Andrew came to town in December! we spent the weekdays exploring Buenos Aires and making fun stuff at the studio, and we squeezed in two little out-of-town trips on the weekends. First weekend, we packed up our tent and bathing suits and headed out to Tigre bright and early on Saturday morning. I love packing for camping, I always forget something important but I love the process, making a little list and packing it all neatly in bags.
Here was our camping list:
towels (we ended up only bringing one tiny hand-towel to share between the three of us. oops)
deck of cards
flask of whiskey
books to read (Eliza: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin; Andrew: Dwelling Portably, 1980-1989; Mike: Blood Meridian
plastic bowls and cups
We took the commuter train up to Tigre and caught a ferry out of Tigre, up the river about an hour into the leafy delta, and got off at an island with a humble little boy-scout-camp type place called IMOS. I believe it’s a municipal campground. As soon as we got our tent up, we put on our swimsuits and jumped in the river!!!!! Sweet sweet cool summer river water. Splashing and paddling and somersaults ensued, followed by lazing in the sunshine and beer and card games in the shade. We found sticks and Andrew made a magnificent campfire, I jumped in the river one more time, and we feasted on smoky roasted potatoes and onions and pasta. Went up to the camp building and played a round of pool. Fell asleep to the sound of mosquitoes and cumbia dancing. In the morning it was rainy, we stayed pretty dry in our tent but we didn’t stick around to frolic in the river as I had hoped. To get home, you have to go sit at the end of the dock and wait for a ferry-boat to go past, and wave it down. There didn’t seem to be any schedule, we just had to go sit out there for what turned out to be a few hours before catching the boat back home.
The following weekend, we took a 1 am bus out of the city, headed for Mar Azul, a tiny little town on the Atlantic coast south of Buenos Aires. We fell asleep and woke up in the small beach city of Villa Gessell at 7 am. Caught a local bus and rode down a dirt road through a string of little beach towns, Mar de las Pampas, Las Gaviotas, and Mar Azul. Last year we’d spent christmas in the same area, in Mar de las Pampas, but we headed for Mar Azul this time because it seemed like a tinier, quieter, more relaxed spot. We had backpacks and sleeping bags but no tent and no idea where we’d be sleeping at night. We took a walk around the campground, then wandered down the main drag checking out the jumble of beach houses. We caught sight of the cutest little tiny A-frame cabins near the beach and we were in luck, the owners happened to be right there and were happy to rent us a cabin for the weekend.
So, we spent christmas sitting on the sand, jumping in the waves, strolling down the beach, dutifully applying and re-applying sunscreen.
This year there were more people on the beach, but it was still far from crowded. The sun was hot and the water was suprisingly warm. There was a strong wind and lots of big big waves and a strong current. And moments of total summer fun and contentment, sitting on the beach and playing in the waves with two of my favorite people in the world. On the last day, we saw two or three orca playing in the waves just a hundred yards out from the beach! We could see their black and white markings as they jumped in and out of the waves.
I really wish we could get back to Mar Azul (or any kind of summer swimming spot) again this summer but it’s pretty hard to get around with two dogs and no car…