Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hello Heilo

It is funny to read my last blog entry, because the setting is the exact opposite of where I am today. Patagonia is the same sort of climate as a Canada, as they both share the close proximity to a pole. The days are warm but still have a nip to them, and the nights are very cold, as i unfortunately found out last night. Apparently my 'drifter' sleeping bag is not quite sufficient for drifting around Patagonia. Last night i woke up three times and donned another layer of clothes. Only once I was wearing my thermal shirt, long underwear, pajama pants, socks, long sleeved shirt and sweater was I warm enough, and by that time it was time to get up (or so we thought). And I also seem to have lost my grey sweater, which was kind of counting on down here. Luckily i have a seriously quality thermal shirt, so it keeps me pretty toasty warm, and i have been doing pretty good. I will just be prepared when i go to sleep this night.

Back to Punta Del Diablo. After we left the internet shanty we grabbed an icecream and went for a big walk along the rocks, and then sat down on this big rock above a bit of an alcove and watched the waves crash in, splashing up high into the air and ocassionally misting us as well. It was really cool. When we looked over we saw a young couple smoking a joint and watching a similar thing. We were very jealous, but have had more than enough natural highs to keep up going down here.

After our walk we jumped back on our bikes and hit it home. I'm not sure i i've talked about these bikes yet, so if i have skip this as it will be quite repetitive. The hostel that we were staying at had about 15 bikes... out of these bikes we scrounged up two that had any remains of brakes rotting in them. I had a bit more than Orin, so had to remember to give plenty of notice for taking any turns. From our hostel we would ride a short dirt road to the only paved road in the town and rip it down the hill into the town. It was such an amazing feeling, as it was such a long time since i've been zooming along pavement, a private (yet much advertized) passion of mine. We rocketed into town each day, hair ablaze, eyes on the ocean, rarely running into any vehicles. The hostel asked us to leave our bikes at this place in town, but the first evening we could not find it and just wanted to get to the beach, so thinking they just didn't want them left on the beach and stolen, we brought them onto the shore an kept a good eye on them. The next day when we were leaving, the hostel clerk, a very nice guy, reminded us again that we can't bring them onto the beach, as it is 'very terrible' for the bikes. It was hard for me to restrain myself from laughing out loud as i held the rusting chunk of metal he called a bike, and wanted to tell him that i don't think they they could deteriorate much farther, but we took it with a smile and got him to circle the place on the map, which was actually pretty easy to find if you can remember the name, which was a bunch of random letters together. Still can't remember it.... Those bikes were good times.

So we rode the beasts home and relaxed a bit before the parrillo that they were preparing that night, which their kind of bbq. I think Orin give a good description on his blog, so i'll leave it up to forest boy and move on. That night we had a great time, drinking beer and wine, eating chorizo and bread, and finally the asado, their steak cut. The meat was absolutely amazing, and the company was equal. The hostel, that usually holds over a hundred in the summer, had 6 people at this time, so it was a fun small little gathering. There were two frenchies, a swede, the uruguayan desk guy Raoel, a guy from Seattle and a German guy, who's hair got messier and messier as he got drunker and drunker. It was quite hilarious really. It was a really great little evening with food wine and friend, and we chatted a lot with Jeevon from Seattle, who told us great little tips about Bolivia where he had just come from, and hopefully we will see him again as we live so close together. Everyone had lots of questions about Canada and were quite disappointed that we didn't speak French and hadn't been to Eastern Canada. They were more understanding when I told them how huge Canada was (they actually thought the states was bigger, ugh!) and that it was almost as far away from BC as China is from them. They are used to their tiny little countries and have the luxury of exploring it all without spending much time travelling. Then we busted out the Canadian money that we brought exactly for that purpose, and people went ape shit over it! It was hilarious! They were trying to buy it off us and were wondering why the hell the queen was on there (kind of hard to explain really...) We tried our best to answer all their questions, but seeing as i have the memory of a gold fish I had a hard time remembering facts about Canada. Dude... i have no idea how many kilometers it is off by heart, or the percentage of people that speak french... damn.

