Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A week or so of major activity!

Ok so I have been pretty absent for a while. I must apoligize to Analise who posted right before this hiatus, how much this blog helped making the work day go faster. I'm sorry for some slow days at work.

But here is a really long post:

El Calafate Part One

After Puerto Madyrn, we bused it down to El Calafate for some quality time with the glacier. If I haven't mentioned before the bus system in Argentina is amazing. Sure the bus ride is 22 hours long on average but there are meals and movies and free wine!! Greyhound is a shit show compared to Argentina's Comma (full bed) buses.

We stayed at the America Del Sur Hostel in El Calafate which is perhaps the best hostel I have ever stayed at. Maybe not the one in Italy that was also a winery but close to it.

The next day we went on the All Glacier boat tour which was pretty boring. A lot of old people and very comfortable. There was a hiking portion of the tour but we were frozen out of the port and couldn't get off. We did get some cool pictures and I did get to see my first ice berg, ever. And yes I was quote Titanic left and right.

El Chalten

We arrived after the All Glacier Tour excited to do some trekking. I had after all spend some money on some hiking boots and I wanted to break them in. So we started with a simple trip to the waterfall as well as exploring the tiny tiny town. We actually ran into a bunch of people from our white water rafting trip. I can see how traveling alone in Argentina or South America can be nicer than doing Europe. Since everyone is doing the same loop, you run into the same people. They told us we were here for the town's 23rd birthday.

We made friends with two Irish girls, Elisha and Therese and we decided to do the Fitz Roy hike the next day, which was incredible. Due to the threat of rain, we were basically alone on the trail which was about 4 hours in good conditions and about 6 in the conditions we were traveling in (one way). The views were incredible but nothing beat the last bit. The trail all together was 1000 meters up in the air. But the last hour is 400 meters straight up. Its challenging enough except we had to go through waist high snow as certain points. But once we reached the top, it was all worth it.

We sat with a French guy admiring the view and proud of ourselves for completing such a feat until 5 French hikers come from the other peak. Oh no there was more. We hiking through more snow to find an even more incredible view of Fitz Roy and the frozen lakes below.

The way back was long because we sat around waiting for the clouds which seemed to constantly hang out around Fitz Roy's peak to clear. Then we saw a condor and three wood peckers. It was pretty much an incredible day. 10 hours of hiking, 1000 meters climbed and climbed down.

The next day was the towns birthday. So we skipped hiking in favor of a town wide asado and a rodeo like gaucho competition. It was awesome. They basically were riding unbroken horses and I loved every minute of it.

El Calafate Part Two

Marcy and I went on the Big Ice Tour and it was incredible. A serious can't miss experience. You spend four hours ice hiking on a glacier. You have crampons and everything. And the best part is, they found an ice cave we got to climb through. I climbed through an ice cave on the only stable glacier in the world!!!!!!!

Our friends from the south are incredible. Ben made us dinner and Therese, Ben, Tomasz, Marcy and I spent hours drinking wine and playing party games. (Christine, I taught Marcy you and your mother's game about the questions. It stumped them for a long while). It was a perfect way to say good bye to trekking and hello to Buenos Aires and party life.

Buenos Aires

Cat arrived and we met her at the apartment. Its wonderful to hang out as the three of us again. I haven't been able to spend this much time with Cat in years. Its a bit different in Buenos Aires. There is less to see and things are mainly on the weekends. So I will hit on the big things:

We couldn't get tickets to Boca vs. River. I'm sad about that since its one of the biggest sporting events of a lifetime to see. But they only gave Boca 2,000 tickets so no one could get them. So we ended up watching it at Lobos por el Futbol and Boca won! even with a player down.

We did the traditional night life in Buenos Aires. We went to club Mod and danced until 6 am. I was hit on about every 20 seconds. I didn't believe Ruben when he said men would love me here but now I do...maybe I should consider a move...

I am having a leather jacket made for me. Its so cool. Since I'm taller than the entire population of Argentina, they just made on to fit me. For the same price as a pre-made jacket.

We went to the horse races with two Irish guys (we meet a lot of Irish guys) and bet on horses. I won 8.50 pesos but spent 20 pesos...but I won. That's the important part. Also who knew there was a race track in the middle of Buenos Aires.

There will be more but I'm tired of writing...and I sincerely hoped that made sense because I'm not editing this at all.

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