Updates From People Around The World
We have been checking in with our travelers as well as our staff and tour leaders. We checked in with our tour operator in Argentina to see how he has been holding up in Patagonia. Anibal doesn’t always head out on our tours but he works closely with the entire team in Chile and Argentina.
Anibal Marasi, San Carlos de Bariloche Argentina
Where do you live? I live in San Carlos de Bariloche in the Province of Rio Negro in Argentina. Bariloche is known as the “Entrance to Patagonia” with a population of around 125,000.
Now that we are more than 7 months into this pandemic, what are the current regulations for where you live about going outside, how have they changed during this time? Currently we don’t have any particular strict lockdowns within the city. If you want to leave the city you do need to have a permit. Fortunately the government created a simple app for your phone that you can download to get the permits. If you want to leave the Province the permitting process is a bit more complicated, but if you have good reasons to travel you can get them. When we started there was a strict lockdown where we couldn’t really leave the house except for essential tasks like grocery shopping, and even then they staggered who could go by the last few digits on your ID card.
What ‘normal’ activities have you been able to maintain or resume? Today life is almost back to normal. Some activities are not allowed like theaters and movie theaters. The government has recently let activities open back up but it has been slow. Early on we could only go four blocks from our house, eventually they allowed solo bike rides and running.
Where is the first place you hope to visit once travel restrictions are lifted? Since we are so close to the border with Chile, the first thing many of us from Bariloche will do I think is to “cross the border” and visit our neighbors across the Andes.
What are you most grateful for during this time? On the personal side I have learned to savor the small moments in life. The moments that before we didn’t pay attention to because of the fast pace of every day life. These days, seeing friends is a huge “event” and being able to meet up for a beer at a bar (safely of course) I don’t take for granted and I truly value the company in the moment.
What have you been doing to pass the time? Winter in Patagonia this year was harsh and snowier than most recent years. I am part of a non-profit association of 4×4 owners that spend a lot of time bringing donations, food, clothes, medicine and toys to people who needed them. Some of the towns that are at the far south of the Patagonian Steppe were totally isolated because of the winter so we took a lot of trips (caravanning together but driving our own cars on lots of snowy roads – and sometimes getting stuck!) and distributed donations from the town of Bariloche. It was a very gratifying activity that filled us with purpose. You can see a video on Facebook of the group.
Are there any habits or past times from lockdown that you will keep as restrictions ease? I imagine some of the personal hygiene habits that we have been practicing will undoubtedly stick around.
How many house projects did you complete while you were on lock down? This pandemic has certainly affected my work in tourism and as a tour leader. So instead I decided to invest in a real estate project. I’m building the first workshop and office and warehouse for Dirty Bikes (my company). The project also includes four apartments which will be important rental revenue for me. The total work is around 480 square meters. You can see designs in the photos.
Any specific food or drink you have come to appreciate? Like any good Argentinian I love Fernet and Cola and Patagonian lamb.
If you had one piece of advice for people right now what would it be? Take care of yourselves and your health to come back strong to travel is the most important thing these days.