The next morning we got up early and hopped on the bus to deal with that shannanegan. If you don't purchase your bus at the station, you don't get a seat number and have to make like a squatter and be ousted whenever someone shows up with your seat number on their ticket. People were standing in the aisles... even though we pay the same ammount of money. Personally i am into the first come first serve option, or better yet, only sell enough tickets as their is seats! And those who are left to stand can either wait for the next or get a deal or something. But that would be way to rational....
Then the transfer to Montevideo, onto the Buquebus, though we almost didn't make it because apparently we were supposed to save this random peice of paper with a stamp on it in order to leave the country (an inconsequential fact they just happened not to tell us on the way in). I was laughing and thinking it was quite funny, saying ´damn, we'll have to stay in Uruguay forever', until Orin looked at me and said 'no, we will miss our flight'. Then I went pale in the face and started swearing like a sailor. Seeing my reaction and panic the guy helped us out a lot and sneaked us a stamp. Holy crap we were lucky. I was still weak at the knees walking away, knowing we would not get a refund from our plane and it would seriously compromise our ability to see Patagonia... lucky lucky us. That's another thing, our luck has pulled a 360 on us and thank god, because we were really swimming in shit before.
So, from Buquebus to Buenos Aires, where we filed a lost luggage report, a little afraid they were going to arrest me for sending agressive harassment emails. We spent the night in Ostinatto, if you can call 4 hours in a room a night. We saw Oggy, who was quite drunk off one beer, and Lucas. He was having as hard of time as ever as Oggy and this other guy Oswaldo argued about nonesense. Oswaldo was really really drunk, calling Oggy ugly, and that even though he's gay he wouldn't touch him. It was a friendly enough conversation but we don't really like Oswaldo and we especially didn't like him calling our friend ugly. ' like frankenstein' Bastard. Then He proceeded to tell us the same lame story twice in a row where he almost got beat up for touching some American's girl, even though he told the guy he was gay. I've only heard that story like 100 times... and now two more... So we headed to bed and got up far to early, at 4 am, and caught the plane to El Calafate.

This next part is going to have a lot of profanities, so please prepare yourself and excuse my crudeness. The plane ride was kind of shitty, due to the fact that our window seat got jacked by some kid, and not wanting to be like those assholes on the bus we just aid screw the numbers, we'll sit where there's seats. So we sat down, and Orin leaned back, and when I went to lean back a little my chair got whalloped in the back so hard that I got flung forward into a fourty five degree angle... something that plane seats shouldn't even do. I looked behind me and their was this big oaf of a guy, probably 50, who proceed to say 'sorry, sorry'. I assumed that it was some sort of randomly agressive accident, so i went to put it back again. Note here, that i was not even trying to put it back that far, and even if I was I have every right to. So i try to move it back again, out of the 45 degree crap position I was in, and once again I got booted freakishly hard. I mean, this guy was just giving me both knees with all his brutish strength. I was pissed. I turned around and gave him a peice of my mind, and he mumbled his stupid sorries again. I told him where to put his sorries and to just stop doing it. So I go to do it again, and this mother fucker just wails me again. By this point I am extremely agitated and upset, not to mention in pain. I motion to the stewardess in distress and he immediately grabs my chair and rips it back into the back position. I was really upset by this all, he was such an undesripable prick, i honestly would have beat the shit out of him if he didn't have a good solid hundred pounds on me. I still considered bitch slapping his preppy hoe of a wife, who sat there primly in her little pink shirt and pink camo pants. So instead i had myself a little cry of fury and sat there fuming. The stewardess came over to me and started speaking spanish, and i was to exasperated to even try to understand her. She saw that on my face and switched to English, telling me to inform her if that guy bothered me again, as he was being very agressive towards me. I agreed and she left. Our plane landed to let some people off, and that guy was one of them. As everyone stood around getting out their carryons and just waited to get off I sat on my chair giving him the stinkeye hard, not looking away when he would look over at me, and then look away uneasily. On his way out I pegged him good with a coin in the head, and he didn't even turn around, obviously knowing who and why. Wish I had some sort of better vigilante justice for him but I just don't.

Another negative to the plane rides was that Orin's sinuses were extremely painful on both landings. We figured out that it is the small planes that do this to him. I hate watching him in pain, sitting there concernedly knowing that there is nothing that I can do. Needless to say we were releived to get off that plane and to finally be in Patagonia!

We found a hostel with an excellent little campsite out back underneth some fruit trees. The fruit must have just dropped a couple days before we came, as we are making it into jam with out feet every day. Seriously, i am considering spreading it on toast. Artisan made plum jam, they would call that here. The town of El Calafate is set up for tourists, with lots of shops fore the wealthy backpacker and those just flying in to see the glacier. An amazing ammount of stone animals... made out of pink stone mostly. Very well crafted but something that would never be found in the presence of my house. That evening we did a big grocery shop, pretty damn cheap compared to restaraunts here. Patagonia can be quite expensive. Then we went home and made a delicious stir fry, while this family that we assume is staying there sat at the table in silence watching us. It was pretty akward. Then orin had to run to the store to get some oil, and I stood there for about 15 minutes in utter silence, playing drums on my belly and drinking wine.

So, back to this morning. Little did we know that there is a time change between here and BA, so we got up an hour before we had to, and only realize what time it was when we walked down to set up our taxi for half an hour later, or rather an hour and a half later. So we grabbed a little nap, and then got up and ate some cereal all rushed like and jumped in the cab. It was a wild hour ride to the glacier, and i saw about 30 bunnies on the way. A couple were kamakazi bunnies that saw the solution to their problems in the wheels of our tires, but luckily our sketchy driver eluded them quite well. The same can not be said for the 5 galleon water jug that bit the rubber, waking me from a queasy sleep, fearing that the tire was busted. It was funny seeing all the rabbits, because in the Lonely Planet it psyched you up, saying that if you are quiet and patient and very very lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the timid bunnies that inhabit Patagonia.... apparently not. We laughed at the fact that, ironically as usual, it is much more than Lonely Planet says.

