Tent up, rain drizzly, and us out for a noontime nap in Parque Los Alerces. Two essentially sleepless nights in a row, and it doesn’t matter how beautiful, unique, adjective-of-your-choice this parque nacional may be, we need to recharge.
After a night of upright slumber in bus turbulence, we optimistically lay our heads to rest in our respective top bunks at Hostel Planeta, brains replaying our excited conversations with my parents and belly full from breaking bread with our hostel friends–the couple from Telluride, Elise who wants to open a maison d’hôte down here, David from Lausanne, engineering student Brad hoping to transfer to either Boulder, Madison, Boseman or Seattle–and we cannot wait for Mr. Sandman to pay us a visit with a night of horizontal shut-eye.
Apparently, the invitations is lost in the mail.
Hostel Planeta, it turns out, does not offer sleep, especially not on Friday and Saturday nights, confirms Elise, because it is located directly across the street from a bumping discoteca without a care in the world, and despite being at least four walls away with ears stuffed with green earplugs and heads buried under the covers, we might as well be trying to use their speakers as head rests because even my pillow vibrates. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, I think for a second, and on cue, the muffler-less taxi dude begins his five-minute cycle of circulating revelers from club to toasty bed in quiet home, the roar of his jalopy the sound of a gang of disgruntled Harley riders running circles in my brain.
Surely, surely, this cannot last all night, and indeed, it doesn’t: Just as my 6 am alarm signals the end of our attempt at sleep, the club empties, the taxis cruise to a stop, and our dorm mates swap beds with us, in from their night out as we roll out for the day.
OMG, this is how random acts of violence occur, people pushed to the brink of insanity by sleeplessness, and when our thirty minute window of cush turns to a seven minute window of we-are-about-to-miss-our-fucking-8-A-M-bus-to-the-Alerces-because-our-scheduled-taxi-is-a-no-show, I just about flip my lid.
Fate has a way of making us sweat, I know, and we still manage to make it to our bus, this fly-by-the-skin-of-our-butts a common trend south of the border, and now, after a 2.5 hour ride from Esquel to Rio Arreyes campground, our stomping ground in the national park famous for its giant trees, the Alerces, around before the Roman Empire, we do what we haven’t really done in three nights since the night before the night before last has us shivering in too few blankets and ill-functioning radiator–