Part of the draw of fishing is sharing the experience with friends. Probably more in flyfishing as it is more focused on the experience than about the catch. So this post is to share with my fishing buddies that were not able to go to Argentina with me, I missed you guys out there, and also to my new fishing buddies of Bariloche. I realize landing a trophy brown trout seems uneventful if I am not able to share the moment with you guys.
With not much of a guidance than a childhood dream of flyfishing the Patagonia and a guidebook written over 20 years ago, I packed up my rods and headed for Northern Patagonia for 5 weeks. The guidebook “Argentine Trout Fishing” stated that the northern area is the most accessible in terms of roads and most popular with the town Junin de Los Andes as the Capital of flyfishing in Argentina using Bariloche as a starting point to rent a car and get familiar with the area. I arrived on a Saturday afternoon after about 24 hour bus ride from Buenos Aires. The shops were closed already and will be closed on Sunday also. But I was lucky enough to find an inexpensive car rental for about $600 for a month. After asking around, I could not wait to get on the river first thing in the morning on Sunday. The closest river was the Limay which as just out of town about 10 miles. The author of the guidebook mentions that the river is popular with locals but he has never caught anything after numerous tries on the river. I surely would have more luck. Sunday, I arrived at the river to find one that is perfect—crystal clear, good flow from a large cold mountain lake. I immediately looked for fish in the river being able to look right to the deep pools to the rocky bottom. I fished the river for about 10 hours with everything, nymphs, streamers, stimulators and a variety of terrestrials. The excitement grew to frustration..how could such a beautiful river be so difficult, or maybe the river has been recently polluted recently that is not mentioned in an obviously outdated guidebook. I casted endlessly to a seemingly perfect river but not seeing any fish at all. I went back to the hostel that night wondering that I have just traveled across the globe to be skunked thinking is this how my fishing for the month will be like, maybe I should make a early reservation for a flight back.
The more I travel, the more I realize that it is not the places or the sites, that makes the experience memorable or enjoyable; it is has to do with the people and friends that you meet and share the experience along the way. So, I feel very much blessed that I was not only able to travel to see an amazingly beautiful country but more importantly was able to meet up with old friends and also meet new ones.
It is Christmas, and I am back home in the US after completing my two years service in Peace Corps Guatemala. It always nice to be back home with friends and family especially during the festive holiday season. But during this holiday season, I can not avoid the thought of my friends and adopted whom I left. Leaving Guatemala was harder than I ever thought it would be. Sure, anybody would expect after living within a small community in a foreign place for a couple years that leaving would be emotional from the bonds that we develop. But, this time was much harder than leaving the many places that I lived previously and it even did not hit me until the last few days in Guatemala.
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I joined the Peace Corps because I believed in its value and that I would enjoy the experience and adventure; mentally approaching it as if it was just a job or a trip. But the truth is that my experience deeply affected me in ways that I am still trying to comprehend and probably will not ever know the subtle yet significant ways that it has transformed me. Thinking about this, I can not believe how I am surprised by the affect on me, after all, this is ultimately the reason that I joined PC – not only that I can help others but knowing that others will help to shape me as a better person. I feel fortunate and blessed in that I was able to have met so many great people that not only were friends but more like family.