  All part of life on the road.

And, although you won’t find much of interest, feel free to check out our Bariloche photos.  There are some nice shots of the lake and mountains here.

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