Long Drive, New Guide, and Chocolate

17 01 2007

Yesterday morning, we have got up pretty early to continue our journey to our next destination – a small town in Argentina called Bariloche thatçs famous for its chocolate and beef. Evidently, Argentian beef is supposed to be the best in the world.

As we were packing up and getting ready to leave, a taxi pulled up on our campground bringing our new tour guide – Kerry. As I mentioned in the previous post, the guide we were supposed to have got sick, so Kerry was the only one that could come on such a short notice.

She is a cool character. Very rugged – to give you an example, we found out today that she usually sleeps under the truck. Just sets up her sleeping bag there and dozes off. We do have a bed on the truck, but it´s reserved for the driver, so the tour guide usually has to figure out something else.

We didn´t get a chance to chat with her too much, as we had to leave and she had to catch up with the driver, so she rode in the driver´s cabin (which is not connected to the actual passengers cabin – if we have to go to the bathroom or want the truck to stop, we just have to open the window and bang on the side until the Dan (driver) sees us).

Anyways, it´s a pretty long drive to Bariloche. We drove for quite a while – primarily on a dirt road, which means that we were bouncing around the truck the entire time.

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We also crossed the border into Argentina, which went pretty smoothly. There was a stop where we had to exit Chile where they checked our documents, then about 5 kilometers of no man´s land, and then the entrance into Argentina.

During that time, we got to meet a couple of other hikers that were walking going all the way to Pucon to climb the volcanos in the area. They were carrying backpacks with over 18 kilos each all the way. It´s just amazing what some people are capable of. At least when we were climbing, we only had to carry 5 kilograms or less and it wasn´t easy either.

After driving for a while, we decided to stop in another small town called San Martin.

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It´s somewhat of a touristy destination, so there wasn´t too much to do here. We exchanged some money into Argentinian Pesos – the rate is 3 pesos to 1 dollar. The prices here are really cheap. A whole meal with a side and drinks is about $4. Chile was a bit more expensive – cheaper than New York, but still high by South American standards.

We stopped by on a pretty cool campsite that was located right on the lake, so as we later slept in the tent, we could hear the waves breaking down on the beach.

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We cooked our own dinner and just spent the evening talking to other people in the group. Personally, I am really enjoying the fact that we are learning so much about other countries simply by interacting with people from our group – primarily Australians. The Aussies got a minimum 4-week vacation (generally 5 or more) – can you imagine? That´s not here nor there, but still.

We got another day of driving today and we´ll be stopping at a free camp later on tonight. In other words, we´ll simply pull off the road and just go in the middle of nowhere – no bathrooms, no showers – just us and nature (as it´s supposed to be).

We got a couple of days in Bariloche, where we´re planning a few hikes, a day of horseback riding and hopefully some ATVs. After that, we´re boarding the ferry for 4 days and going through the Chilean fjords.

Will post again in 1-2 days. Till then!


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18 01 2007
Roma

Bobka, whatever you do- don’t sleep under the WAMM
Have fun,
Roma

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