The title says is it all.
Archive for February, 2010
Last night I managed to find me a nice Cuban cigar. The hotel has an inner courtyard and I had a voucher for one complimentary glass of wine. So while Jen slept I smoked my stoggie and drank my glass under the hot Argentine night sky. I´m ready to get back home.
Adios Argentina, maybe next we meet it will be on the back of a motorcycle, no?
In San Telmo, a barrio of Buenos Aires, there are many shops that sell kitch. I think this city has great nik nak taste. I hope to buy some obscure objects as gifts.
Last night we had drinks and dinner with a friend from Toronto who has moved here and started a family. He was patient and answered all the questions we had accumulated over our travels. Questions about simple things and complicated things. “Just what is up the police?”, “How do people stay up till 4 am and get to work by 7 am?”, etc. Once again, much wine and beef were consumed. Finally back to the hotel by 1 am, early by B.A. standards.
Today we went to the old cemetary in Palarmo and managed to find the grave of Evita… I guess we will have to see that Madonna movie now. A lot of walking in parks and trendy shops. Again, very hot in the city. 37 celcius.
We plan a simple night here in San Telmo and then off to the airport tomorrow for noon. One more 14 hour flight north to what I understand to be deep winter in Toronto, Canada. We arrive at 6 am Toronto time. It should be good and cold, no?
Ok, sleeping in today was great. It has been a lot of moving about the country. What an amazing country.
Went to the Astro Piazzolla theatre last night to see live tango music and dancing. The theatre is underground off Florida Ave. Lavish in the Italian style. The musicians were tight and passionate ( for a Wednsday) ,the dancers were exceptional as well. Sexy, crisp and athletic. Two singers, male and female were really great. In the style of the 1940´s tango songs and presentation. Like opera as pop. Of course the music was all Piazzolla which for me is a real treat. I discovered Piazzolla in 1993 and have loved his music since.
Today we wander around the city. Tonight we meet a Toronto friend who has moved here and started a family.
The trip back down the mountain pass takes us to Salta once again. Went to a museum of ancient Inca remains. The tallest mountain in Salta province is 22,500 ft high. At the very top of the mountain was discovered the mummified remains of 3 children. Along with many objects these kids were sacrificed to the gods centuries ago. They are some of the best preserved remains. When we were there – the child on display was a 7 year old boy. The chamber he is diplayed in is kept at -20 degrees celsius and a very dry humidity. The museum itself knows how to milk the drama of it all. Very loud moody music and the public area is kept at a brisk 16 degrees celsius as well.
Stuffed on more meat and wine at a restaurant with live music and dancing. Kind of Vegas in it´s cheezy working of the crowd but the music and dance was great. The female dancer asked one of the men at the table next to us to dance but he refused. Turns out they were Canadain and bashful. So I offered and had a short fun dance with this lovely girl. Later Jen got her chance to dance with a Gaucho as well. (kind of cheezy but fun)
Tomorrow off to Buenos Aires and the last phase of the trip. We meet a Canadian friend who lives there on Thursday and maybe he will give us more insight into the City.
Feeling a little home sick but ok for now
It is very beautiful here in this Argentina.
The light in this high Andean mountain town is turning orange. I look out the door of this net cafe in Tilcara and see multi coloured stones and brick work. Also, I have a fair amount of beer in my blood this evening so be forewarned.
The flight from Trelew was itself uneventful except that we forgot to write down the name and address of the B&B in Buenos Aires we would stay at. We had an 11 hour lay over to deal with. To complicate things further we arrived at B.A. airport at midnight with no cash. The ATM machine would not work so I had to change some U.S. dollars I had at an awful rate. Plus the internet access at the airport was closing so Jen had to plead with the guy to let us in to look up the address. Anyway it turned out fine. We found the place that we would sleep for 7 hrs before returning to the airport. The section of town it was in was cool but the B&B was harsh. We chose it cause is was cheap. Anyway the owner waited up late for us (1:30 am) to let us in. Nice man, kinda sad… the place was so humid and coated in mold it became all about getting in and out as quick as possible. Next morning to the airport and the flight to Salta.
Salta and the B&B we chose where fantastic. Jen booked this part of the trip and she did a great job. The place we slept was beautiful in design and warm in feeling. My sister or Kurt Swinghammer would have approved. It is called Bloomers and I highly recomend it. Salta itself is quiet magical. Lot´s of colonial buildings and people doing their own thing. The main square was filled with young guys practicing Parcour and the band shell had street tango. Cafe´s and lot´s of police so it felt safe. Maybe facist but I couldn´t feel it.
