Route 40, Day 2 – North by Bus to Bariloche

March 18, 2012. Still need to add pictures, but…

Last night, the people on the bus stayed at the Hotel Belgrano in Porto Moreno. It was relly cool. David, Nicole and I – who by now know each other quite well – got a room with three beds in it (no bunkbeds)! We had our own bathroom to share amongst us, and the towels provided were awesome! The hostel we had been at in El Chaltén didn’t provide towels, so I had been using my washcloth size travel towel to dry off for almost a week… to have a real towell again was so nice.

We were also hungry. The bus had stopped 3 times during the day, but none of those stops offered much in the way of food. So, David, Nicole, and I were joined by my seatmate (Marian from Germany) for dinner. Mariam is a great guy. Very laid back and easy-going, he was quite respectful of those around him throughout the day. I was really glad he came to dinner with us. He also has a way of making things simple, as his Spanish abilities are far superior to the rest of ours. For dinner, David and I shared a large plate of meat (parilla) that was placed on the table with hot coals underneath. It was delicious. Our waitor had been in town for 3 months. He and his family came to Porto Moreno for work, and he said he was doing much better money-wise than he was able to do back home in the country of Paraguay. He also warned me about crime in his native country. A number of people have given me that same warning. I think I’m better off to wait and go to that country someday when I have friends along and I’m not traveling alone.

The bus ride today only has 30km of gravel. We should have smooth sailing, and the coordinator today speaks English pretty well and has a great sense of humor. David and I are no longer seat-mates. There is now a guy from Slovakia sitting here and David is in the back. Given how nice it was to ride with him yesterday, that is a bit of a bummer. It is a nice day with some high clouds in the sky, though, and I’m sure all will go well.

…and it did. Perfect. After Esquiel, the terrain began to change. Pine trees appeared, and impressive mountains like those we say in Glacier NP appeared. Below them were shimmering lakes – crystal clear. As we worked our way to Bariloche, I spent a number of kilometers riding on ‘the hump’ of the bus next to the driver and standing down in the well as if I were about to get off the bus. It was impressive, and I got excited to be in an area that – at least geographically – reminded me of home!

When we got to Bariloche, the bus dropped us off in the middle of town on themaindrag – Avenida Moreno. I had to walk about 5 blocks to my hotel, The Dazzler. I had reserved a hotel room because I was unsure of how tired I’d be after the 2 day bis ride and I wanted a good night’s sleep before my language classes were scheduled to begin… The bathroom in my hotel room had an opaque blue glass wall, meant to represent the glacial ice of the Porto Moreno Glacier. Having recently seen the glacier myself, though, this glass wall was pretty unimpressive in relative terms!