So this is kind of ridiculous and I really can’t believe it myself, but even though I was in Santiago, Chile in October, I’m going to be heading back next month. This will be the third time I’m visiting Chile, but because of visiting during the New Year season the first time, it means I will have been in Chile in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. It makes me wonder about how long I’ve been away from home. I couldn’t believe when I went back so quickly in October, and yet again I’m surprised with myself. I don’t usually repeat visits to the same place so, let alone so quickly. While I really like Santiago, the main reason that I’m going back is simply straight economics. You see, next month in March the government has granted us working stiffs with an extra day off to make a 4 day weekend in the hopes of inspiring more tourism and travel.
I was originally hoping to take my vacation to Bolivia and northwestern Argentina during this time, but just this week I was told that it’s still high season for us at the office. My big 2 week vacation will have to wait a month later at the end of April and into May. It was a disappointment for me, especially since my last vacation was over a year ago and I just feel mentally and physically drained, in need of some kind of break before shutting down. I was going to accept my ill fate until I realized today that the long weekend still existed, and the perfect way to stretch it out and make my way until the vacation would be with a small trip somewhere. But where to?
I quickly scanned the map of giant Argentina and thought about where I could go. I’ve been to many spots in this country, but Bariloche and the Lake District is one big hub that I haven’t been to yet. In fact, aside from my pending trip to the northwest, you might say it’s the last frontier for me here (among many other marvelous spots to see, of course). Yet looking up flights proved that it’s still expensive to fly there. Flying into Santiago, Chile, however, was much cheaper. I can’t really figure out it, because Aerolineas Argentinas, a national carrier, is currently offering cheaper international airfare than domestic airfare to a city that isn’t exactly MUCH farther away than the former one. And when you think about it, the whole idea of the long weekend was to promote national tourism. All they’ve done is driven away money from Argentina into neighboring Chile. Good move.
At the end of the day it’s just too expensive to travel domestically in Argentina to a great distance. Even my bus trip to Rosario, just 4 hours north of BA, cost me $200 ARS round trip, which isn’t peanuts. I would have loved to have visited the Lake District or La Rioja, for example, but those flights cost almost $800 ARS more than my flight to Santiago de Chile. That’s precious money. My friend Nicole said that of course I could stay with her again and I know we’ll have a great time like on the last trip. Already I feel a little bit better knowing that I’ll have a trip coming up soon. It’s important to have these things to look forward to, otherwise you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.