It seems that wherever I go on this continent, I simply cannot get rid of the guy. When I walked into The Clan this morning, who should I meet yet again, but my old travel buddy Chris! Nah, actually I was really happy to see him — it's been a while since we parted, back in Lima, and plenty has happened in between. Chris will be in town for a few days, before he heads off to explore various other places in Argentina. Today was also a day of reunion with Oly, who I last saw not that long ago in Quito, and who's going to be down here in BA for the next few months, trying to get some freelance web design work. Plus, I bumped into various other people that I haven't seen for a while — such as one guy that I met back in La Paz, and another that I met in Cusco. Seems like all the '07 PEB veterans have come down to Argentina — time for a big reunion party!
Ahhh, the Oiyrish — gotta love 'em after the first few beers, gotta be ready to catch 'em after a few more. Ed's no exception: he's just like the rest of his kinfolk. Ed's part of the Patanuk crew for this week, and he's a really fun mix in the collection. Always got a joke or two up his sleeve; always got room for another beverage in that Irish stomach of his; and occasionally got the capacity to get up of a morning, and to go snowboarding. A great ambassador of his fine nation.
Paul's a ragged hippie backpacker, from that place in Oz where you go if there's a wedding or a barmitzvah (aka "Melbourne"), and who (like myself) is doing the South America thing solo. I first met Paul while hiking in the Colca Canyon, in southern Peru, about 2 months ago. Today, I bumped into him again, while snowboarding up at Cerro Catedral. Funny guy, and always up for a beer or two.
A very unique couple to be staying in a hostel in Argentina, if ever there was one. Simon's an English IT dude in his 30s, and Anna is his very sweet little 10-year-old daughter. They're in town (in Patanuk, along with the rest of us) for the remainder of the week, and they're hoping to do a bit of skiing and a bit of boarding up at the mountain, during their time here. Simon enjoys crazy snow runs, lots of beer, and rolling his own tobacco ciggies — he's also a vegetarian, when not in Argentina (where I believe vegetarianism is virtually impossible, perhaps even illegal :P).
For the past 10 years or so, Travis has worked every American winter as a ski instructor, in his home state of Colorado; and every American summer as a cycle tour leader. So as you can imagine, he's a very fit dude, and one hell of a skier. Travis arrived here at Patanuk today, and he's hanging round for the rest of the week. His plans include a lot of skiing up on the mountain, and a lot of beer- and wine-drinking back in town, of an evening.
This brother-and-sister couple arrived in Patanuk today, and they're staying for the rest of the week. They're both from Colorado: Sarah still lives there, but Jordan's living in LA, where he's going to "school" (i.e. Uni) at UCLA. As with all Coloradans, they love their mountains and their mountain activities. They're here to do a bit of hiking, a bit of snowbaording, and a lot of partying.
Despite my best efforts, I simply can't remember what his real name is: anyway, we all call him "Finland", or "Finlandia". Finlandia is a giant of a dude (must be about 6"5'), with shoulder-length blonde hair, and an angular face that shows his Nordic heritage. He's a mountain guide (climbing, hiking, etc — he's fit enough to do it all), and he's been working in northern Chile for the past nine months. Thus, when we're not calling him Finlandia, his other name is "Chileno" (or just "juebon" :P). He's an extreme adventurer, as well as a great chef; and he's been an all-out partygoer during his time here at Patanuk.
Dave's an Aussie guy in his 30s, who's lived for most of his life on Kangaroo Island (off the coast of South Australia), and who works in tourism marketing (was working for SA tourism — so yes, you can blame him for those crappy "visit South Australia" ads). He's down here in South America for a few weeks, before heading off to London, where he's hoping to spend some time doing what every other Aussie does, and working there. I met him on the bus to Bariloche today, and he hung out with me at Patanuk for a few days, before continuing south.
Two young English girls, that I ended up climbing Volcán Villarrica with today. They're actually travelling with one other English girl, but their friend couldn't make it today, as she was a bit sick. Great sports, and (like me), looking forward to plenty more travelling and advnturing for the rest of the coming year.
I met Tony here at the Secret Garden, on my first night in Quito, and I've been bumping into him now and then over the past few days. I ended up convincing him to come and climb Cotopaxi with me: which was just as well, because otherwise, I might not have been able to climb it at all. Tony's an Englishman, who gave up his boring day-job about 7 years ago, to become a permanent traveller, and a virtually full-time scuba-diving instructor. Quiet chap, but he's up for any adventure that comes his way.