We have now been in San Martin for 5 days, and as Cassidy remarked yesterday, “it’s starting to feel like home” (how quickly they adapt). She has found a few poles to climb, which certainly helps! (Below is the local playground in a nice, shady town square.)
A few random observations from the last several days:
- I’ve noted this before, but wow do Argentinian kids stay up late. As Noah and I try to fall asleep at night (around 10:30 pm here) – hours after we’ve tucked in our girls – we hear kids all over this complex laughing, playing, shouting, running, even splashing in the pool next door. I think this place is actually quieter during the day than it is at 10 pm at night!
- It is quite remarkable to see that all shops and stores here, including rental car agencies and tour agencies, really do shut down for a full 4 hours between 1 and 5 pm. I tried to do errands yesterday afternoon, and it was a complete waste of time. I consoled myself by getting a delicious maracuya sherbert – at least the ice cream store was open…
- After just over a month in Argentina I finally managed to find peanut butter (manteca de mani) Very exciting. Cassidy has been working hard to catch up on her banana-peanut butter intake, and I am very psyched for PB&J sandwiches!
- Shopping here is rather European– you can go to a grocery store, but you are much better off going to the panaderia for bread, the verduraria for fruits and veggies, and the carniceria for meat. It’s kind of fun, but only because I am not short on time at the moment. Of course, I still don’t know where all the good shops are, so I wander around a bit aimlessly…
- This brings me to the fifth observation: it is invaluable to have a local contact when one is trying to do non-touristy things in a tourist town. And since we don’t want to constantly knock on the door of our duenos here, it’s great to have Lara (the babysitter/Spanish teacher) who has been answering our many random questions, from where to buy bus passes, to where to rent bikes and purchase a frying pan. [She’s working out great so far and seems really motivated to teach the girls – such a big plus for our time here.]
- We need to become more independently mobile in order to abandon the need for these tourist ‘excursions’ – I did a group trip today up Cerro Colorado, but there is absolutely no need for a guide for a straightforward hike like that one. We are contemplating trying to buy a used bike for the rest of our time here…not sure whether ebay is up and running in San Martin (?)
To wrap this up, I’ll include a few photos from my hike today. It was fabulous to get out of town and really appreciate the lovely scenery. From the top of Cerro Colorado you can see the famous Volcan Lanin, along with a few other snow-capped peaks, including two volcanoes that are actually in Chile.
I was with an Argentinian family (parents + 16-year old girl) from Plata – they were so sweet, I quite enjoyed chatting with them. They were not exactly regular hikers, however, so the guide took us up the steep trail at a snail’s pace; I don’t think I’ve ever hiked so slow! A fun day nonetheless, and I hope Noah can do this hike solo – at his own pace – in the coming week.