The overtaking game...winners and losers


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South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén
February 28th 2018
Published: March 3rd 2018
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And on we travelled the next day by bus to El Chalten, right in the middle of the Parc Nationales de Glaciares (the clue is in the name). “Is it February?” Pete asked, at 7.50 as we waited to load our rucksacks onto the 0800 bus. “Of course its February” I replied, thinking “what’s up with the man?” “Then why does it say March on our tickets?” says Pete.......meaning “the tickets YOU booked“.....Pete took command and his now fluent Spanish along with a lot of gesticulating and a bit of wailing from me ensured we got on the February bus.

We are now half through our adventure and as a bit of a treat we decided to stay in one place for 5 nights to regroup and get our laundry done. We found the most amazing estancia, Estancia la Quinta where we are now happily residing amongst the cows and horses. We are staying in the converted shearing shed which is very swish and nothing at all like a shearing shed. They have 5000 cows on the estancia which covers 5000 hectares of land and was established in1905 by a Norwegian pioneer. We have of course offered our services in case of any difficult calvings that might happen while we are here and Alfredo, (el hombre de la estancia) seems very grateful. A totally brilliant place to regroup and get clean whilst (of course) exploring those glaciars.

Today was a day to be remembered and noted because today was the day that I (Jan) walked for over 6 hours without cursing (mind you, still no singing, that would simply be ridiculous) and was still quite perky at the end of the day. There are two reasons for this. ...firstly the top half inch of both my little toes came off in the bath last night (sorry to the squeamish but the detail is important) thus allowing more room in my boots today and therefore happy toes all round.

But the second reason is a sea change in my fortune in the “Trekking Overtaking” game. Let me be clear ....until today I have overtaken NO-ONE, DE NADA, ZILCHO people in the last 6 weeks and have had to put up with being the overtakee about a million times every single day. I have maintained my manners as you would know but it is very wearing. Whether my fitness has improved or whether there are fewer superhuman trekking saddoes in El Chalten, I don't know but I am delirious to report that I overtook 8 people today. Pete of course, being the lovely chap that he is, doesn’t like to keep a tally of the number of people he has overtaken (Loser) but I am happy to revel in victory when victory is fairly earned.

I have to say that I felt a little embarrassed about my first victim – the lady must have been 105 and seemed to be walking the hills in her carpet slippers and of course her carer made it a swift double victory. BUT I was on a roll and quickly added a couple of elderly Americans and then a couple of Australians and then a Chinese girl who was not keen to give way.

There is of course an etiquette involved with overtaking and being overtaken. I have enormous experience in the latter (stand aside, smile through gritted teeth, say “Hola” in a chirpy sort of way as though you are not bothered and let the steam rolling person through), however today I discovered the etiquette of the overtaker. I think I had it about right. Approaching your victim, it is important not to be too aggressive. I assumed a humble but slightly superior air (you are the overtaker after all, some modicum of superiority is surely allowed?) as I approached and it’s important to let your victim know that you are there by a (again) humble cough which escalated into banging my trekking poles into the ground just behind them if they refused to let me through. Sweeping past like Cruella de Ville and other victim was mine!

If you are concentrating you will know that I have only mentioned 7 victims. Number 8 was forged by a determined bit of strategic thinking and acceleration ( not normally my sort of thing) and had it not been for Pete needing a wee shortly afterwards we would have scored the perfect 9! Ah well, Pete says that the GMLTC tennis ladies are lucky to have someone so competitive as me (or something a bit like that).

We are playing a dangerous game with our emergency supplies at the moment. For the last couple of weeks we have been working on one Emergency Snicker and the “bottom of the barrel” last bally chocolate (you know, those little red Lindt balls that are HEAVENLY). Today the Snicker has gone, leaving us with only the bally chocolate to fall back on. We both agree that this is a ridiculous state of affairs and we need to sort this out before we head into the hills tomorrow.

We are hearing a lot about the Beast from the East on the news here so I hope everyone back in UK is coping with the bad weather. Sorry to be missing out on the fun.

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