El Bolson is one of those places so unique that I want to capture all of the images I have seen and compile them into a film. Two little kids screaming and rolling down a tiny grass hill in the center of the plaza. A woman with a clown’s nose and a painted face walking by bobbing her head forwards and backwards. A group of teenagers who would have fit right in at MA dancing to a band playing in the center of the town that reminded me of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes (did I leave San Francisco?). Women with balloon pants and men with dreadlocks… all with backpacking packs. A plaza filled with people sitting on the grass, listening to live music and taking their evening mate or beer (the famous artesanal El Bolson beer) with friends. Jagged Patagonian mountains cradling the city on either side, turned even more dramatic in twilight.
I traveled to El Bolson with Osha, who is from Colorado, and Roel and Gonneke, a couple from Holland. We all met at Hostel Pudu, and ended up being a well-matched traveling group. The four of us spent the afternoon walking around the feria for which El Bolson is renowned. The booths of the feria are set up in a semicircle around a grass plaza that served as the backdrop for many of the images that I would incorporate in my film. The feria has everything: leather, mate gourds, clothing, epoxy elves, waffles, delicious fruit juices, cheap slices of pizza, clocks, things built of wood, silver jewelry, and knives. I like to look at these ferias as museums of sorts, and walk around looking at everything as a piece of art instead of something to buy (except for the food, of course). This feria boasted especially beautiful artwork.
In the evening, we ate at a restaurant that made homemade pasta. Though the food was delicious, I might have enjoyed the menu more than anything else. They had translated “papas” (potatoes) as if it were “papás” (dads), and for some reason “fried” became “friend.” As such, we could have ordered “Legs of chicken with dad’s friend” instead of “chicken fingers with french fries” (correctly translated from “patitas de pollo con papas fritas”). Some other menu items included “Supreme of chicken with friend” (suprema con papas fritas), “Friend squid ring” (rabas), “Dads mash” (pure de papas), or, my favorite, “Loin to the pepper with dads to the cream” (lomo a la pimienta con papas a la crema). I ended up ordering the squash gnocchi, which the menu had translated correctly.