We got stopped for road construction just before the glaciers and got out and watched the sun rise, and a beautiful rainbow appear through the light rain on top of the glacier, which we could now see from the road. It was so beautiful. The name of this glacier is Glaciar Perito Moreno, just in case any of you get frisky and search the web for it. After a short wait we got back in the taxi and were soon at the glacier. There was a very well set up metal stair system with rails and all, that stretched a good way along the hillside, giving you views from lots of angles. It was absolutely breathtaking and quite indescripable but I will try. The craggy ridges streched 55 meters into the sky, and the part that we could see stretched back 14 kilometers and was probably about 8 k wide or so. You could see it wrapping around the mountain, two rivers of ice inching towards us. Apparently it can move up to two meters a day... wow. And unlike many other glaciers in this deteriorating world today, it is not receding. Horrah! So watching it crack and come crashing into the sea was not depressing, but awe inspiring. It got more and more active as the day went on. We arrove at around 7:30 am, and the glacier put on quite a show for us! At first we could just hear groans and deep cracking sounds permiating from the great scape, but soon small peices began to fall off. Orin and I sat there avidly, not wanting to miss anything that fell from the great beast. When we finally saw our first real peice of ice fall off, probably the size of a stand up piano, we were very excited. We were also relieved that we saw something grand before we left, being ignorant to what the glacier was about to reveal to us. We watched in awe, and I turned to Orin and told him that even if we didn't see anything else, that peice made it worth the trip. He said he was just thinking the same thing and we sat there contentedly. We moved throught the park and walked the whole walkway, watching bigger and bigger peices peel of and fall with a thunderclap into the lake. Amazing. And the colour of the glacier was so blue in some areas. It was absolutely awesome, a gift of nature for sure. After a couple hours we found a beautiful vantage point where we could see lots of the glacier, as it came to a point that blocked of either side from eachother. As we sat up there I realized that I had watched so much amazing ice falling that I wouldn't mind spending time trying to catch a chunk on video for the folks back home. The point was dropping small football sized hunks into the river and I tried to get that on video, though you couldn't really see it as it was pretty far away. So i turned it to Orin, who like the weirdo that he is started to see how much spit he could get to hang from his mouth. Very attractive... you will see. I turned it back to the glacier and wham! Most of the huge point cracked and hurled itself into the lake. It was fucking unreal. I don't have the words to describe how amazing it was, and i've used amazing about 10 times so far. It was huge, and the water splashed up, reaching into the air and spitting up peices of ice with it. Then the glacier chunk reemerged from the swell, now a massive iceburg. The adrenaline rush I got was huge, a natural high I haven't felt in a long long time. We were absolutely awestruck by this great gesture, and it took a while for us to calm down. We ate some yogurt, and by the time we checked the time we had to go! Already, we thought.... wow. That seemed so quick.. hmm. So we rushed up to the taxi and the guy was sitting their with a mouth full of sandwich. That´s weird, i thought, seeing as we had this specific time to meet. Nonetheless we jumped in a chatted a bit, then he looked at us and was like... umm, it's 11 you know... ooh, no, we didn't know. We laughed at our own stupidity in being duped by the same time change twice one day, and raced down to the glaciers again. We weren't there for long when the same corner dropped off another massivo peice, probably as big if not bigger than the one we saw. I was glad this time not to be behind a video camera, having to worry about not shaking and if it was even in the frame. It was amazing. We easily passed another hour infront of the glacier, and then made it back for 12, where I snoozed the whole way home. I woke up resting my head on the girl next to me and kind of started and said sorry, fearing that I had been sleeping and drooling on her the whole time. She just looked over at me stunned, and told me after that she too had been sleeping and that i had woken her with my sorry. No wonder she looked so confused, she was probably wondering what sort of weirdo thing I had done. Orin said that all three of us were just conked out in the back seat the whole time, and him and the taxi driver were laughing at us. Well, for the second day in a row of getting up inhumainly early I figure i deserved it. So we went home, made a delicious batch of hashbrowns and eggs, missing our darling Clare accompanying our traditional breakfast, and are now tending to our responsiblities to our memory, by burning our pics onto cd, which hopefully we will now be able to post (though not right now because as you can tell I have spent way to much time writing this glacier sized blog entry) and writing in our blogs and answering emails... though Zoe is the only one that actually emails me. So, now you are probably sitting uncomfortably in your seats holding your aching backs and wanting to go for a walk this is so long! Freedom Granted! love you all
Sage, or here Sache.

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