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Published: March 5th 2014
Towards El Chalten
Photo from the bus
Hola, mis amigos!
I have much enjoyed bouncing around in the Patagonia region of Argentina. Here are some photos for enjoying a wee bit of what I have been seeing. Although, I have been around a few more places than I can show you, it is because I had unfortunately deleted a bunch of photos from my camera, by mistake. So all of the wonderful birds I photographed in El Calafate at La Laguna are all gone. One of the hazards of travel, when one does not know one´s camera´s operations very well. Or, it was a matter of pressing buttons with my sunglasses on? I´ll never figure that one out. Just trust me when I say, I did a lot of bird watching. Here is the list of what I saw for those of you who are interested:
White-winged coots, Red Shovelers, Yellow-billed Pintails, Chilean Flamingos, Coscoroba Swans, Speckled Teal, Cinereous Harrier, Southern Caracara, Chimango Caracara, Black Necked Swan, upland Goose, Crested duck, Black-faced Ibis, White-tufted Grebe, Patagonian Mockingbird, Grey-hooded sierra Finch (at the Perito Moreno Glacier), Spectacled Tyrant, Bar-winged Cinclodes, Austral Canastero, Rock Pigeon, Southern Lapwing, Chiloe Wigeon, Lesser Yellowlegs, Condor (soaring above as I walked the
Photo from the bus
A clear day, the entire range was visible
trail in El Chalten).
The hotter temperatures of the more northern regions of Argentina are now seducing me. And prices are becoming cheaper as I go further north. No complaints there!
One special note of exploring each town I´ve been to is their produce. The very long distances that fruit and vegetables need to travel to get to the southern desert regions means less than fair quality. Each time I saw the produce in grocery stores, I sighed heavily. As most of you know, our produce in Churchill can be rather dated. But in the Patagonia regions, the poor fruits and veggies probably travel in a non-refrigerated truck, in the heat and are in a state of pathetic witherness whence received in the stores. And sometimes (most times that I´ve seen), the poor things are not stored properly. So, one can experience the sight of black avocadoes that look like deflated footballs and as mushy as mashed potatoes when handled, the kiwis also deflated and the skins in a state of cardboardness (yes, I´ve invented a new word) and the leafy greens, oh, dear... there are no words. I ate lots of carrots, as they seemed to be
the only vegetable that made the trip rather well, maybe the odd cucumber. Although, that being said, I bought what I thought was a really juicy carrot in El Chalten. It turned out to be hijacked by a black hole, right through the centre. I ended up still using the one inch from the end. Hey, waste not, want not!
My present location is Bariloche, and my faith in produce has been restored as the little markets pop up here and there as I wander the streets of this pretty city. They sell the freshest produce that I´ve seen in awhile. My diet yesterday was mostly fruit of all types. I needed to make up for the previous 2 days eating Bus stop food from my 25 hour bus trip to get here. Yes, Bus Stop food = chips, processed cheese and ice cream (with an apple a day that I thankfully brought from a better day in El Chalten). Not a bad combination, but after 2 days of it, well, you get the picture. I started to feel like a piece of processed cheese and a papa frita.
In continuing with the same subject matter, food (like
there is any better subject when one is enjoying leisure time? I thought not), I know you are just going crazy for another chocolate story!
After my nice walk in El Chalten to the waterfall, and in celebration of my newest orthotics and hikers allowing me the pleasure of being a hiker again, I continued my quest for the best hot chocolate in Argentina. When I asked in a restaurant, ¨Donde es el mejor chocolate caliente en este pueblo?¨ The answer was La Chocolateria. I thought to myself, you mean the run down building across from my hostel that looks like it is closed, with the faded sign? Indeed, this sounded like an adventurous quest. I was intrigued.
La Chocolateria was another gem. Apart from the broken windows on the second floor, it had a cute little front store of homemade chocolates with a few wooden tables and a definite hippie vibe, which was run by some nice, friendly people. A very small kitchen with the aroma of the splendid theobroma cacao. ¨Una chocolate caliente, por favor¨.... Would it measure up to the Ushuaia incident of taste bud takeover and criminal thoughts of wanting to steal the pot?
We shall soon see, I thought to myself. As the sun peaked out of the grey rainy clouds, I awaited my fate to the chocolateness (yup, another new word - a Canadian´s prerogative).
The bubbly foamy perfectly coloured nectar was served to me in a special ¨La Chocolateria¨ pottery mug and saucer. I added my own sugar. Very fluffy and chocolaty. There was indeed a perfect balance of taste to achieve by adding the sugar and I believe that I had accomplished that task. Clearly it was steamed milk, hence the bubbles. All the more reason to love it. There was an authentic taste to this hot chocolate. A very good quality.
So, the final answer.... was it causing me to think criminal thoughts of wanting to steal the chocolate pot? No. Why? Because I could not see the pot. Otherwise, I could have.
It was a tie!!! Why? Because this one hot chocolate had merits that were different from the Ushuaia cup. So as I balanced the different phantom categories in my mind, but mainly in my mouth, I could not give it a full win over the Ushuaia cup of hot chocolate, but I could
not give the full win to the Ushuaia cup either. Yup, I´ve become a fence sitter. No backbone, I am so weak! Especially, when it comes to really good chocolate. Interestingly, ¨theos¨is the Greek name for the gods, and ¨broma¨, the Greek word for food. And theobroma -- meaning ¨food of the gods¨. Need I say more? You wonder about why cacao beans were a form of currency for some of the pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations! Wonder no more...
Thanks for reading the ramblings and reflections of a leisure-adoring wanderer! Stay tuned for more, if you can stand it! And maybe, just maybe, there will be a new contender to the best hot chocolate in Argentina.
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