Across the Andes by frog
Trip Start Jan 12, 2011
25Trip End Jun 02, 2011
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The tourist office was next, the only buses were tomorrow (Monday) at 4.00 pm and Thursday. We booked a couple of places on tomorrow's bus and tried to find somewhere for lunch that either took credit cards or Argentinian Pesos. After lunch we happened on a Rodeo, which again, the tourist information hadn't thought to tell us about
We went to the internet cafe, as advised by the tourist office, to change some Argentinian Pesos into Chilean. He charged me a "mere" 8% to change it. Found a room, bought some wine and went to bed. At about 12.30am about a dozen blokes came in to eat. At about 2.30 they went to bed. Although we had a private bathroom, they were sharing the loo that was right outside our bedroom. Not too much sleep that night.
Next day we went to the bank. Still not working, so we tried to get some cash on our card at the cashier; Nope, and not only that, wouldn't take Argentinian Pesos. About 10km away from the border and they wouldn't change Argentinian! Now we were buggered. We had a bus reservation to half-way around the lake. The bus went the other half way around the lake the following day. We had about £50 in Chilean, our room would be £30 and our bus tickets another £35
Changed the rest of our Argentinian at the same 8% commission. We also found a 10 euro note and a £20 sterling note, so back to the bank. The security guard had told us that they wouldn't change sterling, but when we got to the counter I told Sharon to put the two notes together, Euros on top. Sure enough, the cashier looked at the £20 strangely, shrugged her shoulders and gave us 30 Euros worth of Chilean Pesos. I had manged to turn about £150 of various currencies into about £120 worth of Chilean, but at least we should have enough to get around the lake to Coyhaique and the next available bank. Met Brian again. He was having a similar nightmare, he had cash but had left it too late for the bus, it was fully booked. He was going to plea to the driver to let him sit in the corridor.
At four, the bus turned up, there was no way he was going to let Brian on the bus, so we left him there to hitch-hike out.The bus trip from Chile Chico to Puerto Guadal must be one of the most beautiful trips in the world. Just the other side of the Andes and the difference is fantastic, beautiful greens surrounding turquoise lakes in front of snow-capped mountans. Unbelievable. Would have been even better if we hadn't had to listen to a bloke from Saltford trying to charm a German girl with his tales of travel and derring do.
The next day, as we were enjoying a lie in, Brian came back muttering. The bus driver had not let him on. He set off to hitch-hike and we went to look at the lake and chill out in beautiful, peaceful Puerto Guadal. Had another gorgeous meal with Mrs Miggins and set out the next day on the fantastic journey to Coyhaique