If all else fails...try W(h)ales

Trip Start Sep 02, 2008
Trip End Dec 14, 2008

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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Saturday, November 22, 2008

Heading South from Buenos Aires towards Welsh Patagonia - a curious cluster of communities formed after the Welsh migrated there ...no doubt in search for a country they could beat at Rugby - we endured another long-haul bus journey..this time Andersmar hosting us for a good 20 hours. Time actually went fairly quickly even including a healthy sleep, the Cama reclining chair and whiskey proving a persuasive couple. The other point of note was finally a decent film being shown..American Gangster. Despite having already seen it, the previous delights of Fools Gold (which the DVD player tastefully cut down to a 10 minute showing), United 93 (as we were on the brink of going over a cliffs' edge), Meet the Spartans (not sure quite what the Bolivians on the bus made of this one) and the pick of the bunch House of Wax (starring Paris Hilton no less and shown at 8am) meant my expectations were suitably low and the joy of watching a decent film couldn't even be dented by following it with yet another screening of the Bucket List.

Anyway back to Welsh Patagonia and it seems today shearing the sheep comes second only to fleecing the tourists. I suppose it was our own fault to go to a Welsh community (Trevellin) in search of mysterious and exotic tonics such as tea and cake. 38 peso's later we were presented with a pot of tea and bread and butter, one scone and some Dulce de leche (the ubiquitous Argentinean sweet) - time honoured it might have been, value for money it was not.

Ironically the other major attraction nearby (aside tea) is Whale watching and we arranged for a tour to take us from our hostel in Puerto Madryn about an hour round the coast and onto Captain Juan's boat to go in search for the Southern Right whale. Captain Juan did an admiral (if ultimately fruitless) job of not making the welcome speech seem like a pre-recorded message, that said we felt like we had finally arrived in tourist town. The boat was full of like minded, excitable folk who wanted some good clean Whale action, camera's poised ready for Juan hell of a good tour.

Within 10 mins of setting off we came across a mother and baby, the baby being excitable enough to jump around a bit and wave to us, while the mother just floated around. Unfortunately although having time to see another 3 or 4 whales, none were as exciting as the first spotting, but all in all in was a decent tour and definitely worth doing. The rest of the tour involved watching some Elephant seals (doing absolutely nothing) and some Penguins struggling up a cliff to their nests. Jen was particularly taken with the Penguins and the whole bus tour had to help to manhandle her onto to the bus back home! 

The other interesting thing about our stay in Esquel (from where we visited the Welsh town of Trevellin) was that the hostel was completely full of teenagers on a school trip. We were advised at our (late) check in that there were a few children staying but they'd be very quiet. As we came back in the afternoon (not quite) full of bread and jam we were confronted with a mass of kids kicking footballs at each other's heads and generally trying to destroy the hostel...and making a decent fist of it. As such we deided to go out for dinner to miss their manic behaviour and came back again just before midnight to find they were still eating their BBQ and were busy singing, shouting, racing around the place..I think eventually their teachers got them to bed at 2ish, but their noise put even the most party hostels we've stayed in to shame!!  Luckily Jen's Spanish was up to negotiating a discount for our night there, so at least we saved some pennies to compensate!
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