"Argentina 2002-03" story # 6

Bariloche, Rio Negro           January 5, 2003

Hello, everyone. Itīs 2003, whoopee! Happy New Year. Iīm sure the new year is going to bring great things for all of us. Hopefully, for the world in general, as well.
     I think one of the most wondrous things about our world is the sky at night. And Iīve never seen it more beautiful than here in Bariloche. On the shores of the big Nahuel Huapi lake, the dark sky is almost full of stars. The wide Milky Way stretches the whole length of the sky, so rich with dominating shines and white specks that the whole thing almost actually looks milky.
     Orion the Hunter is probably the brightest constellation here. The three stars that make up his belt shine straight above like puny white suns. There are also two stars way below that make up his feet, one in front of him thatīs the point of his arrow, one closer and lower thatīs the bottom of his bow, various others making up his head and the bow and his back, and one far behind thatīs his elbow cocked back to fire the bow. You can imagine him and his pose so fluidly that you can see where his two knees would bend, even though there are no stars there. I heard he was supposed to be hunting a bull, but the glob of stars in front of him just looks like a spilled pizza face.
     Outside the Milky Way, stars can still be seen and searched for everywhere. One is so low to the land that it must just be peeking over the mountains on the other side of the lake. Last night, I laid on the round stones that make up the lake beach near my apartment. Looking up, I imagined someone was there with me, and I blabbed on: "Es increible! ... son tan brillantes! ... estan a todos los lados! ... es increible!" (Itīs incredible! ... Theyīre so bright! ... Theyīre everywhere! ... Itīs so incredible!) It fills me with the stupid awe of a bright-eyed three-year-old.
     I may have found the best thing about Bariloche. But, Iīve been a writing hermit lately, and I havenīt found a job. My New Yearīs resolution should be to not run out of money.
     Most places in Argentina donīt have many jobs these days. It was a very developed country, but olī ex-President Menem done ruined the country good.
     In Bariloche, many of the 100,000 people claw out their livings scrapping for the well-off touristsī money. The town is safe and friendly, but you see the income differences and competition for money of a bigger city. It doesnīt attract me too much. I know a nineteen-year-old girl living with her boyfriend who promotes twelve hours a day for a discotech to pocket only five pesos (US$1.50). "Cinco pesos son cinco pesos," she explains. (Five pesos are five pesos.) Even here, itīs tricky to eat each day for only five pesos - And, sheīs pregnant.
     As a good-hearted communist, I obviously believe that everyone should be allowed to contribute towards the well-being of all individuals, and not be worried only in how to generate his own money or eek out a survival.
     Itīs nicer to be somewhere where the individualīs need to devise his own money-making way isnīt so obvious. I have nothing against the people of Bariloche - just against the nature of the city.
     The point of this is that Ushuaia, Argentina - the southernmost city of the world, on Tierra del Fuego island - is supposed to have ample "trabajo" (work). I might take a trip to Chile this week, then maybe Iīll head down there. Who knows? Thatīs what makes things so GREAT!

More adventures to come! Modern Oddyseus!


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