Archive for December, 2011
Posted on December 31, 2011 by jason
We ended up staying an extra day in Junin de los Andes because the main road south was blocked by protestors burning tires across a bridge. Always with the tire burning. There were a few police idly watching, so we knew things weren’t going to change very soon. I was a little surprised they would let these guys make a big fire in the middle of the highway, but everything’s a little different here.
We asked a few folks what the protest was about and they just shrugged and said ‘there’s always a protest’. Not very effective if no one knows what your protesting.
When we finally got out of town we headed to San Martin and turned up towards Lago Lolog. Two of our guidebooks said the camp site up here was free, but we arrived to find it was just more overpriced National Park camping. It looked nice, but I was a bit bummed because I was expecting a freebie. In general, the guide books are either lacking or inaccurate when it comes to camping. And, they just seem to copy each other. Time for the BodesWell guides? I think this is how Rick Steves got started.
We turned around and found plenty of boondocking options right on the lake, but we decided to keep looking.
We ended up at a campsite on Lago Lacar, just south of San Martin. It was packed for the weekend, but everyone left once it got dark and we had the windy shoreline to ourselves.
Ever have trouble keeping track of what day it is? We do. Maybe you should check out the 2012 GoWesty Calendar. Red Beard is featured with a full-page spread. We don’t know which month, but we’re sure it’s a good one.
Posted on December 28, 2011 by angela
We decided to stay in San Martin del los Andes for Christmas. The weather had been bad earlier in the week, keeping us inside a lot, but the storm was finally passing through. Perfect for hanging out at the lake in town.
We found out that our friend Baptiste – aka French Guy on a Bike – was also in town. We had met him on our boat crossing from Panama to Colombia. We stopped by his hostel on Christmas Eve to say hi. So, it’s official, we travel as fast a bike. Actually, slower. Baptiste has already been to Brazil.
We had invited him to Christmas Dinner. In true Argentinean style, Christmas dinner was at 9:30 pm.
The dinner itself was a testament to patience. We had no oven, only a 2 burner stove (1 burner only went on low) and a microwave (we haven’t seen one of these in a long time). I started the day before on a stove top stuffing recipe I found online. I had to substitute a few things we couldn’t find here, including replacing celery with a celery looking vegetable we haven’t identified.
We also baked a mystery squash that ended up being quite delicious. It’s green on the outside, orange in the middle, but about the size of a pumpkin.
All the stores were closed on Christmas Day, so when I found out the others were coming, I looked around and made due with what we had. Tomato and onion salad with a bit of white vinegar. The mashed potatoes were easy enough, just a matter of battling for the good burner. Our pavito was about the size of a large chicken. Jason cut it and put it in a brine on Christmas eve. The next day he basically covered it in honey and steamed the thing all day. Since it didn’t really fit in our biggest pot, he crammed it in with a rock on top. He was quite pleased with himself.
In the end, dinner was incredible. The moistest turkey I’ve ever eaten. Overall, I think we knocked it out of the park on the meal and enjoyed Christmas with friends.
Posted on December 25, 2011 by angela
Although it has been a great holiday season–void of malls and panicked shopping, we are still missing our families today. We asked my Mom to write a guest blog for us today, and she wrote about our early Christmas back in October.
Shameless plug: Just in case you need any last minutes gifts, you can download her award-winning novel, The Secrets On Forest Bend, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Soul Mate Publishing. And, her Christmas novella Redeeming Santa, is available at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.
Christmas is where you find it. This year I found it in October when Team Rehm came home for the holidays. We put up the tree, hung the stockings, and cooked the turkey. Bode e-mailed me his Christmas list. I printed it off and mailed it to Santa with instructions as to when and where.
Bode must have been very good this year. Christmas morning we were awash in Star Wars Legos. He had a big space ship, a smaller space ship, and a helicopter. There were pilots, droids, and the dreaded Clone Commander Rex.
He spent Christmas afternoon assembling his new Legos, then he wanted to play with them. The next three days found me sitting on the hardwood floor playing with him. I, of course, was the bad guy. He got the new Legos while I had the old, left-over odds and ends that stay at my house.
He had a full air force plus a large catapult, an army, brick fortifications, and various weapons. I had a dune buggy, two men with spears, and a bowlegged guy with a sword who couldn’t stand up on his own. I mentioned that he was better equipped than I was. He gave me a short, stumpy guy to be my general.
