29-30 Oct, Travelling to Bariloche Patagonia, Argentina
Paula drove me to the bus to catch to the bus terminal. It was a rainy old day but i was fine with that. It was manageable with my bag. Jumped on the bus and the driver spoke to me and said he loved me. Yeah sure. They all say that. Apparently in this part of the world men will just say something out the window, even taxi drivers. So sexism is more visible here.
I managed to get off at the right spot and was grateful i found my way to the bus station the day before, as I recognised the plaze in front. I walked past all the street vendors. I was good for time, so bought some food and cough drops.
I waited for the bus and this sad looking guy comes up and asks for 25 pesos. He is trying to catch a bus. I said why don´t you have the money he says Í don´t have the money. I ended up giving it to him thinking there is no welfare system here. Then later when i went up to another guy to find out where to find my bus, he said the character who had approached me often was there asking for money. He said he was dangerous. I only gave him 5 pesos but said to the bloke that he has to make a choice beg here every day and lie to people or make a new choice. I find dishonesty is prevalent everywhere I go, particularly with taxi drivers.
I got on the bus and was relieved to lie down as I still feel exhausted. The trip was pleasant and the food was not too bad. The DVD´s are often American Fox or Disneyland features but mostly in spanish with no subtitles. So I just listen to my music and reflect.
I noticed a lady on the back seat I asked her the time and found she was American. We ended up sitting and having a coffee together. She is 62 years and has been in South America 20 to 30 years. Her father apparently left Alaska in fear of German nuclear bombing during the cold war. He decided to go to Patagonia in South America. She said it was a lot like Australia and I have to say I was surprised how similar. She had 3 children and she told me the story of her husband, a polygamist, she found out, who had two other marriages and children. Being a christian she forgave him and actually met the two wives and their kids. The children were half brothers and sisters. She told me she was a teacher and she taught with passion, really loved it. We had a wide ranging discussion. We talked about near death, she told me of a woman who had died and come back and for a time she didn´t know what she was to do here. She ended up helping homeless people, there was some resentment when crime rose in the city she was in but apparently she was just a wonderful humanbeing. The women ended up going to the north of Argentina and helped the indigenous population who were living in terrible conditions. I feel the indigenous have suffered a lot, but you can see that is the case across the world. There are many social problems in these communities she mentioned alcoholism with the Inuit or eskimo as they were called. This is the case with some Australian Aborgines who are unable to cope with the half caste status, this is an issue here as well. They don´t know who they are or where they belong, very confusing.
We spoke of UFO´s a topic she brought up, I had to laugh as I just talked about it the night before. She told me she had seen a UFO when a child and that she distinctly remembered seeing this saucer shaped object moving, at first thinking it was the moon and then realising with fear that it was a UFO. The dogs went crazy and her mother came in but she dare not tell her as her mum was very courageous and would have gone out there with a gun. She asked to sleep with her mum. In the morning she told her and they listened to the news, apparently there were many sightings. She said this area of Bariloche was known for UFO activity. It was a very interesting conversation.
This lady´s name was Theresa, I call her mother Theresa. She got off some hours later and the trip progressed quietly.
I noticed the next morning that Patagonia was definitely like Australia. I looked up into the sky and to my surprise could see a cloud formation exactly like south america. I pictured in my mind how Australia would have been originally part of this land mass. It was interesting to think this was my country too. Very large, flat and dry. I really felt a deeper connection to Australia through this experience.
As we travelled further south the land became more green. I saw a lot of poplar trees. Then it turned into interesting mountains that were dark brown and then larger mountains covered in snow. There were beautiful blue rivers and the landscape looked European the closer we got to Bariloche. It was very beautiful I was told when i arrived the snow was unusual it had just snowed.
Got to the bus terminal had no idea where i was staying. A couple heard me trying to ask and they suggested a hostel owned by an Irish couple. They said it only cost 6 to catch a taxi, i thought they meant peso, turns out it was $US. However, I just marvelled at the help I get, as I had no idea where to go or how big is Bariloche. But I am more confident to just see what happens. I jumped in a cab and i was charged 18 pesos. I didn´t have it on me and the hostel was booked out. So he stopped the meter and restarted it, took me to the bank and another hostel. He charged me more by turning on the meter and then charged more by taking my bag upstairs, i wondered at the time whether he was being kind. It was greed. I questioned him but he tried to dart around it. The hostel guy explained they still keep the meter running.
I had a conversation with him about honesty. I find so much dishonesty particularly in taxi drivers. I find the dishonesty and greed for money just spoils your time. Many are out for self interest and i said to the guy just imagine if we all had each other´s interests at heart. We are all out to do each other good. What a different world it would be. He said the main thing is you don´t be dishonest, I agreed but it just reinforces the system has it all wrong. To lead with values and make that your sense of success would be a dream if it was possible to convince people to focus differently.
The guy at the hostel is called Pavlo and is a really lovely guy and you can see he enjoys hostelling, I can see he is a genuine guy, very friendly. So he made up for the unethical taxi driver. He gave me brochures, there is some wonderful wilderness areas which I am keen to explore tomorrow.
I was starving and went out and bought some food as all the shops were shut. I did have a look at the houses and some of the trees were hundreds of years old. You can see the snow of the mountains and the lake at the bottom of the hill, really beautiful place but very chilly. It was around 5.30pm and I found out nothing was open because they are having a siesta, I forgot about that, they reopen around 8pm and they tend to eat late. So I bought ingredients and was able to cook at the hostel. My computer is still a problem but hopefully will be able to find someone to fix it. Pavlo said his friend is an IT person, so cross fingers.
Elena is German student here for a few months and undertaking her PhD here in biodiversity with a focus on woodpeckers. What was interesting about her work was that they are a key species, that is other species depend on the woodpecker, so if it goes so do others. Didn´t know that did you. She also has her concerns about how long the planet will last, as do many ecologists I speak to. The consumerism is too rampant, too many people and this does not seem to be reversing. We had a great chat about the world and where it is heading.
In the meantime she is now making me a herbal brew to help with my cold. I get it quite regularly as I am moving a lot and getting run down. So hopefully can shake it off overnight.
Anyway coughing too much and must have my tea. Nighty night and sweet dreams. Let´s dream a better world and take responsibility for all our actions. Why not practice a bit of honesty and kindness, where we think about what we can give rather how much money we can get. Oh that is my dream, a shift in consciousness.