Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Back in Bariloche and a group of overlanders.

After Marcela, Mariano and Pelusa dropped us back at Bariloche, Winston and I settled into the same routine as before. We would take walks on the beach, to the park and store and socialize with people both camping around us and who live at Petunia. Just for a change of pace, I would go into the town of Bariloche to check out the stores and have lunch somewhere. The campground is much quieter now as we are approaching mid February. It is also my birthday and it felt strange spending it alone. I cooked a good Argentinean steak with salad and mushrooms and even picked up a small chocolate dessert. I also got our taxes completed and submitted online. For the record, I filed right before Presidents Day weekend in the States and, via direct deposit we received our California state tax refund in 5 working days and the federal in 13. I would term that as quite efficient. And so the days were passing until…there I was one day down by the office on the internet when a pickup camper with California license plates drove past me, and then another with Washington plates, and then a third with Florida plates. Huh!! As I walked back to the RV, I passed the one from Washington. A young woman beside it asked me if I had the American RV. When I said yes, she introduced herself. Lauren and her husband James have driven the west coast down from the States. She then told me that within the next two days, possibly 10 vehicles with maybe about 25 people would be arriving. Mostly Americans but with a spattering of Germans and South Africans, driving the same route as us. Sure enough, within two days the original 6 had grown to over 20 people, mostly young Americans travelling in camper-style pickups. There was a couple from South Africa with two children Jessica and Keelan, who loved hanging out in the motorhome with myself and Winston, a few Germans and one couple who was backpacking and staying in hostels and cabanas. I admit I infiltrated amongst them. Hungry for English conversation, hungry for American companionship and hungry for information about the route back up the west coast of South America. Having come down the east coast, Tom and I are in the minority. Most overlanders arrive at Cartagena, Colombia and hang a right down the Pacific not turn left along the Caribbean coast and then south through Venezuela and Brazil. There was a huge assado (barbeque) planned for that Sunday. Permission was asked for and received from Juan and a pit was dug. A whole lamb, a whole pig and a full rack of beef ribs were on the menu. One of the ladies Jessica had a sign-up sheet for appetizers, sides and desserts. I offered to bring an appetizer plate of Patagonian delights. Smoked ciervo (venison), smoked trout and smoked jabali (a type of wild boar), in addition to cheeses and pates. However the evening before after much wine was consumed, someone mentioned roasted garlic potatoes. Having imbibed and shared much of that wine, I readily offered to make them. Thankfully, I did get help peeling all the potatoes. I also offered our oven for Lauren and Jill to make cookies for dessert. I can only add that the assado was amazing, the side dishes were excellent and there was enough food left for the following day. What a treat and I don’t mean just the food!! The amount of wine consumed was also copious and come Monday morning I don’t think I was the only person lagging a little. Monday and Tuesday passed by with more sharing of experiences, emails, food and wine. By Wednesday everyone had left and I felt a little sad but having exchanged contact information with most of them, there is a possibility that I will meet some of them again on the trail. It is now only a few more days before Tom gets back from the States. The overland gang was sorry to have missed him and hopes to meet up with us sometime in the months ahead.

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