Thirty-one years ago I showed up on a ranch in Argentina to meet the Olsen family who owned and operated a fishing lodge. I’d been instructed by the outfitter I worked with to make a good first impression.
“Just be sure that the mother likes you. It will be a long season if she doesn’t.”
When we turned off the dusty road onto a narrow lane that took us through a dense plantation of pine trees… I entered another world. The shade from the trees was cool and palpable. Ibis paraded around on immaculately manicured lawns. A deeply shaded veranda was bordered by a riot of rose bushes. On the lawn, a mountain lion cub played with the matriarch of the family.
“This must be your American friend,” she said to my friend. “Como se llama, chico?” She asked me.
My Spanish was abysmal, but I had practiced for this moment, and I was determined to make a good impression.
“Me llamo es Roberto Blanco.” I responded proudly.
She glanced at my friend with a puzzled look, and then back to me with the beginning of a smile.
Oh my God! I thought. What have I said?
“Roberto Blanco?” She repeated, laughing. “You mean that your name is Bob White?”
I blushed in embarrassment.
“Oh, you’re a cute little Gringo,” she said, sweeping me into her arms. “My name’s Carmen. Carmen Olsen.”
That was 1985. I’ve guided, fished, and hosted groups of fishermen at San Huberto every year since. Here’s a selection of images from last year’s hosted trip.