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Published: April 27th 2008
Day 202 - Wednesday 9 April
The heater on the bus last night hadn't worked and it had been absolutely freezing. I'd had to double drop on the valium.
Sat on a bus all day theres not much to report. Passed some nice scenery and had a couple of hour stop in some desolate town in the middle of nowhere where everything was all shut up for the siesta, and thats about it.
Just after midnight the bus briefly stopped at El Chalten. Its supposed to be really nice with loads of walks you can do in the national parks but as its cold and I dont have the right gear i'm giving it a miss. It has just snowed here though and looking out of the window all you can see is a sea of white. Having not seen snow forsuch a long time I wanted to get off and play in the snow.
Day 203 - Thursday 10 April
I arrived at El Calafate just after 9am. Its only a small town more like a village so it didn't take long for me to walk to the hostel i've booked myself into. On route
View from the bus
Absolutely nothing in all directions
I passed a petrol station. I've heard its topped a pound a litre back home, well you might be interested to know the Argentinians are only paying 25p a litre.
Unfortunately I couldn´t check in until 12 am so had to wait around until then. Its a friendly hostel though so i easily passed the time talking to people getting the low down on the area and places i've yet to visit. I've stayed in several good hostels so i don't bother mentioning them but this one is perhaps the best i've ever stayed in, it really is that good. As such i'm going to give it a special mention. If your ever in El Calafate stay at Hostel 'el americano del sur'. Its also reasonably cheap at only 30 pesos ( 5 quid) a night for a bed in a 4 bed dorm.
Once i'd checked in I spent the afternoon having a walk around the town. Its rather a touristy town and as such has tourist prices, but apart from souvenier shops and resturants and a big casino there really isn't much there. As its a small place most people tend to spend the evening in
the hostel but as its got a good atmosphere to it I didn't mind and passed the evening either playing on the PSP or talking to people.
Day 204 - Friday 11 April
I had a bit of a lazy morning and mostly hung around the hostel where its warm, whilst I contemplated where i'd head to next. I only ventured briefly out to the bus station to get times and prices.
I hadn't planned on going but as i'm so close I might as well carry on going south until i hit the very bottom. I don't think i'll ever get the chance again.
The reason people come to El Calafate is because of the glaciers here. After being unable to see the ones in New Zealand because of the weather, i'm looking forward to finally seeing them. Its the only reason i'm travelling south otherwise i'd head to warmer climates. I'd held of booking a tour incase the weather changes, I don't want another episode like the volcano in Pucon, but as the weather was still good at lunchtime, I booked a trip for this afternoon to the Moreno Glacier the most famous one
View from the hostel lounge
It was absolutely amazing, I can't describe how big it is. Its one of the most spectacular individual things i've seen on my trip so far. Every so often theres a loud crackling sound as a huge chunk of ice falls off somewhere. I'm certainly glad I made the trip down from Baraloche.
It was 9pm before I returned to the hostel and once again I stayed in and tried to save a bit of money.
Day 205 - Saturday 12 April
After getting up and having breakfast I headed into a cafe to watch the football. Its been ages since i've watched a Premiership game. I ended up watching the Sunderland v Man City game and then the Portsmouth V Newcastle game. Its been a week since i've had a beer and even though I only had a couple I could feel it once the second game had finished.
After a short rest back at the hostel I went back into town to do a bit of souvenier shopping before watching the sun set over the mountains from the warmth of the hostel lounge.
As usual everybody tends to stay in
at night and tonight was no different. I did meet some interesting characters though. Theres Billy from Ireland who although flies home next week has been travelling for 2 years. He funds it by working as a tv or film extra in countries he visits. His last role was working alongside Nicole Kidman. Not a bad way to fund your travels. I also met some old Austrian bloke in his 50's whos a Jazz musician and has travelled the world many times. He first started in the 70's where he took a bus from Austria all the way to India. He ran out of money and became a dope dealer selling cannabis to western tourists there until he had enough money to buy a plane ticket home. He'd certainly led an interesting life.
I usually hate people who travel with guitars as they can never play, but there was this one Italian bloke in the hostel who could, so him and the Jaz bloke who suddenly pulled out a saxaphone put on a bit of a performance.
They were still going at half three in the morning when myself and a Spanish bloke called Roberto decided to head
into town to sample the local nightlife. Its a Saturday and you've got to make the most of that in these smaller towns. Although its half three clubs don't get busy in Argentina until at least 2am and the cafe everyone heads to in this town opens till around 7am (In Buenos Aires apparently the clubs shut between 9 and 10 am). The place we went to was indeed busy and like us locals were still turning up.
The music was something like i've never heard before. It was totally 100% Latino and I didn't have a clue how to dance to it. I was a bit like a fish out of water. The locals were all good dancers doing moves that were alien to me. I think I might do a few dance lessons when I arrive in Buenos Aires.
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