LATINOKAY

From January 2006 I am spending 9 months working on a voluntary art project for the Artcorps in Guatemala. I am working for Fundación Riecken, an NGO who are constructing libraries in Honduras and Guatemala. I will be artist-in-residence at libraries in Chiché and Zacualpa, in the Quiché region of Guatemala. I also plan to do a little travelling along the way...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Patagonia - Lake District




I feel like I have landed on another planet. After two and a half days` solid travelling, covering several thousand miles, I arrived in Patagonia, south Argentina, to be welcomed into the warm embrace of my dear friend Micala and her Danish travelling crew. Micala and I, for the last three years, have established a pattern of meeting once a year in a different country, so where better than Argentina to start 2007 with a bang! One would think that Guatemala is in closer proximity to Patagonia than northern Europe, being on the same side of the world, but in actual fact, the distance is about the same, i.e. really far away. And it feels like it. Central America is a world away from Argentina. This is civilization proper; very different from Chichè, that`s for sure!
This country is vast. There is so much space. Guatemala has spectacular scenery, but nowhere seems to be untouched by human hands. Here nature dominates everything. In a short few days we took in so many breathtaking views; lakes, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, virgin forests, crystal-clear rivers… One day we hiked for hours through an exquisite forest alongside a stunning lake to hot spring waterfalls gushing out of a wall of rock. We bathed in steaming pools before returning to feast at an estancia (country ranch) which had surely been sent from heaven, in a remarkable and isolated location on the shores of another wilderness lake, where we sat on the lawn and dined on exquisite food (very much appreciated after 5 hours trekking) in the company of extremely amiable hosts, who, it turned out, had attended St. Andrews School in Buenos Aires. They seemed delighted to have a real Scot amongst them and invited me back with the promise of bagpipes…






After four intense days I sadly but fondly bid farewell to the Danish posse – we shared much fun, laughter, excellent food and even more excellent wine. (Argentinian wine is a must! That`s what we`ll be drinking when we land!) Then I went back to the estancia, where I joined the clan for a couple of days. Sure enough, Brian had arrived, virtuoso piper by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen and to many other visiting dignitaries from far British shores. So there we were, surrounded by the trees and the mountains, the sound of Scottish bagpipes floating on the breeze…another unforgettable experience in this grand adventure I am undertaking. I have been showing my Scottish hardiness by swimming in the icy waters of the many lakes every day – something the Argentinians consider utter madness, but it`s good for body and soul, I am convinced. A few days ago I arrived in Bariloche, Argentina`s hub of summer and winter mountain sports, where I have been royally hosted by the family of an Argentinian friend I met in Guatemala. Bariloche is like Switzerland in Argentina – small wonder so many Swiss and Germans settled here – right down to the growth of a fine chocolate industry. I am currently sitting in a chocolate parlour partaking in the delicias! Soon I will be heading for the glaciers and the end of the world…Love to my Patagonian chums and keep on suppin` that vino argentino!

2 Comments:

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Gorge El Curioso (J)

P.S. Grrrrrrr

 
At 2:30 pm, Blogger Martin said...

I'm kinda getting used to it...

xx Martin

 

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