Enfin, le fameux départ est arrivé... le billet pour Santiago en poche, départ annoncé pour le 14 novembre 2010, pratiquement 4 ans après mon départ pour le tour du monde. A la recherche de mon Eldorado à moi, ma cité des Dieux.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Ozzie Gaucho

I met an Ozzie (Australian for the newbies) man who manages a huge estancia (35,000 hectares) in the Bariloche region (San Ramon estancia).
On this estancia they have 4000 sheep and 400 young cows (used to have 1000 cows but they transfered them to the Bahia Blanca area in August after the volcanoe on the Chilean side had its big eruption).
It actually belongs to a Swiss couple who own several big companies (like Suchards, temp agency ADECCO, etc)

Andrew is a 50 year old Ozzie with the worst Ozzie accent I have ever heard !
Originally came from a farm 1000 km west of Sydney, pretty much what I so call the middle of Bumblefuck.
Came to South America in his twenties for work, hooked up with an Argentinian woman with whom he had two boys (now 13 and 11.....I think !), led a bohemian life for a while : travelled for a year in Europe pushing his first son's pram, had a bar in Brazil on an island in Bahia for another year, etc
Then with the birth of his second son, the family flew back to Australia where he worked for several years becoming a consultant in the cattle industry and earning good money
Alas, as he was always away, the couple ended up splitting up and his wife went back to Argentina/Necochea with her two sons.
In order to stay close to his boys (being an excellent father !) he found this job as a manager on the San Ramon estancia.

There you have the main lines of that character....
I asked him if I could "work" as a volunteer on his estancia (like woofing) and he agreed....

So since yesterday, I joined him up in Bahia Blanca and discovered the lands they rent next to this city
They have 6,000 hectares here and 1,000 cows from Bariloche have been transferred to this place
Two gauchos are working with him, Moya and Daniel.
The infrastructures are pretty basic but much much better than what I expected
No hot water but a real bathroom (although filthy as hell), mice, mosquitoes...
But I have a roof over my head, I can actually wash myself ! and I don't have to go outside to pee when I wake up in the middle of the night.

We made a tour of the lands yesterday, the bird life seems pretty rich, lots of prey birds (including those cute ground owls)
I also saw a Patagonian hare from afar and they do say that there are quite a few pumas (cross fingers I can spot one)
Everydays' work occurs mostly on horseback....transferring the cows from one parcel to another, etc

For my first day I witnessed an awesome sunset, a huge orange full moon and this morning gorgeous sunrise.

I have a feeling I'm going to take loads of pictures, real happy I took those photo classes

Once Andrew has finished the tasks he assigned to himself here, we're driving to Bariloche
Another landscape, another climate, luxurious facilities compared to the ones we're in now...
I feel extremely lucky and have been smiling a lot lately !
Che is real happy to get the kind of adventure life it was meant to get after spending 3 months in a car park in Buenos Aires.


  1. It sounds pretty amazing !!! A new experience on the way or... I see you on the horse, in these vast landscapes, the sun on your face, totally enjoying talking to the cows, politely to make them go your way !!!!! And laughing of course !
    Enjoy and I can't wait for pictures (of the ozzie of course ;-)))

  2. Gosh. A new adventure for you dear Gauchos girl.
    big kiss

  3. Salut,
    We're glad : il n'est donc pas completement exclu qu'on arrive a se croiser en mai prochain en Argentine.
    The happy Althuser family on tour