How's it goin there
Trip Start Sep 2005
52Trip End Sep 2006
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Thats a serious amount of driving. I wouldn't say I could take it up professionally, but if there was an event which involves driving down dirt roads with your knees while peeling a banana and reading a map upside down - I'm your man. Yesterday I upped sticks in Chile and drove to Los Antigos in Argentina for the Cherry Festival. I can only take so much rain, and I'd almost reached my limit on my first day in Chile. Los Antigos was famous for it's fruit because it's supposed to have a sunny microclimate. You wouldn't lounge about in your speedos and hairgel, but at least it was dry. The festival wasn't. One of the big attractions is the street drinking which turned out to be very civilized. There were lots of stalls selling the usual shite. Actually the whole thing was a bit like Nutts corner, but even more tacky and cheap. For the gentlemen you could get a really chunky gold signet ring for 2 quid. (Engraved with name for an extra 10p)
Surprisingly, there wasn't a cherry in sight. I'd tasted the cherries from here before and they really are the best ever, and driving to the festival I was really looking forward to a big bagful. But I had to walk 1km out of town before I could get a kg.
There was also a free concert. The headline act was some guy called Leon Hikey or something like that. He was really good. Looked a bit like Hugo Duncan, but sounded nothing like him, thank God. Next day I was driving to El Chalten. I'd already been advised that the drive is 12 hours long by a boy racer. I guessed you could add at least another hour on for the bravado factor. Either way it meant a red-eye start, so I called it an early night.
The drive is down the "Ruta 40" which is the Argentian version of Route 66 in the US. It's legendry amongst road-trippers. Once you leave Los Antigos you're on a bumpy road for an awful long time before you see any civilization. Just me and my wheels taking it easy. The scenery is straight out of the Marlboro ad
It's a great drive, glad I've done it but I'll not be going down that road again. It was an authentic road trip experience. With a lot of willpower the cherries lasted 5 hours drive through wilderness. The first petrol station I came to was another 4 hours further along that bumpy, dusty, windy road. There I had the best cup of machine coffee I've ever tasted. Another thing, you need a bladder like a ...... actually I don't know if there is a creature that can hold it in that long. Even for blokes. It's incredibly windy, like standing behind a jet engine, I guess. You can't just point Percy in the direciton of the prevailing. If you really really need to, I recommend you use an oilskin suit and motorbike helmet, with full-face visor. The wind is so strong that theres all sorts of eddies, side gusts, up gusts and down gusts - you get the picture.
It took 11 hours before I arrived in Chalten. Eat my dust kid. Or should I say Paddy the Irishman arrived in Chalten
I also discovered that the long life milk out here doesn't last that long. I'd only had it in the car for 3 weeks, and already my cornflakes are starting to change their flavour. There was a stronger taste of cheesy walnuts, which isn't that bad, but the smell was a problem. It's a bit like stale fruit on a sunny day. Makes you wonder what they put in the milk to make it last so long in this heat.
It gets fairly nippy at night here in the Glacier Park. I didn't think you'd be able to camp but there's plenty of other eejits apart from myself in the campsite. Of course you don't want to show that you find it cold. So I took my cornflakes sitting on the bonnet of my car with just by boxers and the Antrim top of course. You want them to know we're a hardy lot in the North.