Monday, September 20, 2010

Bariloche dispatch #2

Greetings friends and family,

As of recent, Pili received an amazing gift from her father.... a NEW CAR! Or, new to us anyway. There will be much less waiting for bus to come in snow or high frigid winds. We can visit places on the weekends... etc. It is a red Fiat Duna, a 2006 deisel. And so, since Pili is still practicing her driving for her test this coming Friday, I have been driving, as I have my international driver's license. We have been to two really ocol places so far: Villa Angustora, and El Bolson.

Angostura is about an hour away by car. As the crow flies, you can almoast see it from Bariloche across Lago Nahuel Huapi, but as the road heads east, then north, and curves back west, it is a windy circumnavigation of the lake. But, imagine... rural Wyoming, the foothiils before the Grand Tetons? That is the landscape east of Bariloche.

To the south? El Bolson, home of organic, local food movements, a full community recycling program, a hippy-fair every weekend the weather is good, where Pili bought some beautiful ear rings, and a bracelet of silver. Home of the local amazing icecream company: Jauja (pronounced: ''How- Ha.'' Simply amazing. The drive south? Imagine a combination of Western Washington State, meandering to the Kenai Peninsula in a matter of 4 hours. Breath taking.

I have begun volunteering at Colegio Del Sol, where Pili teaches 4th grade in the afternoon in English, and 2nd grade in the mornings in Spanish. Buenisimo! MY volunteering consists of preparing short lessons (30 min.) teaching students about the environment. We have started simple. With trash. For now, there are two programs going on in Bariloche: 1) at the Basurero (the dump) there are workers whose sole job is to separate organic refuse from reusable/recyclable materials. The recyclable materials are then sent to various locations around Argentina to be recycled. 2) The public is encouraged to separate their prganics from in-organic materials for waste so that the Basureros (workers at the dump) can have an easier time splitting things up.

I have been teachign kids at Colegio Del Sol why separating is helpful, how they can separate the trash in their house, and other little trash tips as well. The next few lessons wille explore a)where does our food come from? and b) what happens to our trash after we send it away to the basurero?

Also, Margarita continues to get bigger and bigger. I will be sure to include some photos of her in this post, as well as some photos I took just this morning of Bariloche. The photos are mostly of two distinct locations in Bariloche: Cerro Otto, named after one of the early German settlers who crafted some of the first nordic skis --Otto, it is his old house which is now a museum. Cerro Otto lingers in early morning clouds as a Shangri-La type feels sets in. Also, photos of Cerro Catedral, the local ski resort, as morning sun casts beautiful light on route 82, the road our house is on.

I think that's the general skinny for now..... Enjoy!


(1) Lago Guitierrez w- Cerro Ventana on the left in clouds, and a mountain ridge on the right leading to Frey and on to Tronador. This is literally a 5 minute walk from my house in Bariloche

(2) Margarita is SO BIG!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bariloche update 1

Things I did:

Got introduced to the Bariloche bouldering gym. SCORE.

Started an eight-week course on climate change and global warming, with a global focus but also
pertinent to Bariloche\Argentina. All in Spanish. Wow.

Am volunteering at Colegio Del Sol as the curtain person\ techie for the kids' end of year musical

Went skiing at Corre Catedral one day. No Poles. On Purpose. On Tele. Awesome.

Pictures and videos to follow chicos...



Friday, September 3, 2010

Hola De San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina!

Back to the land o' lakes, and I'm not talkin' 'bout Minnesota...

I landed safely, touching down shortly after 1:45 pm in Bariloche, only to have my friends Maria & Eduardo pick me up at the airport - que bueno! And after that? We went to El Colegio Del Sol, where Pili is a 4th grade teacher...

Her students remembered me from my last visit to which a few exclaimed ''It's Kevin! Kevin is here!'' and, as Pili had her back to the classroom door, she looked over her shoulder in GREAT surprise! Yesssss..... Together again Otra Vez!

Before departing for Argentina, I climbed for three days with some good friends from North Carolina, and then headed up to Morgantown, W.V., where I saw MORE good friends. Our friend Forrest's band (The Soul Miners) played through the night as we boogied and caught up. I had the good fortune to meet the fiancee of my good friend Mary Brys, el, se llama ''Christian.'' The next morning it was breakfast at Bob Evan's and it was off to visit Greg and Emily Corio and their little boy Bryce, who is getting bigger by the day!

Speaking if getting bigger by the day, Pili's daughter, Margarita? Wow. SO BIG! I will post some pohots to follow this post...

After a slightly stressful drive home, due to the long story of me losing my wallet for 24 hours, I finally made it home to Manassas, where my parents still live. Reason being for my stressful drive is that during the time span of my lost wallet, I cancelled by bank card, thus nixing my ability to withdsrawal cash from an ATM. Therefore, writing paper checks is such an archaic method of payment with today's technology, that there were a few close calls with a quarter tank of gas, at 1130 pm, with an electronic check proceessor that repeatedly rejected my paper checks... ARGH!!!! FInally, I sucked it up and went to a BP. I know. BP! I get it... but at midnight after driving for over 7 hours back and forth across all of WV and VA, I just told myself it was a private gas station, subsidizing their fuel stock from before the oil spill, and that... they couldn't be held accountable for something that BP, HALIBURTON; and TRANSOCEAN did to our earth.

So... that was that, and then I made it to my folks house, several hours later.

Life down here? Is going to be exciting. It is still darn chilly in the mornings as Spring attempts to make an appearance only in the afternoons... it is still dark until about 815 am, and

Well, that's just the quick update, more to follow you crazy peeps I care about so much!

Until then, Hasta luego!


Super Margarita!

The House! Small, but comfy - beautiful!

Margarita is ready for school!