In the past two months, I’ve traveled to Argentina and Key West. Both of these destinations were on a life’s top list I made when I was 12 years-old huddled in my warmest coat trying to make it through just one more Atlanta winter. Yes– Atlanta winter. That’s just how much I hate cold weather of any kind– even the kind where it’s 65 degrees out. That’s cold, people!
Granted, Argentina was a little higher up on the list than Key West. The Southerner and I booked a 10 day trip for January, two days in Buenos Aires and 8 in Patagonia. We planned to shop and see some sights in BA and then spend the rest of the trip at a lodge in Cholila doing, guess what? Fly-fishing! We spent a lot of time haggling about the amount of days allocated to sight-seeing (a.k.a. shopping) and fishing. I thought I would want more time in Buenos Aires. While the Southerner, having previously visited Argentina, tried to convince me that I would like Patagonia better. He was right. The past four years have taught me to love the outdoors, open spaces, and small towns where the people have the right balance of kindness and hesitancy toward strangers.
BA was a hustle-bustle city with spectacular shopping, food, and nightlife. I don’t wish to short-change it all, and we were only there for two days so what do I know about the heart of that city or its people? In Patagonia, on the other hand, I fell in love. This could have something to do with the fact that we were staying at a fancy-pants lodge where they did my laundry everyday and the chef cooked gourmet dinners served with several bottles of Argentinean wine. Actually, our first two days were spent on a camping trip fishing the Chibut River. I was the only woman on a two-day camping trip with about ten men. Let’s just say I drank a lot of wine. A lot. In fact, by the end of our trip all of the fishing guides were referring to me as “Vino Tinto,” affectionately, I hope.
The first night at camp, one of the guides roasted a goat for dinner that he had just killed. A goat that just happened to walk by the wrong campsite.
This sentence may turn some of you off completely, but for me watching that goat cook was like having multiple orgasms during a threesome with Penelope Cruz and Selma Hayek. That good. My meal that night ranked in the top three of my life, only slightly diminished by the fact that I was surrounded by a bunch of old men who only wanted to talk about how many fish they caught that day, how many fish they’ve ever caught, all the places they’ve ever caught fish in, and oh, don’t forget, whose fish was biggest. Seriously, why are we still talking about fishing when there’s an entire plate of this goat on the table? How are we able to form sentences with so much goat-meat in our mouths. Why are we doing anything but simultaneously crying and drooling over the mountain of glistening fat before us? Criminal.
For me, the fishing during our trip was very similar to fishing in Montana, except I drank much more wine and our lunches lasted for two glorious, meat and cheese-filled hours.
I’m not sure I would go on an all-men’s fishing trip ever again. I would explain why except, I swore an oath on all that is sacred and manly never to divulge the specifics of fishing trips. Let’s just say parts of it were like being strapped to a chair ala Clockwork Orange and forced to watch episode after episode of Beavis and Butthead in Spanish and English.
That said, I can’t wait to go back to Argentina. The landscape, its people, and their pace of living force you to relax and soak in every minute. Plus, did I mention the cheese and meat???