It’s taken a bit of time but this is the first of, what I hope, will be regular updates on my South American trip. I`m making leaps an bounds on the new media front – I’ve joined Facebook (boo!) and have started a blog.
I`ve been on the road for just over a month, having left London on a beautiful winter’s day with really mixed emotions . I`ve done a lot of growing up in London and seen the world from there. I know it better now than I know NZ and I’ve been so fortunate to form life-long relationships with such special people.
Enough of the emotional bit! On arriving in Buenos Aires, a mate of mine, Guy, and I hired a car and drove to the coastal town of Mar del Plata for the wedding of Leo and Romina. It was awesome to experience a Latin wedding – dancing (of which I partook begrudgingly at first but warmed up to the idea) was compulsory. We had bbq, Latin style, for the wedding breakfast and the celebrations spanned 4 days. It was all really fun, I made a speech in English and Romina’s brother translated. I think/hope I didn’t offend anyone, although as many of the guests didn’t speak English, they wouldn’t have been able to tell me if I did!
Next, Guy, another mate, Jeoffrey, and I headed to Mendoza. It was hot, the steak was perfect and we were in the heart of Malbec country. A drunken wine tasting tour on bike was followed by white water rafting and then Jeoffrey peeled off back to London. Guy and I were off to Bariloche in the lake district at the top of Patagonia.
Bariloche is very cool. It`s set on a lake and surrounded by them. It attracts loads of backpackers to tramp (hiking for the English amongst you) and hangout. It`s all very laid back and here we had a healthy combo of climbing very high mountains and getting very drunk – all part of a balanced life. Was totally blown away by the scale of the Andes and the beauty of the place.
The tramping served a duel purpose – to explore the utter beauty of the place and, on a more practical level, to halt the growth of my belly which expanded at an alarming rate in November and December.