The "host" of the tour group is Diego, who did his job very well in keeping the group informed and entertained. Soon after he learned that we could not speak Spanish he introduced us to Fabrisio, a young man on the tour with his wife, who has been very helpful in acting as translator.
Diego asked the passengers to introduce themselves and say something about themselves. We learned that there is a baker and his wife who are taking her younger brother on the traditional high school graduation trip that he never had. There were two women who have known have known each other and fought over the same man since childhood. The man didn't marry either of them and he's dead now, but they said with a laugh that they are still fighting over him.
Then there was the man who made the tactical blunder of telling everyone on the bus that he is on the tour with his partner who has been hounding him to commit himself to marriage and has given him August as the ultimatum. Then the pressure began. Everyone on the bus chanted "Si, Si, Si ..." for him to marry her. The baker offered to provide the wedding cake, the hair dresser offered to do the bride's hair, describing at some length what she would do to it (complete with streaks in her hair). Ahead of us was a hotel worker who offered a free room for their wedding night.
When it was my turn I stood up with Fabrisio at my side and said "Hola" to the attentive faces, then"Mi nombre es Roberto Jose Morales." and "Naci en San Juan Puerto Rico." This was very well received, with a few knowing nods. Then with Fabrisio interpreting I explained how I had been forced to sail to Argentina to repair damage from rounding Cape Horn, and that I was glad at the unplanned visit because it gave me a chance to see what a large and beautiful country is Argentina, and the wonderful people who live here. This was well received with applause, and in fact I meant every word of it. Brenda then said a few words and was asked if she's been accompanying me on the boat in the circumnavigation.
We stopped for food in the late afternoon but decided to rely on the snacks that we had brought with us because dark was approaching and we would have dinner soon. In fact we had dinner at 11.30 PM.
We travelled all night and in the morning could see that the pampas were behind us and now we were in more hilly country. Then we saw a snow capped volcano in the distance and were soon passing fresh water lakes and rivers. On the way through the pampas country we had seen a few of the emu-like birds, Rheas, and this morning in the high country we saw a Llama, some deer, and some large bright pink birds which Brenda believes to be Roseate Spoonbills.
Just before noon we arrived at the hotel here in San Martin de los Andes. After the splendor of the Tourbillon Hotel at Iguazu we found the accommodation much more modest, but that's travelling for you. Because we've been placed down stairs next to the lobby we have excellent internet service in our room.
|San Martin de los Andes|
|Black Faced Ibis near creek in San Martin|
San Martin is a very picturesque town with quaint and beautiful buildings, many in European alpine styles, beautifully maintained parks, and great access to Lake Lacar, a long lake that seems to stretch for miles.