sábado, 28 de julio de 2007

Chronicles of a snowy, cold and incredible trip

(Written long ago but - I don't know why - never posted)

After crossing out the dates of the calendar, doing our countdown, feeling excited, packing our luggage and dreaming with ski, we finally went to San Martín de los Andes and Bariloche!! And we’re back… that’s the worst part… Wanna know what we did, how it was, where we went? Wanna see some pictures?

It was Friday 29th of June and at 8:30 p.m. we arrived to the school. After the sad and fearful farewells with parents, friends and relatives, we started our trip round 10:30, with no strange or shouted “No’ vamo’ a Bariló Bariló Bariló” song at all.

Flechabus, two new double-decker buses, two coordinators (Juan Pablo and José María), two teachers (Norita and Laurita Bravo), two tutors (Inesita and Dolores), two sons of an owner of school (Jari and Abal), 65 students, more tan 65 suitcases, more than 65 bags. A boring journey it can be called. Sleep, snacks, a guitar breaking all silence and people complaining about their fatty hair. After several stops and 40 hours on the bus, we finally reached the dreamt city of San Martín de los Andes. Quickly we packed Colonos del Sur, had lunch, were introduced to “PocoEstrés” (Martín), the guy who took pictures and filmed us. Then we finally could have a bath.

We were divided into boys and girls and went on a city tour on the “Red Bus”, like the ones in London! Very exciting at the beginning, but we were kind of bored, so we didn’t listen to the woman talking on the microphone very well… Undoubtedly, she ended up pleading us to get out of the bus! We didn’t listen much, but admired the great city and the wonderful landscapes it offers. Then we rented our skis, sticks, uncomfortable boots, and the “teletubies” (name we gave to the snow equipment).

The following three days we skied. Beginners took some classes with instructors and went out skiing. The others went by our own to have our adventures in the snow. Each time more people added up to the group and we all laughed at our bloopers! Some heads under the snow, some knee pains, falls, each ski going to a different side, some open legs with a tree in the middle, people buried under snow. Well… many bloopers! At 1:45 p.m. a big crowd dressed all the same as teletubies invaded “La Base”, made a long line and all ate the same food. At 4:45 the mass disappeared in some white vans and after half an hour it was at Colonos del Sur again, drinking hot chocolate.

Silence ruled in the hotel for two hours, with people having a bath and sleeping. At 9 we had lunch and prepared for the night: two nights of disco and three of pub. Music, some alcohol, people chatting, jumping, dancing… having fun!

After skiing three days and suffering a lot of muscular pain (back, arms, legs, neck, knee some), Quila Quina was waiting for us. A great ride through the lake and wonderful landscapes.

Our 6th day consisted on a long trip to Bariloche. We did in eight hours the 200 km we should have done in three! The path was full of snow and we had to stop several times to put the chains in the bus tires, to wait until a truck was taken out from the middle of the road, take the snow from the road with spades, and then one of the chains cut down. It was a complicated trip and we finally reached the wonderful city of Bariloche, with its lake, blue sky and white mountains. We had lunch at 5 p.m. in the hotel Copahue. As soon as we placed our suitcases in the rooms we went walking, suffering the enormous cold that pierced our bones, through the city. We knew a bit of it, rented our equipment for the mud and some people rented costumes for the party that night. We ran back to the hotel and starting preparing ourselves.

The first night at Bariloche we had the custom party in Genux. Boys went dressed as pirates and girls as women from the caverns; it was funny! The place had only one dance floor, but offered a spectacle in a screen of drawings made as in neon lights. Then a man dressed in phosphorescent clothes hanging from the roof made some acrobatics jumping from a fence to the roof, and then touching people’s hands. Finally, a man with a saxo played with the rhythm and notes of famous songs, which were then hitched to the original ones. We danced all night and then, going back, the seller of hamburgers outside the hotel became rich with us!

After a morning listening and learning about, smelling, watching and buying chocolate in Fenoglio, Nahuel Hue Park was next. We started climbing a wall as “rapel”, “A” vs. “B” and “A” won supposedly two buckets of alcohol that night, but no one ever paid them! Then we played the zoo game and laughed for a while, followed by the football in pairs. Then we did “tirolesa” and a 15 minutes horse riding. Many people stayed the whole afternoon inside the hut because of the cold! That was the coldest day of the whole season: -18ºC!! And we were out there… just walking in the wind. Then we were given mate with a fried cake to which no one did more than three bites!! We danced in the hut until all the other groups went away, and we had our candles dinner, in another cold hut. Then most of us cried with the monologue given by “El Indio”, talking about life in the secondary school, what we were, what we are, and how things will be. Then back to Copahue.

The second and last night at Bariloche, By Pass was the target. It was a whole adventure, as all night, to get out of the hotel in t-shirts, running and screaming until we got into the bus. Then the same, and all 65 entering to the disco running and screaming of cold. Once we were in, the temperature was perfect, and sometimes it was even hot! We just ended up entering and the show began. Another presentation on a screen and then the famous lasers show! It was something incredible how the lasers moved, the colours, the lights, the shapes, the music accompanying. It was great! And after some minutes of it, everything went off and the famous voice said: “Bienvenidos a By Pass”. That’s when the party began. After a great and quite long night we started our cold operation again; we ran to the bus screaming. Then the hamburger, then breakfast in the hotel, and a different activity: it was 6:30 and at 8 the bus was going to look for us to go to the Catedral hill.

Some slept, some arranged the suitcase, some continued dancing, singing and laughing round the corridors… It was 8 a.m. and only four of us where down the lobby, with the teachers. After some expeditions to wake up people and get them down, we finally could get 20 out of 65 downstairs, sleeping in the lobby! “It’s a good percentage” one teacher said. The bus driver was tired of waiting, and it arranged with the teachers to come back at 10. People downstairs weren’t allowed to go up again and the ones up were supposed to go down! It was a mess the lobby!! Sleeping corpses everywhere!! The only four waken up went to have a hot chocolate milk with Jari to the YPF and went back at 10. I don’t know how, but everybody went to the Catedral hill. The guide in the bus talked only for five people awake and we got taken the panoramic photograph, with big rings under our eyes and sleepy faces. Teachers didn’t allow us to go up to the hill through the flying chairs because of our state… it was dangerous. So we quickly went down to the city. We had lunch, gave back the equipments, prepared our things, and went back to Tucumán in a very silent journey, with people sleeping most of the time. The school saw us arrive at 2:30 a.m. because of the snow and ice on the road until Río Cuarto (Córdoba), what made the road slower.
40 out of 65 went to the doctor in the whole trip… The top problems were knee and throat pain, fever and cough. The pharmacy owner might have been very happy with us there! Flechabus behaved incredibly! It amazed more than one of us. And the companions we had were really great! A very good group, wonderful people, very helpful every single moment. We are all grateful for them, for the companions, our parents and our partners. Some of us got really sick, but still enjoyed enormously the great trip!! And it was thank to all these people!!

In one blink of an eye the dreamt trip passed by and we are back in Tucumán, with no snow in plans. It is incredible how quickly things go from being plans and future, to memories and past. It is all over. All we have now are good memories and great adventures to remember… but the trip is over. And it is just like that how things go by and we do nothing! We should stop for a moment, think a bit, and start enjoying more every moment we have, because very soon this period of our life will have ended...

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