It's a bit like Carlsbad here...with Penguins

Trip Start Mar 31, 2010
Trip End Jul 29, 2010

Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Sunday, April 4, 2010

Coche cama is pretty comfy. Double-decker bus, reclining seats, bathroom bigger than an airplane's, coffee on tap, meals included, and several pirated DVDs from the driver’s collection. All things to make you forget you are on a 19 hour bus ride. (Jayson didn’t need to forget; he liked it.) Highlight: watching the sunrise over the pampas, and continuing over the ocean upon our arrival. For some reason sunrises and sunsets last a really long time here.

When we arrived in Puerto Madryn it was 8am on Easter morning and not a soul was walking the streets. Except a few stray dogs, and each of them was running with inexplicable urgency. "Love to stay and chat, but I gotta go!" We found a nice hostel (HI Patagonia) a block from the beach with a rose garden and a hammock. They were able to book us tours to Punta Tombo and Peninsula Valdez, each day trips that we were looking forward to. Sunday, then, turned into a day of walking around town and relaxing in the hostel. At night (still not used to the late-night eating schedule) we had an asada with the other hostel guests. The asador, also the evening hostel keeper, cooked each of our meat to perfection over carefully placed wooden coals and taught us how to cook an onion (e.g. throw it unpeeled into the burning embers). We enjoyed bolo de lomo (literal translation: ball of back) and our first but hopefully far from last choripan (little chorizo sausages sandwiches). It was quite a party and feast, and we enjoyed the company of our fellow hostel mates: a Venezuelan, a Spaniard, a Canadian, and an Argentinean.

In the morning we were up early to catch our tour bus to Punto Tombo… to see the PENGUINS! I wish we had the eloquence of Ginger Brown in describing these adorable animals, but the pictures and videos will have to suffice. Even though we were there during their molting season, just before they migrate to warmer Brazil, the hundreds of thousands of penguins we saw easily made the trip worth it.

Next our tour took us to the Welch village of Gaimen. Miriam, I hope you had as delicious of a Welch tea experience when you were in real Wales as we had while we were in a fifth generation Welch-village of Argentina somewhat stuck in the mid-19th century.

We came home that night and checked into a new hostel.  Our previous one was closing for the season so we were only able to say one night.  There wasn’t too much nice to write about for the new one so we decided we’d check out the next morning and find a place to camp.

The next day we went on another tour, this time to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Peninsula Valdez. Deemed “the one of most beautiful bays in the world” this windy peninsula revealed nundus (kinda like ostriches), guanacos (kinda like llamas), armadillos (kinda like armadillos), foxes, little kangaroo-like animals, sea lions and lots of baby pups, and the world’s only colony of elephant seals. And if the wild life wasn’t enough, the breathtaking views of the bays would satisfy anyone’s craving for awesomeness.

That night we had our tour bus drop us in Puerto Piramides, the only “town” on the Valdez Peninsula, where we camped for the night. The camp site was practically on the beach, separated only by a line of thick trees that guarded us from the wind. It was hardly roughing it. We had power, bbqs, and freshly desalinated water (anyone know how desalination works, Ron, we were wondering).  We did have to gather our own wood and flammables for the fire.  Luckily all the trees around the campsites were very dry and we practiced our newly honed wood ember (asada) cooking skills from a couple nights ago.  Two guardian dogs (more strays) joined us for the BBQ that night, although I don’t think they were there for our company; they just wanted our wood-bbq’d meat and muscles.

Woke up early the next morning and decamped and caught one of the two daily buses that head back to Puerto Madryn.  We went directly to the bus station to by some tickets to El Calafate (a trekking basecamp) but realized that it would be a better idea to go to Torres Del Paine first, so we’d do less backtracking.  Well, it turns out they only make trips to Puerto Natales (the access town to Torres Del Paine) on Tuesday and Saturday.  Look likes we’ll be stuck for two more days in this horrible resort beach town with nice people, beautiful views, and cheap rent.  Sometimes you just get dealt lemons.
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Sam on

WTF!!! Why am I not getting e-mail alerts of your entries?!?! Just saw these now... HI GUYS! looks amazing, and I am brimming with jealousy. I'll tell Ginger she had a shout out. Eat some extra asada for me please. Penguinos are the cutest ever - but did you see the elusive mara?! (rabbit dogs) Also,did you catch the Billy the Kid parafernalia in Gaiman? Coche cama it up, guys - sounds like you are having an amazing time. Torres del Paine is next? I'm looking forward to traveling vicariously through your blog while at work (and by work I mean planning our Ecuadorian adventure) xoxoxoxoxo

cannonballs on

Ecuadorian adventure!!!!! Ok, so I have a really important question for you so I'm glad you're here. What type of cheese sandwich did you live on while you were here? I seem to recall that being an important part of your diet... Que tipo de queso te gusta mejor???

shdoll on

Hey Guys!
Miss you both! Life is well, still looking for work everywhere. I haven't been back to hash just yet... but haven't ruled it out either! Jared promises to go with one of these days. Well I am enjoying living vicariously through your travels, keep up the blogs and cool pics!

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