El Campo (the farm)
We rejoin our hero as he has just missed his flight to southern Patagonia on account of the infamous ¨Grilled Cheese Incident.¨ Our intrepid adventurer decided to punish himself for this egregious misdeed by taking on an unprecedented (for him) mission: actual manual labor. That´s right, the gringo from NY who´s dad is wont to say ¨See these hands; they write checks¨decided to get down and dirty and earn his keep.
My friend Olivia had told me about a cool organic farm outside of El Bolson called Chacra El Cielo (www.chacraelcielo.com.ar) where she´d had a great experience, so off I headed. (BTW, I´ve since learned there´s a whole culture of ¨wwoofing¨in which people seek out organic farms to work on in various countries--www.wwoof.org).
Here´s the entrance to the farm.
Here are Nano and Rosa (with daughter) who run the farm.
Their story is pretty crazy. Rosa is from the States (outside of Philly and New Hampshire). She came to Argentina about six years ago, fell in love with the place, loved this farm, and decided she didn´t want to come back to the U.S. But, she needed permanent resident status. Nano was running this farm for someone else. He had recently been involved with a married Uraguyan woman. When that broke off, he agreed to marry Rosa so she could stay--but they had never had ¨relations,¨as he said. Well, that changed on their wedding night and they now have two children, Dante and Solame.
On my first night there, I met Maja (from Sweden) and Lisandro and Leandro from Rosario (Argentina). Here´s my first real experience drinking mate. Mate is basically a type of tea and it is an Argentinian obsession. Many Argentines will go nowhere without a cup and a thermos of hot water.
Lisandro and Leandro were just passing through, so I spent the first day working alone--widening a ditch alongside the house to prevent water from seeping in during the wet winter. The next night, David (Austin, Texas) and Eduardo (Madrid, Spain) arrived. For the next couple of days the three of us attacked that ditch and took no prisoners. Then, the last day, we cleared some vegetation (yup, I used a machete). Here are some pics to prove that I actually engaged in said manual labor:
I know what you´re thinking: he´s wearing the same clothes in all the pics, so clearly he just worked for one day and is trying to pass it off like he really did something. No, I worked four days; I just wore the same clothes every day.
On Friday afternoon, we packed some food headed down to the river for the afternoon. Here are some pics from that little adventure:
Saturday, I headed back to Bariloche to take a second try at catching an early morning flight to El Calafate to see the famous Perito Moreno glacier. Happily I made this flight and write from southern Patagonia. More on this place later...