Today was sunny, but with a blustery cool wind. We spent the morning in San Martin shopping and looking around and then headed south down highway 234, also called the Ruta de Los Siete Lagos (route of 7 lakes) towards San Carlos De Barioche. As the name promised we spent the remainder of the day driving past and viewing lakes, the rivers that feed/drain them, plus some spectacular mountains. Really a very pleasant day.
In camp tonight we got to reflecting on the transition we feel we have made from 3rd world to first world as we have moved south, and what in particular makes us feel that way. Nina observed that in San Martin for example every thing (buildings, road, side walks) are finished. There are no big holes in the middle of the roads, or side walks, and the buildings do not have steel reenforcing poking up through the roof as would have been the case in the countries before Chile. The streets are not patrolled by a small army of under fed dogs looking for their next meal. In both Chile and Argentina there seems to be a much higher level of private car ownership - trucks are now well out numbered by private cars which was not the case in the earlier countries. Finally tourist towns like Vina Del Mar (Chile) and San Martin (Argentina) have a very up market look and obvious affluence. Even the towns of Banos in Ecuador and Cusco in Peru did not have the same sense of affluence as San Martin.
We camped near the outflow of the Lago Villarino on the Western side of the road in an open meadow where the sign indicated free camping (the letter L inside a tent symbol). The spot had great views of mountains to the East and West and the company of cows and sheep.