Paige's Return to Deutschland!

Hallo Berlin! This blog will be a place for friends and family to get very occasional snip-its on Biggs' life in Germany.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Argentina: the best place ever?

By the grace of my employers,, and some majorly stored up frequent flier miles, I managed to leave the country during my first year on the job. My European readers are probably scratching their heads, but my American (including Latin American) readers know what I am talking about. An awesome vacation like this isn’t possible without some major job flexibility. I am so grateful. This trip was exactly what Esther, my travel buddy; my parents; and I needed. My 12 days south were a combination of relaxing, adventure, quality, and SUN. Oh, did I mention I managed to miss snow in Seattle…again?! Below are some of the highlights of our adventure. Enjoy.

Buenos Aires: the city that never sleeps unless your awesome dad puts you and your GF up in a Marriot

There were two distinct components to this trip: dirt bagging and glam. As you might imagine the glam part happened when Mom and Dad invited us to tango shows, multiple course dinners with wine pairings, tango classes, as well as many other civilized and fun activities. Esther and I when left to our devices ate a lot of sandwiches, shared liter beers out of plastic cups, took city buses, and stayed in hostels. Our hostel in Mendoza had a pool, for the record, I’m getting to that.

The famous obelisk in Buenos Aires.

Our family friend, Lauren, just happened to be doing study abroad in Buenos Aires while we were visiting. She was an excellent guide.

Over Night Bus Trips: The mobile city that never lets you sleep

Buses are our preferred mode of travel. They are cheap, it’s easy to cover a lot of ground, AND you don’t have to pay for a hostel for the night. Our first trip to Mendoza on the bus was a total dream: the bus was clean, the attendant was really witty and even lead us in bingo, and well the food was about on par with the other buses.

We were so inspired that a couple days later we took a night bus to Cordoba and then a night bus to Buenos Aires the very next day. Back to back night buses are not advisable as you can see from our sleep deprived photo shoot in Cordoba.

Somehow this Fernet (the Argentinian equivalent of Jagermeister) and Pepsi managed to restore me to some type of sanity, or perceived sanity. It was by taking these photos that we realized how tired we actually looked.

Upsallata: Best of BFE

After crazy nights of hosteling and urban adventure, Esther and I decided to cut out to a tiny little village called Upsallata on the foothills of the andes. We had a great warm day of horse bike riding and trekking. We also call this the day I couldn’t look more American and Esther couldn’t look more German.

We knew our guide would be cool, just look at that awesome hat.

We hitch-hiked back to Mendoza with this group of dudes staying at our hostel. Don’t worry, I only hitch hike in foreign countries. Safety first.

Esther demonstrates walking on the moon. Running through rocks is up there on the fun-o-meter with descending by butt in snow.

Ischigualasto: Let’s just call it Valle de la Luna for simplicity’s sake

This place is heaven for paleontologists, geologists, and people who’d like to go to the moon but don’t have the $150,000 to get there. The Ischigualasto formation contains Late Triassic deposits (230 million years before the present), with some of the oldest known dinosaur remains. It is the only place in the world where nearly all of the Triassic is represented in an undisturbed sequence of rock deposits.

This place was so cool that it helped us forget our worries of staying in a hostel in San Juan which was like living in the house from the movie Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead before the kids got their act together. Oh, and our driver was fighting sleep the majority of the trip. The experience made us thankful to be alive and scabies free.

Back to Nicaragua

Once back in Buenos Aires, through way of Córdoba, we met up with our friend Hernán. Hernán was one of our buddies in our student residence in León, Nicaragua. Since our time together studying in Nicaragua, Hernán has joined in the Argentinian equivalent of the foreign service. His new position worked out great for us because he had a little more flex schedule and was even more of an expert on Argentinean history.

Next Adventure: Portland, Oregon

It’s official, as of January 15 I will be returning to my Oregon roots. I’ve loved living in Seattle but I feel the pull to be closer to family and also to get back on the public health / international development career track. (Shameless plug for job leads.) Here are just some of the reasons I’ll miss Seattle:

Seigfried, Tiger that maimed Seigfried, and Carebear (with homemade costume)

Parties and photo shoots organized by Carrie

Steph and Audrey (cutest baby ever)


And, of course, my core group. We’re heading to Victoria tomorrow so I’m sure I’ll get some good shots of us there.