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We’re finally out of the wormhole and back on solid ground, alone, unfettered, and dag gummit, untalked to. What am I talking about? Mamaj and I took a trip from Puerto Varas through to Bariloche via the Lakes Crossing (it’s capital-letter worthy, look it up), and the weather was mostly good, or at least not torrential, which is a near miracle for this time of year. There will be pictures, really! The lakes district is just as pretty as I knew it would be, just as pretty as it was the last time I was here. But untalked to. What’s going on?

It’s great to be on a tour, when all you have to remember to do is wake up and get on a bus. Someone makes sure your luggage goes where you’re going, they point you to where to eat, hold your arm when you get off the bus (what is that about, anyway? you’re just going to wrench my arm out if its socket if I go down).

But, what I just remembered that I despise about anything group-oriented is that there is so. much. talking. Everything we had to be told over the course of two days (where to be, when to be there, why the lakes are blue, the name of every animal ever sighted nearby, the delightful optional excursions offered (including visiting a working! farm! (what am I, six?)) had to be communicated to us. In Spanish. And Portuguese. And English. If it had been just one language, it would have taken up maybe 30% of the time we were in the bus/boat/bus/boat/bus/boat/bus, which is about 20% more than I might have liked. And then it had to then be translated into the other two languages. At many points which I wished I could no longer understand the other two languages, so I would not have to hear the same. talking. again. What with the 30% and 30% and 30% the talking seemed to occupy (at times), 90% of all available listening (or hearing) space. I’m probably exaggerating. It’s a lot of talking, that’s all I’m saying. And I’m of the set of people that like to see stuff. While we sit. And say nothing.

And now, we are in Bariloche, blissfully tour-free. We don’t know where we’re going or what we’re doing, and we’ll have to schlep our own luggage around, but with any luck, the only people talking will be us.

I don’t know how people take multi-day guided tours (especially if more than one language is involved). Hats off to you patient non-oversaturatable people. Seriously, hats off, even those ridiculous matching Peruvian hats with the braids or that black ski cap with the little sparkly flower, or even your hat, man with the gym bag who didn’t seem to have a single long-sleeved shirt with him but miraculously produced (and then never took off) a military-style blue fleece-lined ski cap with earflaps.
Thank you for listening quietly without saying anything. It’s really what I needed today.