On New Year’s Eve morning, we said goodbye to our WWOOFer family, ate one last strawberry, and caught the bus back to El Bolsón. Our next farm was not actually a farm at all, but a tiny hostel-campground in El Bolsón where we were expected to manage the campground, keep everything tidy and clean for guests, and provide fireside guitar concerts as needed.
We arrived at La Casita and had just enough time to meet Esther, the owner, before we ran back to town. For New Year’s Day, Esther, Josh, and I made plans to hike to the Río Azul, but for New Year’s Eve, Josh and I were planning to Skype with both our families and then to find a place with live music to ring in the new year just the two of us.
We got to town and made for our usual wifi haunts, but all of them were closed. The cervecería, the restaurant across the street, the YPF… Each of them were dark and empty, or else shutting their doors just as we arrived. I ended up Skyping my mom from a bench outside of a closed restaurant who had left their wifi on, while Josh scoured the town for ANYTHING that was open. He finally found Bolson Burger, a family-run burger joint with reliable wifi, delicious ice-cream, and it’s cheap! All of our criteria!
However, on New Years Eve, even Bolson Burger shut down by 9:30 pm. Apparently in Argentina, everyone stays at home to welcome in the new year. Literally every single business was either closed, or weirdly closing just as we walked in the doors. We wandered the entire town, dejectedly passing one dark restaurant after another, and one rowdy backyard asado after another, hoping some friendly family would invite us in.
Finally, at 11:40 pm, we stopped at the one open kiosco and bought some drinks from a very friendly old man, went back to our salita at our new farm, and counted down the new year with just each other. We were toasting each other at midnight when suddenly, the world outside exploded.
We ran out to the street, and from every single backyard, people were shooting off massive quantities of fireworks! So we stood in the street, watching a crazy 360 degree fireworks display, and welcomed in 2012.
I woke up the next morning, ready to go hiking with Josh and Esther – and Josh was wretchedly, abysmally sick. Our hike was, obviously, cancelled, and we rang in the first day of the year by lying on our mattresses, sleeping all day. Josh’s fever finally broke the next day, but he remained sick for the next three days. It wasn’t exactly the first impression we were hoping to make on our host! 😦
(Note from Josh: after the third day spent mostly in the bathroom, I declared to the world that I was never going back to Bolson Burger again. On the fourth day, however, we really couldn’t resist the cheap food and reliable wifi, and lo and behold, I was healed! I don’t know what all you gastrointestinologists out there have to say about that, but that’s how it happened.)
Thankfully, he’s now completely recovered, and we’ve been able to put all our energy into our new roles as hosts and experienced locals to all the guests of La Casita.
(More to come soon… Josh is too busy enjoying solid food to think any more! :P)