A friend of mine is currently travelling the world. Here is his second report. I posted his first report from Nepal last November.
Flew into Buenos Aires nearly a month ago. This is a great city, very vibrant with bars and restaurants everywhere, and also because of Argentina’s previous economic problems, very cheap. By the way, steak is better at home.
The undoubted highlight was the football match (River Plate v Arsenal). A great game, with an incredible atmosphere and the distinct possibility of being attacked by either the supporters or the many riot police present. I stayed there for 4 days and then headed for a 2500km bus journey to Ushuaia.
The first bus journey to Puerto Madryn took 36 hours. It was actually supposed to take 8 but the bus (a Mercedes) broke down after 3 hours and the replacement took another 24 hours to get there. So I was stranded in a town called “The Avenue of the 9th July” in the Pampas. That might give you some idea what the place was like. The most exciting thing about it was the mosquitos. Anyway got out of that dump the following day and made it to Puerto Madryn.
Puerto Madryn is famous for two things – there is a Welsh colony outside it and it also contains the Valdez Peninsula which has a large colony of penguins, seals and very rarely seen Killer Whales. Amazingly I did see the whales – there were two swimming very close to the coast checking out the seals for some blubber sushi later on.
Two days later, I arrived in a town down south called Rio Gallegos to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, drinking dark beer in a Texan bar that was showing Ricky Martin Videos.
So after 6 days we finally made it to Ushuaia or the “End of the World” as it tiresomely proclaims itself. Actually, it’s a really lively town set in stunning scenery which made a real change as most of the trip down was through flat arid, monotonous land. The next time I would fly.
After a few days there, we went to Torres del Paine in Chile to do what is called the “W” walk with 6 others. If the weather is good, at dawn the towers glow bright orange. But guess what – the bus (Yes another Mercedes!) broke down delaying us by 4 hours. So we decided to camp for a few hours and set out at 3.00am in the morning in the darkness carrying all clothes and food for 4 days. Made it for dawn but the weather was cloudy so no glow. Still, I am glad to have done it.
It wasn’t until we retraced our steps in the daylight when we say how dangerous the trail was in some places. That day consisted of 13 hours walking, the next day 9 hours and the final day 7 hours. Was heartily sick of raisins and Salami by the end of the walk. The scenery is stunning though.
Then came a days rest and back into Argentina for a 15 hour hike including a 2-hour Glacier trek and an hour of ice climbing which was brilliant. This was in the Fitzroy Mountains. We then took another bus (a Toyota this time) for a days rafting on a class 4 rapids in Fatalefu in Chile.
I am now resting in Barlioche for a few days over Easter and relishing the thought of doing nothing. I am looking forward of going back into Chile again as I think I prefer the scenery on the Chilean side. The people there seem more laid back than the Argentines as well.
If anyone is interested in South American Politics check out “El Supremo” on the Internet – the first ruler of Paraguay. Among his many accomplishments was having all the dogs in the country shot. Everyone had to raise their hat to him when he passed by. If you didn’t wear a hat you had to carry a hat brim and raise that. In his later years no one was allowed to look at him in the face and all subjects had to keep at least 6 feet away. El Supremo died peacefully. His body was then fed to Aligators.
Anyway thats all for now.