March 31, 2011

Neuquén in a nutshell

Ever since our recent unexpected meeting with Edgardo, we've been learning all about the place in Argentina we are now (Lord-willing) moving to: Neuquén.

A year ago we sensed that the general area of Argentina that God was calling us to were the three southern provinces of Neuquén, Rio Negro, and Chubut. We were trusting the Lord to make it clear which one it was. He has. And it's so funny to think that the city of Neuquén, in the province of the same name, is the place we are going - since we barely knew it existed, let alone knew anything about it.

But, Neuquén it is, I guess!

So, since we are moving there in a couple of months, we want to find out as much as we can about it now. This is what we've learned so far...

The city of Neuquén is located in the south of Argentina, at the northernmost tip of Patagonia. Neuquén is the largest city in the Argentine province of the same name (see if you can find it below).

Map of Patagonian Provinces

Neuquén province is about the size of Indiana, with about the same population as Wyoming (500,000). Three-fifths of the province's inhabitants can be found in the city of Neuquén.

Neuquén is located in the great Patagonian desert. Yes, desert. Didn't know there was a desert there? Well, don't feel bad, neither did I. It rains a whopping half inch a month - and reaches almost a whole inch in June. So if you want green grass instead of brown dirt, you have to water your lawn every day.

Edgardo informed us that there are four marked seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. It gets hot in the summer, but the humidity is very low (hallelujah!), and Wikipedia tells me there are strong winds from the south, making it feel cooler (hallelujah again! sidenote: my emotional well-being is way too wrapped up in the weather forecast; it's a sad reality.) Winters are mild (compared to the Northeast, that is), and snow can occur (again, a whopping one inch in June).

The city of Neuquén has sprung up over the last century from a population of 5,000 to almost 300,000 today. It is located at the confluence of two rivers: the Limay and Neuquén rivers. The city has an extensive irrigation system, which allows for an abundance of apple, pear, and peach tree plantations. Much of Argentina's petrochemical industry is also found in and around Neuquén, providing many jobs to the area.

Outside of the city, the rest of the province is made up of desert and mountains punctuated by smaller towns and remote mountain villages.

Click on the following for pictures in and around the city and province of Neuquén:

downtown skyline and here
storm over the city
little boy in the slums
west of town towards Andean foothills
funky fauna
funky flora (and gratuitous rock shot - look at the columnar jointing in that basalt!)
Mapuche territory
northeastern foothills
the beautiful Andes

Also check out Google Earth. You can zoom in on hundreds more photos taken in and around the city (or anywhere in the world for that matter).


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