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¡Bueno from Bariloche, Argentina!

We left Santiago and flew to Patagonia; Puerto Montt to be exact, at the northern end. The climate there is much different. In Patagonia, the wind is the main weather factor. Saw the first of many volcanoes (according to our guide, there are over 1,000 in Chile).  Then, over a three day period, we meandered our way to Bariloche, Argentina (and the Llao Llao, check it out at http://llaollao2-px.trvlclick.com/ing/hotel.asp ) Llao Llao is an amazingly wonderful property in the Switzerland of South America--surrounded by the Andes, lakes, and trees. For a point of reference for this resort, prior readers, note... think the Wharekauhau in the North Island of New Zealand.  A brief linguistics break.  The name of the resort is pronounced "yao yao" when you are referring to it from Chile...but once you’re in Argentina, it is "zhao zhao", go figure. Also, linguistically speaking, my knowledge of French is helpful here in terms of reading but does not help in speaking one bit.   

So, the trip here?  A combination of buses, more buses, a broken-down bus, boats, more boats, and a plane.  The geography on the way here, crossing the Andes, was spectacular--a combination of the Road to Hana and New Zealand yet more rugged, and quite chilly. Waterfalls, snow-capped mountain tops, volcanoes, emerald lakes, blue lakes ,bubbling brooks, beautiful blue skies, etc., perfect weather.  The tour guide put me (Wendy) in charge of the weather (I guess I looked like I needed more to do) and so far it’s cooperating. He’s in charge of everything else. (Geography note: this is only northern Patagonia, so my assumption is that it is only more rugged the further south you go.)  Along the way, we sailed Lake Toda Los Santos into Vincente Perez Rosales National Park to Peulla, a place of primeval forests.  Only 120 residents there.  We had a choice of various Andean adventures, we chose a 4X4 tour (think Boston Duck boats without the attitude).  Our three  favorite parts of this tour were (1) when the llama from the farm we were visiting jumped over the fence, (2) the chocolate brown alpaca, would look great in a sweater, but itchy, and (3) a quiet moment on the Rio Negro--we transferred to a pontoon boat--when our guide turned off the motor and we listened to nature for five minutes  Imagine that, no talking!  During this time, we saw condors flying over head and heard frogs, other birds, and who knows what else.  It was uplifting and spiritual. Another highlight during the trek here was a (what we thought would be a lovely) walk yesterday morning until a wild boar came out of the woods and began to amble toward us.  Of course, having a strong survival instinct, I ran for the hotel while Wayne lingered to get the perfect photo.  It was only after 2 minutes of uninterrupted screaming on my part that Wayne decided to come back to the hotel.  whew! 

What about the food?  Well, they kept touting the salmon (again a primary export of Chile, so sorry Andrew).  So, lots of that. Also, Wayne is in heaven as the only vegetables served regularly are corn and potatoes.  Wayne had a tasty dish, corn pie with beef, chicken, olives, onions, and sweet caramelized top.  Apparently, our local guide added sugar to his as they adore their sugar.  The other meals (until we reached this property) were absolutely unmemorable, except for a bout with maggots in a turkey/ham slice, not ours, luckily.  We promise more appetizing food details in the next issue.

with that, we leave you for now.  We head to Buenos Aires tomorrow for the first real shopping of the trip--chocolate and leather which I expect to be an absolutely splendid combination. 

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