We spent a couple of nights camping in Rio Puelo. This was the first village in our journey where we really felt we were in Patagonia…in a different world. We stayed in a campground, and the manager, Avierto gave us two recommendations for dining. The first night we went to a home restaurant. It was on a residential street. We went in and told the woman we wanted Cena, or dinner. She proceeded to serve us soup fresh bread, salad, Salmon potatoes, postre (dessert), and tea. She said she’s 73, and she’s lived in Rio Puelo her entire life. When she was young, there were only 3 homes in Rio Puelo. She’s been married for 50 years. Rio Puelo is clearly not a wealthy location, but this woman had several huge fruit tarts on display. I thought to myself, she probably sells one of those a week, but while we were there two people came in to buy the tarts. Go figure.
The second evening we went to a restaurant called Tique.
When we arrived a sign said abierta (open), the door was unlocked, and the lights were on. We went in. But there was no one there. The tables were set and the kitchen was all organized but it was empty. We shouted out hellos, both within the restaurant and outside. Then Char noticed a message on the door which said in Spanish, use the phone to dial 102. We looked for a phone, but the only one there was a dead cell phone.
Our personal cell phones didn’t have service. Eventually we found the number of the restaurant and managed to dial it. A delightful woman responded and said she’d been right over. What was interesting about this unlocked restaurant full of liquor, cash register, etc, was that it’s evidence of a level of trust, and honesty, in this region.