Monday, February 23, 2009

Adam and Jay Visit Argentina: Day 3, Muchos Perros


I'm a lover of animals. Though I do have to say, my love has some limits. I've never been a huge fan of dogs, mostly because they often lunge at my crotch. I'm told this behavior means "he likes you," but for me, any creature's sharp teeth near my private area isn't the type of thing I welcome.

Why do I mention this in a recap of my time in Argentina? Well, in Bariloche, Jay and I made some new friends. Friends we had a hard time getting rid of. Like that neighbor in Empty Nest.

Empty Nest!
Ding Ding Ding!! That's The Sound Of Adam's Life Random TV Sitcom Reference Of The Week!!!

These friends were not Charley Dietz, providing comic relief. They were stray dogs-- apparently, there's a lot of them in South America. Because Argentinians don't believe in animal control, they'd rather feed the strays scraps than allow people to round them up and euthanize them. Go figure.

After waking up from my alcohol-induced coma, Jay and I walked through Bariloche with Jay's friend Mark, who he'd met earlier in his travels. We looked at the ice-skating rink (desperately in need of a Zamboni) and walked a little ways out of town along the main road. A lone dog began to follow us. Instantly, I knew wearing my new Purina One aftershave was a mistake.

At least this dog seemed reasonably well-groomed. I figured he'd been left to roam around by his owner. But as we turned a corner and headed down to the beach, another dog joined us. Then another. Soon, we were leading a stray dog parade, interrupted only by the passing of a unfortunate minivan:

When Animals Attack!!
The Dogs Mistook The Minivan For A Giant Steak. There Were No Survivors.

We sped up our pace, but the dogs stayed with us, all the way to a secluded, gorgeous, rocky beach on the shores of Nahuel HuapĂ­. We sat down to take in the scenery and take a nap. The dogs joined us:

Me, Mark and Some Stray Dogs
Minutes Later, Mark Disappeared Mysteriously

The view on the beach was pretty incredible, and the wind coming off the lake was intense, but refreshing on a sunny, cool day. I can imagine that the windsurfing must have been pretty great just about then:

Sure, That's Me...

Jay and I were a little mystified as to where his friend Mark went, but the dogs did seem a little fatter. "How do we get rid of these dogs?" Jay said in our secret human language. "I don't know," I said. "But maybe we can lose them if we walk on ridiculously rocky terrain back into town."

Trying To Lose The Dogs
Well, That Didn't Work

Finally we reached a point where one path led up to town, one path led down to the beach, where a group of Argentinians were sitting in the shade. Jay and I looked at each other, and immediately had the same idea. We headed down the path, leading the dogs... and then, the moment they started to look at the other group...

We took off the other way.

I do mean took off. Ran. Up the street, in relatively high elevation. We were both winded when we reached the main square of town. No more dogs!! Well, except this guy:

Don't Even Think About It, Fido

We had some time to kill before my cousin Mark and his fiancee Kati arrived, so Jay and I went to, what else, the town's only casino. Having successfully lost all my money in Peru, I wasn't too optimistic. But Jay and I got a run of incredibly lucky cards, and I left up 150.

Pesos. But still. Not bad.

My cousin's arrival was met with hugs and a big Mexican dinner at Los Dos Zapatos. I recommend the carne fajitas. Muy bien. We also had some of the most sickeningly sweet margaritas I've ever had.

We couldn't party too hard though. Tomorrow we were off on yet another adventure. A three day, two night camping trip along the Seven Lakes route. At dinner, we looked through our guidebooks: Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and Rough Guide. On one of the last pages in the Rough Guide, there was a cryptic, one-sentence note about some hot springs located at the end of a "rocky" road. "That sounds interesting," I said.

Oh Adam. When will you learn?

Tomorrow, more. I promise.

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