el sur


patagonia2005 travel

From guest blogger Jules:

despues de dos dias muy muy muy locas en buenos aires, vamos al calafate en
el sur de argentina. (after 2 really f**kin crazy days in b.a., we went to
el calafate in southern argentina, but bear in mind i dont remember the
correct conjugation of that verb, ir, for the past tense). the insanity that
we cooked up in the big ciudad, once we figured out how to hold the map
right, is more than i can possibly relate, suffice it to say we
got-er-done…

but let me back up and fill in those of you who are not familiar with the
custom in latin america. we eat a little lunch (por ejemplo, empanadas) a
las uno o dos, afterwards we take a siesta (anywhere from 1-8 horas), and
then we wake up around 9 pm, eat dinner at 10 or 11, and then start drinking
and party til dawn. i tell you, friends, this is a schedule i could truly
embrace (particularly in the dreamlike state where jet lag and sleep
deprivation tango). our second night in b.a. was spent in this manner, con
nuestro companero rob knapik (from fort collins) on a quest, no, a holy
crusade, for the perfect restaurant (which ended when we finally found a
reasonable looking one and were too ravenous to keep walking), where we ate
huge fatty gordo gigante platos de comida rico (salmon y steak), washed them
down with 2 bottles of vino, and just when consuming more food seemed
imposible, we then ordered the most extravagant dessert on the menu,
essentially a barge of helados (ice creams), dulce de leche, cookies, etc.
all on top of panqueques dulces, ay ay ay. apparently, our waiter was amused
with los gringos borrachos (drunk honkeys), so he brought us glasses of
champagne on the house.

after this, we stumbled upon an irish pub (some things you never have to
look hard for, en todo el mundo) had whiskeys, guinnii, and “chanchos”
(knapik’s drink, fernet y coca, fernet es un licor egual de jagermeister).
we were dismayed at this point to learn that all the discotecas were closed
due to a freak accident la semana pasada, but not to fear, we convinced our
waiter to bring us home and entertain us until the dawn. we all caught a
taxi, in bucketing rain, when the pub closed (around 4 am), and ended up at
our new friend paolo’s apartment, where we danced away the wee hours to his
cranked-up stereo, braving the rain on his deck, which was several stories
high overlooking the city. finally we made it back to the hotel to pass out
on our chiclet-sized camas at 7:30 am. surreal! un buen tiempo!

of course, all the goings-on of the night made it a bit of a mission to make
our flight at 3:30 pm that afternoon, but somehow, just barely, we pulled
it. and now we have been magically transported from the land of chaos to un
lugar mas tranquilo in el calafate… very reminiscent of some of the
colorado mountain towns, like cb or telluride, but a little larger. when we
sauntered into town, in fact, a feeling of calm like i haven’t had in months
washed over me as i saw the place, one main street, quaint little shops,
perros libros (dogs running around free), and shaggy pack-carrying
mountainfolk (mostly international) all over the place. did i mention the
distinctive skyline of the patagonian andes in the distance. mi corazon es
contento ahora…

we are staying in a hostel, which has good and bad points (namely, the
stinky snoring europeans we are sharing our room with, holy funk, people, do
you ever bathe), and tomorrow (feb. 1) we depart early for el parque
nacional los glaciares, the fitzroy area. we are planning to do a 5-day trek
there, and then return to civilization for a few days before heading further
south. i’m buzzing with anticipation, for so close to the mountains (and
they look every bit as remarkable as i had imagined) i feel i have truly
arrived now. espero que hay mucho sol en la semana proxima… today was
beautiful, sunny, but i understand that we have mucho viento y lluvia (wind
and rain) to look forward to, sooner or later…

ahora, ustedes ojos son cansados from reading all this mumbo-jumbo, so til
next time, take good care,

paz y alma,
jules