Published: January 19th 2008January 19th 2008
Me and the Glacier, also a rainbow thrown in for good measure
I have just skimmed over my last blog and it seems like an eternity since all those things happened, and it must feel like longer for you pining for me back home, or perhaps not. Nonetheless, I will try and recall as much as possible from the intervening time....
We left the Milhouse hosel on the 10th Jan for the Tango Backpackers Hostel in the fancy region of Palermo which houses most of the upper and middle class of Buenos Aires, apparently these inhabitants are called porteños and spend more money than anyone in the world on cosmetic surgery and psychological treatment, lets compare it to Sutton Coldfield for the time being. Our last night in the hostel was fairly uneventful, we played a couple of card games with our Aston Villa playing cards (spreading the word) with a clan of Irish Folk who did their unfortunate stereotype no help, all being heavily intoxicated and due on a plane within a couple of hours.
The journey from the Milhouse to the new hostel was one of the most eventful of the trip, as we got a taxi with Jorge or ´George´ to us apparently, an eccentric who
was determined for us to meet up with him again, he gave us his house number and mobile number and said that we should go to his house as he cooks a mean Asado (BBQ) and we can have wine and talk about our countries. We did contemplate the offer but were also a bit worried that we may end up on the menu, it was a very generous gesture however and reflective of the generally kind people of Argentina.
The hostel itself (though our rooms were ovens) was really nice, a converted old huge house and had a nice terrace for drinking which was the social hang-out, we discussed Olof Mellberg with the Swedes (also played a weird drinking game which involved throwing a moose, only Scandinavians), Ronaldo with the Brazillians and Tottenham with some cockneys, so a lot of football talk. We also went out to a club on our first night there which was an experience, plenty of outdated R & B music which you can imagine is my favourite kind, and the odd random Argentinian song thrown in for good measure. Was enjoyable though and we were taught a song from the favelas by the
Showing the colours at the Glacier, gotta be done!
Brazillian guys who were really nice and have offered to show us the ropes (or where there are fewer guns) when we get into Rio.
On the 12th I think, we managed to drag outselves out of bed for an active day with trips to the zoo, Buenos Aires Botanical Gardens and the Evita Museum. Firstly to the zoo, rarely has the phrase ´kid in a candy store´been more apt than to describe Sam´s enthusiasm, not normally one for moving when hungover he managed to run from the Alligator to the Elephants and Rhino´s and plenty of exotic animals native to South America, there are plenty of photos on facebook of the array of animals. The botanical gardens were enjoyable, plenty of people basking in the sun and exotic flowers if thats your cup of tea, a bit too hot for us Brits abroad though. We then went to the Evita museum which was fairly interesting, I knew nothing about Evita before I came here but now I could publish works on her life, my fact of the day will be that the Argentinian Military Government stole her body and buried it in Italy under a false name, it was later retrieved though in I think the 1974 when there was a coup. There you have it.
On the 13th we had our first Asado, or meat grill, of the trip, which was put on by the hostel. Despite not having the intention of going out on this evening we were ´vigorously´ persuaded to do so by some more Brazillians, also conforming to their stereotype of being party people. The meat though, was the lasting memory of the night, which has nothing at all to do with the amount drunk after that point.
Our last few days in Buenos Aires were relatively low key as we had budget issues, we spent a bit of time reading in one of the many picturesque parks in Palermo, how sophisticated/lazy. Only notable incident from the next few days were being accosted by a middle-aged American with fairly right-wing views (being generous) who told us he was the number 3 surfer in the world and kept repeating apples & pears stairs when he found out we were English. Nut-job.
We left for Calafate on the 17th to see the sights of Patagonia, famous for its glaciers, national parks, wildlife and so on and so forth. Though the Patagonia has notoriety it is still one of the least inhabited places on the planet and seemed it when we turned up at our town which though is touristy is very small and remote.
On the 18th we then went to see the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of only 2 glaciers in the world growing in size, what with all that global warming going on. Fascinating place, the glacier itself is vast (30km by 5km) and borders Chile, its snow coming from the Andes. From our vantage point we witnessed lots of crashing and bashing (some applauded, who applauds a glacier?) and it was basically mother nature at work. Also got a boat right up to it and were navigated around huge chunks of ice which had just fallen off.
Spent our night in a ski-resort type bar which was fairly classy, a bit of jazz on the speakers was interrupted by an opera singer, who was impressive and enjoyed our enthusiasm. The place kind of reminded me of the Yenton minus all of the above.
Anyway we head of to Torres Del Paine tomorrow, a national park in Chile, an early rise of 5am or so had better press on.