The next morning we rented a car and started out of town towards Bolivia. In choosing to follow signs to the town of Jujuy we took the wrong road by mistake. It turned out that it took us through a mountain pass that was just stunning. Lush and steep and winding roads. The sound of giant cicades buzzing the whole time. The road itself was basically single lane but with two way traffic including trucks and busses. None the matter cause we did just fine. Still as wrong turns go this was one of the best. In the end we found the city we needed to find and the on ramp heading north on Route 9. Up and up we asended as the landscape changed and the mountains enveloped us. Above the treeline then above the … I don´t know, but the Andes started to look like those broken dry mountains of western movies set in Bolivia. Finally this small town of Tilcara. The place we had arranged to stay in was a bust. No one was home. So we found another place. A true adobe made of mud and natural cooling and light. It is nice. We climbed to an ancient pre columbian andean ruin. A large city of sorts. Over run now with giant cactus. Arriving late we only had an hour. An old man with rake found us and told us it was closing. I could not help but think he was raking people off the hill.
Now back in Tilcara…beer and empanades and I am here typing away.
Tomorrow we drive back to Salta. But not before doing a hike in a town called Purmamarca. I will see what hiking feels like at this altitude. A first for me.
All is well. Will try to blog tonight.
Well it sort blows not to be able to scuba dive with sea lions today. The winds have picked up and all dive operators have called it off for the afternoon. Northeast wind blows right onto the shore where the animals frolic and the waves are too great. As an amature astronomer I have always had a slightly adverse relationship with clouds. In the same breath, as a diver, wind and waves are the same concern. Cest la vie.
So today is a slow day. Hang out on the beach and eat ice cream. Blog and drink Isenbeck. Ya know what I mean. Sort of ok.
Aside from having to pay first class tickets for 2 legs of flying, the only other last minute rebuild of our flight itinerary – is a 10 hour lay over in Buenos Aires tonight. We fly out Trelew at 11pm and will stay in a small hotel in B.A. for about 8 hours before heading back to the airport. Then on to Salta and the high mountains just south of Bolivia. On our second day there we will rent a car and drive up into those said mountians to some town I can´t remember the name of because Jen booked this leg of the journey.
I´ll keep you posted.
Ok it has been a few days since the last post. Much has happened. Before leaving Ushuaia, Jen and I made it out the the local glacier. A taxi ride to a ski lift then 800 feet vertical over 1 km horizontal. 3800 feet altitude later we stood a the base of a small glacier in a hanging valley overlooking the city. It was windy, cold, sunny and snowing all at the same time. The walk down was equally as epic. Finally down the ski lift and a taxi to the airport for Trelew and Puerto Madryn.
Our flight had us a 3 hour lay over in Calafate. The main attraction there is an enormous healthy melting glacier. I am told people sit and zen out waiting for 80 foot pieces to fall away. We of course missed all this sitting at the airport waiting for our flight.
Finally we landed in Trelew, 1500 km north of Terre del Fuego around 11pm and took a bus to Puerto Madryn for midnight. The next moring we rented a car and proceeded to drive a total of 400 kms. The Valdes Peninsula is an enormus UNESCO site. The roads where 90% gravel, hot and super dusty. But it was so worth it. The landscape is barren and treeless. Strange for us Canadians. The wild animals we saw (in no particular order) were… sheep, alpacas, orstridges, foxes, armadillos, horses, cows, elephant seals ( only females unfortunately), amazing magellenic penguins, a condor, gulls, hawks, cormorants, a skunk and a few other humans. Got back the hotel and showered off the goucho dust to find an enormous rock concert happening outside our back windows. Light show and big sound. Cool band. I think a little bit famous here in Argentina???
Anyway, time to sleep now. Might have to skip scuba because we fly late tomorrow but I think we may snorkel. With sea lions no less.
The national park here is simply awesome. We were blessed (in the rational sense) with benign weather for much of the day. Following the coastline and dipping in and out of the woods for a 7 km hike. Along the way there are the many archeological remains of the Yemana people. Endless midens piled many feet high. Centuries worth of discarded shells and excrement. Now grown over with grass made short by horses feeding on them. The horses are not wild of course but they are allowed to roam huge tracks of land unattended. We came across a pack of 6 or 7 horses in a small cove on the oceans edge.
The forest itself is gorgeous. Although similar to Canadian forests in flavour the species of plants and trees was exotic to my eyes. Also the strange wind swept shapes to many of the trees near the waters edge. The windless quiet of the woods today was rare I am told. We came across a beach head facing a fantastic snow peaked mountian range. I followed the treeline upwards with my binoculars and thought ,”It would be difficult but not impossible to trudge up that thing”. Of course it would be very difficult, not to mention the weather would turn in a moments notice. But it was nice to dream.
After 4 hours we happened out of the woods just as our bus was about to pull away. We got on it, glad that we did not have to wait another 2 hours for the next one out.