El Calafate

Dodgy Internet access for next week or so, updates may be a bit sporadic – especially uploading photos !

Travelling ever further south to the National Glacier Park on the Argentinean / Chile border. Typing this in the “super quick” cafe at Rio Gallegos  a transit stop en-route from Puerto Madryn to El Calafarte for three nights and then a short 300 km hop to El Catalen – north and south areas of the park for another two nights in the wilderness.

Rio Gallegos reminds me of Tonopah – somewhere to stop rather than visit! Still shudder at memories of the Clown Motel Tonapah.

Without the Truck long distance travel is by somewhat daunting overnight sleeper coaches – Puerto Madryn to Rio Gallegos 17 hours for example. This sounds awful but is surprisingly comfortable, near horizontal reclining seats, meals and a loo! Moving 23 people and their luggage for 6 months is interesting.

Luggage for 23 …………

Couple of amusing incidents, on the first hop from BA to Puerto Madryn, dinner meal was served on a tray as a cold rice and meat dish, crackers and a crème brulee sweet. Most people halfway through the crème brulee  when the hot dish of potato and breaded chicken was served………

The crew and service on the second bus much friendlier, better English and excellent selection of English language or subtitled films including the hilarious Marv about a wannabe super hero – recommended. Highlight was definitely when bingo cards were issued or as the host described it “Las Vegas on the bus!” Well Las Vegas it wasn’t but it was a diverting 15 mins for a bottle of wine and did wonders for improving my counting in Spanish skills.

One less than amusing disaster was avoided when having carefully watched our group’s mountain of luggage loaded -and issued a airline style baggage checks which are scrupulously checked to retrieve your bag. A passenger realised he was on the wrong bus and moved to the bus next to ours. Lisa noticed that Geoff’s bag was going with him. All rapidly and amicably resolved, however not sure it was a theft foiled or simply a genuine mistake. From the rest of the service I tend to the latter, although some not convinced. Geoff given a bottle of fizzy for his troubles which he quite rightly gave to Lisa as if she hadn’t noticed and spoken up he would have lost all his clothes and camping gear.

Good news on the Truck front, Pete emailed a photo of the bus on the dock at Montevideo, plan is to spend Tuesday preparing it (lot of stuff inside for shipping e.g. spare tyres which really belong on the outside) whilst paperwork is processed and with any luck they will be on the road Wednesday to catch us up in El Catalen by the weekend.

Whilst we love travelling around you do realise there are some aspects of Britain you do miss, like having more than 10 metres of unbroken pavement in a town or not having armed police board your coach to check passports every time you decide to move a few hundred miles. The bureaucracy involved in this latter activity seems immense and somewhat pointless as on at least one occasion our names were either not on or couldn’t be found. Result? Move on to next person.

Juggler 1

Star of the show

Did witness some seriously good juggling as we were leaving Puerto Madryn. Instead of washing your windscreen a team of three were taking it in turns to 3 ball juggle at the traffic lights for tips. We were walking and we must have watched at least 5 performances – not a single ball dropped and every trick demonstrated in 90 seconds, using elbows, knees, forehead, over the shoulder, under the knee, behind the back in the routine  – excellent standard and I doubt if any of the crew were older than 14 and that would be a pessimistic view of their age.  Budding entrepreneurs with genuine talent!

How good they could be by Josephs’ age is anyone’s guess. Fast Eddy territory?

Steve Edwards 4th December

 

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