First, he declared, we should set up. This took him quite a while. Me, not so long, although I did point to his brick wall and mention that my guys had nothing to hide behind. He gave me a palm tree. Maybe we should have the actual war tomorrow, he said. I agreed and invited his general over for dinner. We sat around a campfire and roasted wieners and marshmallows. His general brought over his son, the Prince. My general bowed and acted impressed.
My two spear guys joined us for dinner, but bowlegged sword guy remained on duty, leaning against a box. Then it was night and our armies should rest for the big battle tomorrow. My guys, except for poor bowlegged sword guy, still acting as sentry, lay down on the floor.
That was when Bode unleashed his SECRET WEAPON. A crocodile. The crocodile slipped past my palm tree and bit bowlegged sword guy. But not hard. He wasn’t hurt.
The next day we started over and did the same things. Only this time he brought over all his spaceships and my general admired them and said how nice it must be to have an air force. He brought over a motorcycle, but he had to hold his man on it. But, HA HA, bowlegged sword guy fit right on it and rode around. Bode looked surprised, but was very gracious. He said we could borrow it until time for the battle.
The next day was their last day so we decided to have the battle. There was much swooping around by spaceships and helicopters. My guy’s spears turned into lasers and shot at the aircraft, but they must have had bad aim because nothing happened and my men were knocked over (surprisingly difficult for bowlegged sword guy because he was still leaning against a box) but no one was hurt.
All new Legos were packed into plastic freezer bags and taken to Chile. The old Legos went back into the Don’t Mess with Texas lunchbox and were carried upstairs to wait for next Christmas. But I must insist on some changes next year. For one thing, we’re going to have to play in a room with carpet. After three days on the floor, I could barely stand up. But more important, next time, I want that crocodile!
Posted on December 23, 2011 by jason
We’ve been hanging out and literally watching the snow melt. It’s nice and warm both day and night, but the lake is pretty chilly.
Since we had luck snorkeling in the crystal clear rivers around here, we figured we could spot some trout in the lake too. But, we all decided it was a bit too cold for anything but a quick dip. In the morning, the trucha literally jump out of the water, so we can watch them while we drink our jo.
Although we are inside National Park land, most of the area is private property – all belonging to the local Mapuche who the Argentinean government swiped the land from in the first place. At least they allowed them to keep living here, which a bit more generous than how other countries (my own, especially) treat(ed) the indigenous people that were there first. Since it’s now more or less government owned, there is a booth at the entrance where you have to pay something like $20 USD to enter. That booth seems to be the only infrastructure in the ‘park’.
For camping, we have to deal with the locals, which is fine by us. Our spot is absolutely incredible, and again, we have it all to ourselves. It even comes with an outhouse. In the evening, a local Mapuche guy comes down to collect a fee for using his land. I’ve got no problem putting cash in this guy’s hand, but the park ‘ranger’ back at the toll booth – I’m not really sure where that money is going. I think the best plan is to only enter the park one time and then stay for a while. After your government entrance fee, everything in the park is involves dealing directly with the locals.
Posted on December 21, 2011 by jason
If you have a Chianti Red ’71 VW bus and you drive it from Junin de los Andes to the end of Lago Huechulafquen, your photos might look like this…
Posted on December 20, 2011 by angela
I’ve figured out why this area is a fly fishing mecca. The fish have big appetites. The flies are enormous, and they bite. Luckily, they are very loud and very slow so it’s pretty easy to wave them away (and usually hit them) before they take a hunk out of your skin.
We did a cursory look into going fly-fishing, but Bode didn’t seem too interested and the cost was pretty high for a couple of cheapskates like us. Instead, we dug out our snorkels and went eye-fishing. Jason caught one that was 20 cm.
Luckily, there was a guy pesca de mosca at our campsite so we could enjoy the experience without the investment. Within 30 seconds of catching a small trout, the fish police were on him to make sure he had a permit. He did, and the small fish was thrown back in.
And, apparently, one of the keys to being a fly fisherman is having a snappy vest.
Posted on December 19, 2011 by angela
Junin de los Andes was the first small town we reached in Argentina. It’s world-renowned for fly-fishing.
We hung out at the river in town all day. It was quiet and relaxing in the morning, but as soon as school let up more and more folks starting showing up. Hundreds of kids, but only a few inner tubes. We have to hand it to Bode – he tried diligently to get a ride. It was a fun for a while, but when the drunks started bugging us, we headed a few miles out of town to camp.
Another river, another batch of kids. The weather has been so warm it is hard to believe folks back home are in the middle of Christmas shopping.
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