Bariloche Travel Blog

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I was on bus number 20 for the second time... the first time I had taken it in an attempt to find a place to hike around lake Naui Haoupi, but after riding the bus full circuit I realized that I might not find a place. I had gone back to my hostel and asked about where I could find something to "outdoorsey" to do in the next few hours. He recommended taking bus 20 around the lake to the ski lifts.

When I was talking with him and the other receptionists, I assumed that the blue and white cone hats were because of the overwhelming support shown by all Argentines during the world cup, or the Mundial. I had forgotten, though, that Argentina`s first game was going on as we spoke. So, in my bluster, I took bus 20 (for the second time), to the ski lift stop- which was well hidden. No one was outside; the place looked closed and abandoned. I prayed that it would be open, as all the other activities in the city had been cancelled. I got to the ticket window and a man popped his head up from behind the counter, "Uno boleto, por favor." "Be quick we close at six" he replied with an english accent- once again my attempts at using the castillian language have failed. Excited and nervous about riding a tiny cart up the side of the mountain- my mind kept thinking about why America has safty standards and if Argentina required companies to check equipment annually or semi-annually. Nonetheless I boreded my craft and began trudging up the mountain. It was desolate on the ride up... not a single other person. As I thought more about it I recalled that I was the only one on the bus to the lift, but that morning it had been packed full. I know that the spanish like their siestas... but sheesh.
I pulled out my mate and made a little hot drink while I looked over the ever-widening vista. At the top, no one was there to help me off... I kinda had to just jump off... more odd.. I noticed a cafe to my immediate right, and being hungry I decided that a quiant meal on a mountain would be wonderful. But, when I got inside I figured out why the entire town of Bariloche was desolate... the Mundial.

Not wanting to be a touristy bitch and ask for a sandwitch during the Argentina mundial, I grabbed a chair and joined the ten or so workers gathered around the tv like it was a fire at christmas. Luckily I hadn`t missed much; only 10 minutes into the game. Mate in one hand and my Bariloche chocolate in the other I began to really get into the game. Argentina was playing Cote dìvouire... a team they were sure to beat. HOwever, it was 22 minutes into the game and they hadn`t scored. The cook was getting worried, "Vamos Argentina" he would shout inbetween biting his fingernails. Then it happened. GOOOOOAL! Everyone stood up and shouted, hugging eachother, kissing on the cheek- even I was included. The game continued... and when COM (the other team) would come close to scoring the gift clerk would start talking dirty about their best player-whose name happens to be Boka... the clerk would liken the name to Bunenos Aires famous club team: BOCA juniors and make comments about him being low class and black to be given such a name. Although I was put out by his racial comments, I was also happy that I was able to understand them. Right before half time a group of tourist came in.... oblivious to the genius that was at work. No one bothered to get up... they would just give these "if you even bother to order, I`m going to spit in your food" looks. Finally they left. Half-time came. Everyone got up and turned to me... like vultures. "¿De donde son?" The waitress asked me. "Estados Unidos" (good, good answer) "Why you drink mate?" She pried even further, trying to get me to admit that I was a dumb tourist... but I wouldn`t budge.. I knew what to say. "Eh, I needed a little pick-me-up, I was out late at the disco last night" That seemed to please them all. They brought out beer and without asking dropped one in front of me. I noticed a wall of money stapled to it.. apparently someone collected bills from around the world. Luckily, I had a great conversation opener: an original Iraq bill printed when Sadaam was in power... and I used it as a book mark in my journal. I whipped it out and announced my treasure. The whole group gathered round. That got them. We started chatting about futbol, school , mountains, travel... oops, the games back on. Life halted. Chairs turned around. Eyeballs were focused on the shrine of TV. 33 minutes into the game, stress is high, the waitress busts out the chocolate. GOOOOOAL! Yes!! Another round of kisses and hugs- I am begining to feel more loved than when I greet my family for Thanksgiving. Oh, no... COM scored! Heads are hung low. The grill master won`t even look at the tv. The last 8 minutes are rough... if COM scores again Argentina is tied!! And they were supposed to win this one!! Everyone is screaming, "Dayle" and "Ayee"... even I joined in, although I have no clue what they mean.. .it sounded good though. Three minutes are left, the ball is bouncing around the Argentine goal... The grill operator squeezes his glass so hard it shatters... no one moves to clean it up or even aknowledges that they heard a sound. And then, a moment of silence before the cheer... it`s over... the first game of the Mundial for Argentina...

vances says:
Thanks for sharing a great experience...hope you treasure it always!
Posted on: Dec 07, 2006
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