Argentina is stuck in the 80's. It is alive AND well. EVERYWHERE. My haircut that i received two weeks ago has evolved into a nice, mini-mullet. Next, all I need to do is buy some of the very fashionable "MC Hammer" pants that all the ladies wear... they have crotches all the way down to their ankles. No, I am not joking.
The mullet is a sign of change for me. Change from what I was, to what I am becoming here in Argentina.
I am a year older. My birthday arrived a little over a week ago. It didn't seem like my birthday, or more, that a year had flown by since the last one. In my new white tank, I arrived to a completely decorated school just for my birthday. Remember when you were a kid and you took the time to cut multi-colored paper and made homemade streamers by looping them into circles? My friends did that for me. Pinks, greens, purples, blues and yellows filled the main entrance. Along with balloons. My teacher even brought me flowers.
This was my first birthday away from home. Even more importantly, it was my first b-day away from my dad. But from the moment I walked into the singing school, I had no doubt that my family was there with me on my birthday.
I sadly have no pictures of the occasion because they are on my dead computer. Though I can report I wore a hot pink crown all day. My friends sang Feliz Cumple five times between that morning at school (two times), once at my family's house for dinner (we had lamb) and then two more times out in town with all my friends.
A good friend of mine asked me what I wished for on my birthday. I actually have had the same b-day wish for the past 10 years. I can't tell you what it is... cause then it won't come true. But know, that it more than happened here in Bariloche.
A group of us went to Chile for a long weekend to celebrate. We rented a car. We drove. Well, one of my friends drove... the only one who can successfully drive a stick without throwing everyone out the window or making us vomit. It took four hours to get through border customs. 8 hours total each way. The town (Puerto Montt) was closed the whole day Sunday (our main day there), so we watched movies in English with Spanish subtitles.
The BEST thing that happened in Chile (besides all the really funny quotes from everyone from a 16 hour car ride) was the dinner we experienced. There were five of us. The menus were more or less in Spanish, but the Spanish in Chile has a lot of slang. A LOT of slang.
We ordered. We ordered more family style-- some big platters and everyone could have a little of everything. When the food arrived, we were quick to discover that we had ordered enough food for a small country. Pizza, papas fritas, fijitas, parrilla (a big pile of steak, potatoes and chicken) and that came with these pizza bite looking things... what else... in the end, we had to pull up another table because we had no more room. Ohhhhh, I wish I had pictures of that to post!! We sat there for over four hours attempting to eat the largely portioned food. I even un-buttoned my pants. ha!
I hiked Catedral with "the family" this past weekend. "The family" is the same group of people that went to Chile with me. We are all Americans attempting to learn a language that we desperately love. We are really beginning to speak in Spanish. More importantly, being to understand each other.
Something I appreciate about Bariloche is every single mountain and hike provides a different scenery and experience. This trail was long, but incredibly enjoyable and relaxing. It was more flat that steep. More dirt than rocks. We walked a path that split through a lush, green forest and along a river.
At the top of Catedral there is a lake and Refugio Frey. We spent the afternoon relaxing in the summer heat, while eating veggie torta (pie/cake) and sipping on tea or coffee. My same friend who drove the stick shift car for us in Chile, bought a kite that he wanted to try and fly on top the rock cliff, but he was unsuccessful in the flying part. The string would not stop breaking. I suppose that is what you get for 20 pesos (roughly 6 dollars).
My mind is racing with too much to share. I am going to stop this post and write another one tomorrow. Hopefully with pictures, too. If not, then close your eyes and image... let yourself float away to Argentina. I could use a visitor or two :) I am six weeks in. Seven more to go. Looking forward to every single day that I have left.