Neuqen

21 Jan

I find myself in a cafe at the moment, in Neuqen, a provincial capital somewhere in central Argentina.  It’s an oil city, with a lot of its employees working for oil companies, and its a major hub between east and west – which is what brought me here, and which is why I have some six hours to kill.

I had ambitious plans to rent a kayak, leave Chocon shortly after, travel to Neuqen, transfer to a bus to Plaza Huiucul to see even a bigger dinosaur (a herbivore, so less cool though), and catch a bus back to Neuqen, where I would leave for San Martin at night.

A couple of things changed, including a gloomy forcast of snow and cold weather for Volcan Lanin, and no return bus from the herbivore.

That brings me to Neuqen, when after kayaking and taking the afternoon bus, I decided to explore the city instead of being cooped up in the bus terminal waiting to go to El Bolson.  El Bolson, and not San Martin, so I could spend some time with the hippies before I go to San Martin to climb Volan Lanin.

A map of the city showed what seemed like a thriving center, with a large green rectangle (presumably a park), an assortment of museums, and statues on every block.

But I found was something else.  A pleasant enough town, it was more like a suburb in Brooklyn, or a fading Rochester, with fading colors, graffiti, and nothing too comestiacally pleasing about it.

The photography museum I attempted to visit was boarded up, closed with large green wooden squares over its windows and doors.  As for it’s famous row of monuments, it certainly lacked the grandeur of most other cities that attempt such a performance.

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But I did find a chance to confirm my theory that locals will find any empty lot to turn into a cafe:

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I’m liking this though, because while Buenos Aires was the trip of a lifetime, I’m searching for something more, something off the beaten path and something adventerous.  And if it means being stuck in a bus terminal, or abandoning all plans at the last minute, so the better.  Besides, I have a book to finish, and some old blog entries to update.

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