Autumn’s Adventures

Patagonia, Argentina
October 25, 2009, 7:09 pm
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I sit here writing this, broke as a joke, because my Patagonia trip took all of my money.  I knew it was going to be expensive but I didn’t realize how much the south squeezes out every last moneda from your pocket.  They really have a hold on tourism and know what they are doing.  Regardless, I had a fabulous time and I don’t mind eating tuna from a can for the next few weeks until I go home.

The south of Argentina is like another world compared to the north.  The mountains are snow capped versus rainbow colored.  There is grass for miles versus dry, red dirt.  The people are whiter and taller and wear nicer clothes than I do.  Penguins seem to be the exploited animal of the south for tourists while the llama is the pick of the litter in the north (though the south has llamas too they call them guanacos).

Even though it was cold and windy as all hell I ended up eating ice cream in almost every place we stopped.  I bought a retarded amount of chocolate and even though we weren’t in the correct season for fresh berries, I ate every berry related product I could get my hands on in the south.

We traveled down the east coast of Patagonia and found that no matter where we went along the water, the fish and seafood were way overpriced so we bought only one dish and stuck to canned tuna for the duration of the trip.  I tried smoked clam jerky and it was pretty delish but gave me some raunchy ass burps that I doubt dave appreciated.  I also could have done without them, to be honest.

We stayed with a few couch surfers, one in Puerto Madryn, two in El Calafate and one more in Ushuaia.  They were all great hosts and they made the trip so much more comfortable and fun.  Dave and I rented a car for part of the trip and he tought me how to drive stick in a deserted tourist town.

Perito Moreno glaciar was a spectacular sight.  We woke up at the ass crack of dawn and rented a car with some other couch surfers so we could arrive to the park before it opened in order to avoid paying the entrance fee.  Not only was it worth it for that, being the first ones there meant we could enjoy the glaciar in peace.

After the glaciar we headed up to a town created in 1985 after Argentina realized there was a spectacular mountain that was apparently unclaimed and they jumped at it before Chile could.  The town, El Chalten, is nothing to call home about and the area is so windy a few times I thought it was going to push me down.  I think the best part of this town was the hot shower in the hostel.  I literally took an hour long shower because the water pressure was like an amazing massage on my tired back.

We passed through Chile, stopping in Puerto Natales which is the nearest port town to the national park of Torres del Paine.  On a whim we decided to be “super hikers” and try to hike the park’s four day trail which included camping.  I made it one day and one night and decided that I wasn’t the camping, super hiking type.  It was a nice time but four days of it was going to make me hate hiking and camping for the rest of my life.  Dave ended up doing three days and met up with me later in Ushuaia.

The end of the world town, Ushuaia, is nice and quiet (probably because I was there during off season).  The scenery is breathtaking but unless you are a climber, hiker or sailor, this town will get boring after a week.  Luckily I stayed there for less than a week so I am still enamored by it and it’s beauty.

It doesn’t matter if you go to the very southern tip of Argentina and stick your thumb out for a free “boat” ride.  There is no way you’ll get to Antarctica for less than the price of an organ or an ovary.  The area around Antarctica is heavily monitored, too, in order to protect it and protect the people traveling to it so I’m not even sure independent sailboats can travel there — it’s just too dangerous and they don’t want anymore Titanic-like accidents.  As much as I would love to see the snowy, giant ice continent, I am willing to wait until the price comes down.

Both tired and sick of traveling, Dave and I decided it was best to take a flight back to Buenos Aires versus the 2-3 day bus ride which would essentially cost us more anyway.  It was nice to fly again — I haven’t flown in a plane since I came to Argentina last year which is hard to believe.  Dave and I said our goodbyes as he left me in the bus station where I once again would take a 20 hour bus back to Jujuy.

You can view my photos here.  I separated each place we went into a “set” starting with Iguazu and ending with Ushuaia.  Enjoy!


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