Monday, February 22, 2010

Thank you Johnny!

I left Bolson feeling kind of sad that I was leaving so many great people but also really looking forward to seeing our good family friend John Hartley and hopefully learning to kiteboard. Let me just say that John is one of the most relaxed, kind, generous people I know and I definitely admire and respect the way he and his wife Christina are raising their son Bob. I was so excited to see John as it's been over seven years since Mom and I visited, so it was a real treat to meet up with him in Argentina!

I got to Bariloche but couldn’t get a hold of John for the entire afternoon, so I decided to ask where the kiteboarders went to play and look for him there, which involved me getting lost and being escorted to the kiteboarding club by one of the lifeguards who were bored out of their minds because the freezing water was being whipped off the lake by the wind; not so appealing for swimming.

Turns out John wasn’t there, but he emailed me to invite me to an asado at their hotel, the Charming. So I hopped on the bus and ended up on the doorstep of a brand-new, super-luxurious hotel. John is a pilot and his company was paying for the crew’s stay, and John immediately informed me there was an extra bed in the apartment suite with my name on it. Evo who is John’s friend and co-worker from Argentina was manning the indoor asado grill filled with steak and sausages. Room service came in with an enormous salad and potatoes. Wow, not exactly a hostel but it works.

The next day we had a mellow morning because there was no wind. John has been kiteboarding for over ten years at Lago Nahuel Huapi next to Bariloche. He said he would be happy to teach me but since there was no wind we went out on Evo’s boat instead. The water was super clear and smooth so we flew over the water and visited an island with a nature trail and coffee shop. As we flew back across the water we got some of the breathtaking views of El Tronador, “Thunder-maker” because even in the summer it is covered in snow and the glaciers calving sound like thunder. John has snowboarded down it before. Really tempting after a year of summertime.

The next day we were invited for a gourmet asado courtesy of the owner of the hotel, who we chatted and sipped (really expensive) wine with for the afternoon on the deck overlooking the lake and mountains in the sunshine. Wow, it was incredible!

I didn't get to kiteboard because the wind was too strong when we went, but it was fun to watch John and Evo and probably good I didn't get hooked on another sport to buy equipment for...but it did make me really pumped to go snowboarding!

Sarah and I paddling on the lake
Crystal mountain water
Where I got to crash with John (thank you x 1,000,000)
Evo and John grilling
The Charming view
Boat ride

El Tronador (John has snowboarded this)
Ahh, sequioas are big trees
View from the balcony
Argentine flip
Johnny tearing it up

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