My New Home: Patagonia
April 8, 2012
I arrived in Patagonia one week ago.
In the last week I’ve learned a lot of things:
How to make Maté.
How to ride a horse.
How to drive stick shift.
How to make Ñaco.
What Ñaco is.
How to make Tortas Fritas.
That cow feed will go bad if it gets rained on.
That gauchos don’t like spicy food (ie garlic powder or curry).
That out in the middle of nowhere, people resort to gossip and sex for entertainment.
That living without electricity is kinda fun.
That I love goat meat.
That wasps love goat meat.
This is just a short list. I’ve also picked up a bunch of new spanish words and dishes, like gisa, a throw-everything-in stew; and I’ve learned the names of many of the places and characters that will be involved in this new chapter of my life.
I’m living at a chacra (a small ranch with horses) which is owned by a woman named Ginny who’s had Multiple Sclerosis for about 30 years. The chacra is on the outskirts of a small, small town called El Huecú, in the Neuquén region of Northern Patagonia. El Huecú has a population of about 1,000 people and is a four hour bus ride from Zapala, which is a 16 hour bus ride to the south west of Buenos Aires.
The internet connection here is slow and sporadic. I just attempted to upload photos but no luck tonight. I’ll attempt smaller batches tomorrow!
Time for bed. I can hear cows mooing nearby. The wind usually picks up later in the night and howls around the small house. I sleep in a loft upstairs and have to climb a ladder to get up here, so it’s kinda like a treehouse. There are mosquitos so I sleep with my face under the sheets, which combined with the wind equals staticky hair. It’s quite cold in the mornings (about 45 °F) and the sun doesn’t come up until almost 8am; I wake up around 6am but it’s no fun getting out of a warm bed. But it’s peaceful here (though challenging in many ways), the air is clean, and the countryside is beautiful. I’m certainly not in Kansas anymore, Toto.