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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Claudio, the Argentinian Stalker...

So, I'm totally over my last blog angst, and Thanksgiving I'm in Argentina.
Aaaaah, Argentina. I think I've already fallen in love with Argentina!!!

The "Cruces del Lagos" or Chilean Lake Crossing was absolutely amazing. The sun came out for me, shining the whole day, as we made our way from bus to boat to bus to boat to bus to boat to bus to Bariloche, Argentina. 4 buses, 3 boats, 12 hours. A very long, but absolutely breathtaking day. The water of the lakes is a turquoise blue/green that I've never seen before. It's so clear and crisp, you just want to dive into it and/or drink it. The lakes are calm, set in between mountains as far as the eye can see, lush and green at their bases, white with snow at their pinnacles. Waterfalls streaming down the mountains into the lakes. I mean, it's just the most naturally beautiful setting I've ever seen. I don't think many people get to see settings like this in their lifetimes and I felt to lucky to be getting such an opportunity. Amazing.....

On the last boat, which takes you right to the port on the Llao Llao peninsula (where Llao Llao hotel sits perfectly atop the mountain), I met Claudio, a very nice (and cute) sailor on the ship (Kim - he kinda looked like Chad in a weird, Argentinian way) who told me that everyone in town goes to Wilkenny Bar at night and I should go there. Ok...maybe. I hadn't gone out out in a while, so maybe. Exhausted, happy to be in Argentina, the bus drives down Avenue Bustillo from Llao Llao, dropping people off along the way. I am still stunned by the view, at this point, the sun is setting, giving off hues of pink and orange that bounce off the mountains and reflected back off the water. I couldn't take my eyes away from it. Really, it's one of the most unbelievable places I've ever seen. I had wanted to stay at Llao Llao, but on my arrival night, they were booked, so I booked a few days later with them, and opted for a cabana (they're everywhere here, it's a ski town, and there's cottages everywhere for rent) instead, closer to town, for half the price. It looked really nice online, was recc'd by the guidebooks and having a little cottage to spread out in might not be so bad, right?

Well, to say that I'm living in a PALACE here in Bariloche, is an understatment. Forget Llao Llao. Wisemans, you think we had a nice house in Tahoe? Yeah, not so much compared to my little villa here in South America. So, it's huge. It has a kitchen, living room, dining room with seating for 8. A fireplace, 2 bathrooms. My bedroom with walk in closet. Jacuzzi, BBQ, terrace. I mean.... I didn't want to leave. I loved it so much.... But, Wilkenny bar beckoned. I had to go out, and be social. And cute Claudio invited me. Why not?

Wilkenny Bar was an Irish pub that seemed tame when I got there. After settling into a meal of pumpkin soup and a salad, I struck up a conversation with two girls at the table next to me. Turns out, they're both traveling alone too. Sarah, from Sydney, is a hilarious redhead. Anneke (pronounced Anika) is from South Africa, and is a striking, refined blond. They met in Bolivia and have been traveling together ever since. Turns out, Sarah will be arriving in Vietnam the same day as I am! What are the chances!?!??! Anyway, it was such a great night....GIRLTALK! It felt terrific. If there's one thing I miss here, it's that, GIRLTALK. So, you all best be prepared for me to burning up your phone lines when I get home. Anyway...they were on a boat crossing earlier in the day and met a "guide named Claudio" who told them to come to Wilkenny too! This Claudio has his act down with the ladies, seemingly . . . Sarah's hooked on capirhinas since Brazil, so we're getting wasted on them with the Argentinian rugby team, who are in town for the championship game, can only speak phrases "I may not speak much English, but I feel a connection with you" and "I love rugby but I think I can love you more." YEAH. Next thing you know, Claudio shows up. Whispering sweet nothings in my ear. To say the men here are touchy feely. I mean, the caresses, the intensity of the eye contact. It's VERY overwhelming. Asking to come home with me. Anneke is being slobbered over by one of the rugby players who cannot even do the cheesy phrases in English and Sarah is working the bar, capirinha by capirinha. At 5 AM, I finally looked at my watch, then around the PACKED bar and decided fun as it was, it was time to go.... After turning Claudio down on the offer to accompany me home, he made me promise to go to dinner with him the next night. Fine, fine, whatever...just let me go to sleep!!!

Yesterday, we did it all over again. After a rainy day of shopping (where I bumped into my sister/jordan's friend on her honeymoon....I mean, only me, right? who knows people in bariloche??), planning my next moves, etc... I got a call in my room (which I didn't take) from Claudio, and headed out to meet Anneke and Sarah. All of a sudden, Sarah busts thru the door of the pub and goes -- Claudio is outside, he's looking for you! I walk outside where Claudio is waiting, telling me that he's been to every pub in Bariloche after I wasn't at my hotel. He WENT to my hotel and knocked on all of the doors of the cabanas (!!!!!!!) and then proceeded to tell me how mine was laid out, where in the room my computer was, my backpack, my sweater that I wore on the Lake Crossing b/c he was peering in the windows. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!?!?!?! Claudio was the nice boat guy who was so sweet last night. And now, I'm looking into the eyes of my stalker, Claudio, who is no longer so cute.... He then, without being asked, joins us for an amazing dinner at a parillada (or grill, where you pick out a cut of meat and they grill it for you -- huge portions of steak, cooked exactly right for $7 -- amazing meal). Professing his love to me all the while. I can't.....

Back to Wilkenny after dinner, where Claudio proceeds to tell me that he's a realist and he understands that I'm only in town for a few days, but I'm not showing him any "carino" or affection and that he's trying so hard to get me to like him, and it's obvious to him that I don't. At this point, I'm having a "talk" with a guy I met yesterday. Finally, as I'm talking to someone else, he comes over and very angrily tells me he's leaving, I'm not paying him any mind and balls me out to Sarah and Anneke and leaves Wilkenny and my life forever.... Unless he comes a-peering later. Sarah, Anneke and I accompany the rugby team to Rocket, one of the many clubs here. We left to go to Rocket at, gulp, 5 AM. Anneke and I left at 7. Sarah stayed. When we walked outside, it was light out. I flashed back to Cancun, senior year of Michigan, spring break, laughed and crawled into bed. Spent again.


More soon....

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