January 2, 2006
I spent this afternoon uploading photos. The Internet is really slow here, but I have no other choice if I want to keep my site up-to-date. I also chatted with several friends online, which was a nice way to start the new year (I know, a day late).
In the evening, I took a bus with Jenny to Esquel. I wasn't sure why it cost more than normal when I paid for the ticket, but as soon as I sat down, I figured it out. The seats were gigantic, folded back all the way, and had about two feet of extra space for my legs. It was like I had my own Lay-z-boy, but I couldn't figure out how they could fit such big seats on a bus. Then I noticed that there were only three rows of seats instead of four! I felt way too privileged to be able to ride such a nice comfortable bus. Too bad it was only for four hours.
We got into Esquel late tonight, so we weren't able to do much other than hang out at the hostel. There were a lot of Argentinian people staying there, which was a nice change of pace. In the last few places I've stayed, everyone spoke English, which isn't good for learning a new language.
Even though Argentina suffered an economic collapse a few years ago, it still feels like the richest country I've visited so far. It's not as expensive as Chile, but the people act the part. They all wear nice clothes, eat big steaks, and drink good wine. This is also the most European country I've visited so far. Most of the people in the hostel can trace all of their ancestry back to Europe. It's strange seeing so many people with blonde hair and blue eyes in South America. Argentina used to be one of the richest countries in the world, and even though the prices are very low here compared to the United States, it still has all of the conveniences of home, making it one of the best bargains around.