Sunday, January 29, 2012

El Bolson: Workaway at Rosie's

We finally boarded the bus for El Bolson at 12:30am. After a long day of climbing up a hill and hiking and eating all you can eat pizza I figured we'd be able to pass out right away, except that I was very wrong...
The bus was very cramped so we squeezed ourselves into our seats and the bus pulled out heading north for ruta 40. I just started dozing when suddenly we pulled onto a dirt road which made the bus very, very bumpy and sleep only for the drugged. Ruta 40 was having roadwork done for a many miles so that was fun, and the bus driver kept smoking which was really annoying for those who wanted to breath. He probably had one once every hour, which I'm sure was not within accordance with company policy. Yet 22 hours later we made it to El Bolson, on the way in it was dark and we saw fires on the hillside of El Hoyo (ignition source unknown, probably a camper).
We were in El Bolson because we had a workaway planned for two weeks. Workaway is working in exchange for food and lodging, we would be working six hours a day at Rosie's house. So we got in after midnight and decided to call Rosie, our host, and hope she was up. We got a taxi out to Mallin Ahogado, the house was about 20 mins away from the town and not even  minutes into the ride our taxi broke down! We waited another 20 mins for another taxi to show up but we werent' exactly sure where the house was. The taxi driver went to a house that Nick and I were sure wasn't the house and clapped at the door. We were so embarrassed, hiding behind the seat, that he was waking these people up! Like we thought it wasn't Rosie's house so we kept going. Finally we found it and Rosie was waiting outside for us, we arrived about 40 mins after we had called her so we felt pretty bad since it was now after 1am, but she was very nice about it. We paid the taxi driver 40 pesos and brought our stuff inside. Rosie is an English woman who had moved to Argentina when she was in her 20s and has been here ever since. Her and her husband at the time built the house she had, a really cute log cabin on 10 acres of land. Half the land was a pine forest with a river running next to it and the other half had her house, garden, fruit trees, wood shed, more trees and the little camper (caravan) that we would be living in for the next two weeks. Even though the bed was small it was very welcome that night, and I finally got to sleep!

Workaway life:
Eating and working. Rosie fed us very well, we had home made bread and jam every day for breakfast and lunch and dinner was veggies and pasta, or trout or empanadas. Very good food.
Work we did:
Nick- chopping wood, building the woodshed walls, cutting the chopped wood
Lora- whitewashing the walls, staining the woodshed walls, picking raspberries, pitting cherries
Together- picking cherries, picking up horse poo, building a compost, pulling up baby pine trees, cleaning this one spot in the woods where a little house used to be

on our free time we swam in the river, rosie took us for a picnic at a waterfall (catarata escondida) for lunch, one time, we walked to another waterfall after work one day and during the weekend we would go into town and hang out in the plaza (all sorts going on there) and go food shopping. There's a great open air market in the plaza which was great to walk through but we couldn't afford anything (except the food). One day we went to Lago Puelo which is a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. We had to take a bus there from El Bolson for 6 pesos but what we didn't know was that it was in a national park which we had to pay (the foreigners price..50% more) to get in. Also we didn't know that you could go camping there which would have been nice to do because there were hiking trails and whatnot. We hung out all day and went swimming and watched the people in the water, it was a beautiful day. We hitchhiked back into town with a lovely couple from Buenos Aires who liked to listen to Iron Maiden. When we got back we hung out in the plaza and watched some acrobatic vagabond travellers do a show and then a kumbia band play for a bit. We had to get a taxi back, when we got in the driver wasn't too friendly and we had a feeling we would have a problem with the price, which we should have negotiated before we got in. We were travelling on the exact same day and time as we had the week earlier going to Rosie's house for the first time so we knew it should be 40 pesos but when we got to the house he said 55 pesos. I said, no we came here exactly a week ago on the same day same time and it was $40 pesos and he was like well you were charged wrong and I was like no that is what the dispatcher said when he looked in his book! He ended up giving us 5 pesos back so we paid 50, the next morning Rosie confirmed that that was way to much. Next time I was in town I actually went back to the dispatcher and told him. He didn't know what to say.

Workaway was deff a great experience, two weeks was a good amount of time although. I got used the routine and when it was time to start traveling again I had to get back into it!

cherry pickin'

wood cutting

forest clearing clean up, this used to have a cabin on it

taa daa. finished
our horse poo collection
our house

cherry pitting

Rosie's house, breakfast outside

Nessie made out of bottles

Lago Puelo

acrobatics in the park

Band in the park

Nick's conquered  wood pile

La Cascada Escondida

Building woodshed walls

my cherry pie!
inside our house

staining walls
chainsaw fun
Rosie and her new woodshed walls

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lora,

    Interesting reading about your experiences in Argentina, we've posted a link to this on the official Workaway blog here: