Tag Archives: Argentina

Bubba rides the bus

Well, in England you’d call it a coach. Entry from travel journal, Bariloche 17/06, on bus waiting to leave for Mendoza:

The bus from Bariloche to Mendoza was pretty empty. Bubba had managed to get a few more pesos together to afford a “cama executiva” and settled into his seat/bed and waited for the bus to leave Bariloche. A gorgeous Argentinian woman with the most beautiful eyes this side of the Andes was sitting across the isle from him. She wore a tight low cut blouse and in between her ample breasts was nestled a big fat christian cross. The bus started moving. Bubba sneaked a peek at her across the isle and crossed himself feverishly as the driver pulled away from the depot.

Looking out the window in Neuquén, Bubba was disgusted by the site of two policemen, yeah, MALE, kissing each other on the cheek. It was like a real-life Banksy. He was however, blown away by the beauty of some of the female police officers he had seen in Argentina. “This is a country I wouldn’t be afraid of breaking the law in“, he thought.

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The Bariloche Files

In the travel journal entry from the 15th of June, I’m writing from my daytrip to San Martin de los Andes and the 7 lakes. This was my worse day in Argentina. Probably the only bad day of the whole trip. It inspired the little story, Bubba de los Andes though, and I learned a few interesting facts about the Mapuche and saw some great scenery, but…

It’s interesting how boring the people you meet traveling are. Incredible. It’s a reflection of society. I would’ve expected that people who like travelling are more interesting. Not so. The percentages of boring people are the same as in normal society, in the high 90’s.

How stupid people are. This is also a reflection of society in general, everywhere in the world. The first old fat guy who got off at this first stop, who’s sitting in the first row, decided to stand and stretch once he stepped down off the bus! So everyone else coming from behind had to say “excuse me” and walk around him and prod him to get off the damn vehicle…

Bariloche is a terribly boring little town. Touristic. These fucken’ happy excited Brazilians are getting on my nerves. Where are the crazy, miserable people of Buenos Aires?

What a fucken’ nightmare. What were you thinking Spiro? Why book these bloody excursions? Tomorrow I’m skipping my booked excursion and taking the bus to a nature reserve (Llao Llao) near Bariloche. They said I can spend 3 hours on a hike in there if I want.

I wrote bits for the Bubba de los Andes story, and this line, but it doesn’t really fit in the story:

Bubba can you spare a dime?

The next day at Llao Llao was great and all the above general observations were completely shredded to pieces. I met some really interesting intelligent people. The Australian guy who’s wife was in Buenos Aires dancing Tango and had had enough of the big city so decided to get the bus to Bariloche for a few days to go on hikes like this. He’s a swimming instructor in Melbourne, where apparently, within a 5 mile radius which covers his area of work there are 4 public pools, of which 3 are olympic size 50 metre pools! We hiked pretty much every available path on this little peninsula.

We bumped into a Canadian couple of biologists who had just finished their degrees and were planning, upon returning to Vancouver/BC to apply for further studies. They had been to a wedding in Brazil where the girls cousin had married a Brazilian, in Goiania. According to them the Pantanal was the best part of their trip, but they are biologists, and so were in their element.

The bus stop to get back into Bariloche is at the foot of what is apparently one of the most expensive, exclusive hotels in Argentina. It didn’t seem that luxurious from the outside, but the setting is spectacular indeed. At the bus stop after the hike, our now 4-strong group, bumped into 3 Singaporeans who I had met in the hostel in Bs As. They were also very interesting, very intelligent people. What was that rubbish you were talking about yesterday Spiro? It wasn’t me! It was Bubba!

The girl is a photojournalist and one of the guys a … writing journalist. They were going around Brasil and Argentina taking photos and writing articles which they hoped to sell when they got back to Singapore and cover part of their trip’s expenses. Only a small part mind you, in the best case. They insisted that I had to see the view from Cerro Campanario and so I got off the bus on the way back to Bariloche, together with the Canadian guy from that lovely couple, got on the ski lift and we saw a most spectacular view.

That was my best day in Bariloche and another great day in Argentina. The people I met that day were wonderful, and they were all travellers. I even briefly met another couple on the way to Llao Llao that gave me a tip for a hostel to stay in Mendoza, where I eventually did end up in and where I met a load of locals as well as more travellers. But more about that later…

Back to the current day: it’s Saturday the 12th of June; these are my last few days in Porto Alegre. I’m getting sad. I can’t be everywhere at once though. I’m sure I’m gonna have a great time in Curitiba, where I’m going on Tuesday for a few days, then on to São Paulo again for a day or so and then Penedo in Rio de Janeiro state to spend next weekend. I’ll be in Rio de Janeiro on the 21st July for this, and will fly back to London on the 27th… Boo hoo…

Take your hat off to the man who’s got the plan

Jonathan Richman’s got a new album out! Can’t wait to get my hands on this one. It’s been a long time and I was starting to get worried.

Travel journal entry from 13th June, Bs As:

He’s the man, with the plan
Got ten counterfeit pesos in his hand
Heeeee’s Bubba Triiiiibunales…

… to the tune of Stevie Wonder’s He’s Misstra Know-it-all

Can replace “Misstra Know-It-All” with “Bubba Tribunales” on all the lyrics, except for the whole cash thing. Bubba is just a petty criminal. And he only does his little malandragems to get by, to survive, to see another day and another city and bottle of red wine. He’s a lovable rogue even, unlike the big-time gangster banker stockbroker described in that awesome song.

So far, the journal entries may give the impression that I was in a cynical mood in Argentina and didn’t like the place that much. That’s far from true. I loved the place. The people are amazing, some of the landscape is the most spectacular I’ve ever seen and Buenos Aires is my new favorite city on the planet. I’ll write more from the travel journal where I hope some of my admiration for the place shows through. It’s interesting for me too, rereading the journal. Actually it’s probably interesting ONLY for me. In Buenos Aires, where everyone goes to the therapist, I realised that that’s what this blog is; a form of therapy, for Bubba of course, who could do with some, even though he’d never accept it. Just pray he doesn’t start going on about his childhood…

Argentina

60 mins Portugal-Turkey 0-0 Off to Buenos Aires with a friend tomorrow. Probably a week there and a week travelling towards Patagonia. Will see how far into Patagonia, hopefully until Bariloche at least. Then off to São Paulo on the 26th of June. Not sure after that where, but maybe Rio, maybe Parati or Ubatuba, almost definitely Floripa, and then back to Porto Alegre.

67 mins Portugal-Turkey 1-0 Didn’t have any alcohol for 106 days but had a glass of champagne yesterday and then some white wine sangria. Couldn’t refuse, would be too rude. Was at the home of one of my new friends parents house. A great older couple. They were drinking & smoking intellectuals & artists. I said no thank you to the red wine, but had to have some of the champagne when it was put in front of me. How could I refuse? Teatotal day count: 1.

86 mins Portugal-Turkey 1-0 Maybe I go to Salta. That sounds nice and a friend who went travelling to Argentina recently said she liked it there, if I remember correctly. The Brazilian commentators are great. Very passionate. “Grita Filipão”, “keep on shouting, big Phil”…

93 mins Portugal-Turkey 2-0 It’s all over.