The Argentine Abduction and WiFi Travel Excuses

I promise that this blog is not turning into a travel blog where I share my travel stories, but I just had my most interesting travel experience: getting abducted (sort of) in Barlioche.

Two days before flying into Bariloche, Argentina, we contacted our bungalow host and said we’d like to arrange an airport transfer.  Booking.com indicated that if you pre-book, the bungalow had a complimentary airport transfer.

We arrived here at 2 p.m., and sure enough, Ingrid, a raspy voiced Argentine, held a sign labeled “Craig”.

Her English was adequate, and she explained on the way to the bungalow that she would be coming by at 9 a.m. the next day to see if we were interested in booking any tours.

My wife and I concluded that Ingrid must work for a tour company that does the airport shuttles with hopes that you will sign up for one of their tours.  We also guessed that she’d take us to her office back at town to arrange any tours we might be interested in taking.

At 9 a.m., we were ready for what we thought was the 5 k.m. drive to town to the tour booking office.

Interestingly, the bus started to travel away from town.

After about 20 minutes, we stopped at a chairlift, and Ingrid asked if we wanted to go up.  The other dozen passenger all had tickets, so we decided to go out, too.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have any Pesos yet, and the place didn’t accept credit cards, nor was there a bank machine around.

Ingrid spotted us the 100 pesos so we could take our family to the top of the scenic mountaintop. (It had incredible views, by the way.)  She was quite surprised that we had “no pesos”.

We came back down from the chairlift at around 10 a.m., and my youngest (two years old) was ready for a snack.

“Just be patient.  I’m sure we’re heading to town and we can get a snack there.”

But the bus started driving away from town.

We drove further away from town. We stopped at another lookout.  We drove further away from town.

The kids got bored.

My six year old: “This is boring, boring, boring.  Where are we going?”

My four year old: “I want to go back to the hotel.”

My two year old: “I’m hungry”.

At a little after 11 a.m., we stopped at a tea shop, and I decided to do some top secret investigation.  I found a couple on our tour who spoke English “a little”.

“What time does this tour end?”

“5 p.m.”

“WHAT?!”

Somehow, we thought we were getting on a bus to take us 5 k.m. to town, but we ended up on a whole day tour.  We didn’t have anything to feed the kids or anything to entertain them.

Around 12:30 p.m. we stopped at an abandoned ski area.  There was one restaurant open in the whole place.  At lunch, Ingrid came by trying to book some all day tours with us.  I asked the kids if they wanted to go on another tour, and they all said no.  There was nothing Ingrid could do but to thank us.

The rest of our tour group was going up yet another ski lift, but we decided to opt out.

Ingrid replied “OK.  We’ll meet you at 4 p.m.”

Just like that, we had three and a half hours to burn at an abandoned ski area.

After the group got back, we asked to be dropped off back at our hotel while the rest of the group went on to tour a chocolate factory in town.

Anyway, it made for an interesting first day in Bariloche.  In some ways, it was a lot of fun because we didn’t have to plan a single part of our first day.  Amazingly, we were never charged for the tour, and we did get a lot of laughs out of it.

By the way, the bungalow where we are staying has internet, but for some reason I can’t get online on my MacBook Pro, my Nook, or my wife’s Kindle.  The hotel manager gave me the password for the bungalow three houses down.  Right now I have my leg on a headstand and my computer on my leg – just so I can get online.  Needless to say, I won’t be doing much on the internet this week.

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