Beyond Tierra del Fuego
Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
187Trip End Ongoing
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At this point we decided to abandon the featureless pampa of southeastern Argentina and turned inland to find more interesting landscapes
Oh, one other interesting thing along the way. Throughout Latin America we have been fascinated by the number and diversity of roadside shrines. Many are quite modest but well-tended family affairs, that have been set up in memory of victims of a road accident. Others are quite elaborate, and are dedicated to a local soul or a saint - very often the Virgin Mary - who performs miracles and cures, or grants supernatural favours for believers in exchange for gifts and devotion. In southern Argentina we've noticed numerous conspicuous and intricate shrines surrounded by red flags. These are specifically dedicated to Gaucho Antonio Gil, a 19th century outlaw reminiscent of Robin Hood, who was an army conscript deserter and robbed the rich to help the poor. He was eventually captured by the authorities and hanged, but not before his fame had spread far and wide and his exploits became legendary throughout Argentina
Enough of myths, legends and strange beliefs. We seem to remember that in the last couple of Travelpod entries we've left you hanging with regard to our future travel plans. So where do we go from here? When we originally left Ottawa on this somewhat unusual journey, vague plans had us driving to the tip of South America and then returning to Canada, all within eighteen months. It has taken us fifteen months just to reach Tierra del Fuego, and we are definitely not planning to do the return trip in a mere three months. In fact, we generally do not like retracing our steps, so driving back up through Central America is definitely not in the cards. We looked at continuing north through the vast expanses of Brazil and then shipping the van from Venezuela to Florida, but weren't too enamoured with that idea. As we thought about it, we've been struck by three recurring themes from the trip so far: the astounding beauty and diversity of our natural surroundings; the amazing experiences we've had with people we've met along the way; and, what a wonderful way this is to travel (for us anyway!). We've come to realize that there's so much more out there for us to explore and experience, and to share with you. So........
At our current rate of travel, we might make it as far north as Buenos Aires by the end of June. By then a "holiday from our holiday" would seem to be in order, so we plan to fly back to Canada for July (in time for the 10th Annual Ottawa Valley Mid-Summer Herbfest), August and September!
The Africa connection has been in the works since last March - Mike thought it was very "cool" that we would drive across to visit him. Although he will no longer be there, we plan to visit his many friends and colleagues who are still in touch with us. In fact, some of his best friends have informally adopted us as parents, so how could we not plan on spending some time with them?! (hope you're still going to be around by then, Nici and Mat!). We haven't travelled much in southern Africa previously, but East Africa is quite familiar territory - in fact, we met in Tanzania way back in 1969 and worked there as volunteers (Sharon with CUSO and Gerry with VSO) until 1972
As you may have realized by now, the Channers can convince themselves of pretty much anything, so our plans might change radically anywhere along the way. Of course there are always obstacles to contend with - technical, administrative and bureaucratic - as well as certain health issues that are gradually becoming more of a concern. However, these are our thoughts for the moment and will at least provide you with a general idea of what to expect for the next little while. We hope that you will continue to enjoy travelling vicariously with us!