Heading South (Part 2)

Neuquen Travel Blog

 › entry 32 of 38 › view all entries
After being told that my health was good enough for us to continue our journey, we went straight to the bus station and purchased tickets for the next evening to Neuquen, a town 11 hours south from Mendoza. The bus journey passed uneventfully. Mom and dad were pleasantly surprised by the luxury of the Argentinian buses and the amount of food served on them. By the time we arrived in Neuquen at 8 am the next morning, my normal energy level had returned and the marks on my belly had begun to fade. From the bus, Neuquen appeared to be like any large North American prairie city whose main purpose is to support oilfields and agriculture. The road into town was lined with big box stores (including a Wal-mart which looked like it could have been transplanted directly from Idaho), fast food restaurants, and car dealerships. The surrounding countryside consisted of sedimentary river terraces and rolling grasslands. It was not a place that appeared especially inviting to tourism. Our own interest in Neuquen actually lay in the paleological discoveries about 80kms outside of the city. We had been under the impression that it would be an easy matter to take a day trip out to the dinosaur museum and continue on our journey the next morning. However, it quickly became apparent that the tourist route had not been established and that a visit to the museum would require 2 days or the rental of a car. We decided to push on South to Bariloche. We purchased tickets for a bus departing 2 hours later but soon learned that the bus was delayed an indefinite amount of hours. We spent half of the day in the bus station researching Bariloche on the internet (trying to find accomodation, a nearly impossible task), and scrounging for food. In Argentina, it is very difficult to buy anything with the 100 peso notes that are dispensed by the ATMĀ“s. Many places will not accept them and are often unable to provide change for considerably smaller bills. As a result, it is a constant struggle to keep oneself in a steady supply of small bills and coins. One may have several hundred pesos in 100 peso bills and not be able to buy anything. Mom and I went on an expedition to the grocery store 4 blocks away from the bus station to get some small change and almost missed the bus in the process.
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