29
May
2004
James

Moreno Glacier

We left Puerto Natales, Chile for the Argentine border crossing in the middle of nowhere on a 5 hour trip down a dirt road. The Argentine border patrol station had a pingpong table set up in the room adjacent to where we had to get the entrance stamp, so naturally we wandered over and struck up a game, thinking the border guards might want to jump in with us. But no, apparently the bleak windblown wasteland that is the argentine pampa took the life right out of their souls because one guard came over and promptly directed us to get in line for the stamp. A bit of a wake up call that made me realize how much we really are at the mercy of these guys and just hope they aren’t having a bad day.

We arrived at El Calafate, named after the Patagonian blueberry bush, a tourist town recently built on the shore of Lago Argentino, one of the largest in South America, as a base for outdoor adventure excursions and to view the Perito Moreno Glacier (photo). We wound up in a nice little hostel offering us the best price (Ar$12) we have found in Argentina up to this point (which is strange because all the books and everyone who we’ve talked to said this was the most expensive town in Argentina). The next day we took an all day tour to the glacier one hours ride to the north. There is just so much that could be said about the glacier, but the only statistic that I really remember from the tour was that its land mass occupied more space than the entire city of Gran Buenos Aires (pop. 13 million). The glacier was advancing and we got to see large chunks break off and fall into the lake.

We are trying to meet up with Tom (Paul’s marine buddy on vacation from his station in Santiago, Chile) in Buenos Aires some 3005 km to the north, so the day after viewing the glacier we head out on a 42-hour, two-night direct bus (which ends up stopping in nearly every town along the way). We figured out that what they meant by “direct” is simply that we dont have to get off and change busses…

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