Wednesday, April 12, 2006

El Bolson, Argentina (3 days)

Back in Argentina, we headed north to the town of El Bolson, famous as a hippie community. Because of its reputation, there are also lots of tourists there to hang with the hippies, but all in all it was a great place to be for a few days. The day that we arrived into El Bolson was March 24th, which turned out to be a very important day for Argentinians. It is the day that they mark the fact that 30,000 people disapeared starting in 1976 during the military coup, this being the 30th anniversary. Known as the Dirty War, the victims were those who spoke out against the government, and many of the bodies have never been recovered. ´Mothers of the missing´have marched every week in Buenos Aires, they still do. The gigantic flag in the main plaza was at half mast. A parade started but we didn´t know what it was about, though I had an idea that something was up since I had seen a big government ceremony on the bus station TV. An older woman started talking to me in spanish but I could not understand her. She understood that I did not know what was going on, so she tried to explain in spanish. While she explained, she couldn´t help but cry, and it was so moving. It made me so frustrated that I can hardly understand spanish. She said that her brother was one of the missing and he was tortured with both arms cut off and shot through the nose. Absolutely horrible.

What can I say after that, this trip seems so frivolous in comparison. We stayed at a hostel just outside of town which had lots of land with a large grassy area and horses. We played a mini ultimate frisbee game with some other backpackers one afternoon in the sun. There were a few backpackers in our hostel who liked the town and hostel so much that they had been there a week+, unable to move on.

Four days a week, there is a big market in the main plaza. Lots of handicrafts, fresh berries, friendly local hippies, a fun show for the kids in an amphitheatre in the plaza, and microbrew that you can walk around the market with, sunny day, aahhh... In the market we ran into our buddies Mikayla and George from N.Y., so we decided to meet the next day to check out one of the local sights. El Bolson is in a valley and up on one of the mountains is a ´sculpture garden´, essentially some carved wood sculptures set amongst a grove of trees. Most people hire a taxi to get up the 10km. road which rises 1100m, but we hired bikes and did it the hard way. Good exercise, but it wrecked us.


At 10:41 AM, Anonymous cj said...

I love the composition of the photo with the mountains and market. It's a good candidate for enlargement!


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