No photos today, just words… I am uninspired by El Calafate but for you my dear reader it is still a bumper weekend :-)
Back, briefly, to the pampa… when I described it as being a place of bugger all I wasn’t being entirely honest.. aside from the rocks and dust I had completely forgotten about the wildlife I encountered. The enormous rhea that ran alongside me on the road for a moment with 13 little ones in tow, or the guanacos that roam the steppe. There is also some decent bird life out there, the raptors are the most visible but bursts of song from the scrub hint at more delicate species. That rhea was intriguing, I did not know they laid so many eggs, thinking perhaps there is some sort of nursery arrangment going on as is sometimes the case with penguin colonies but a quick look at wikipedia indicates anything up to 60 eggs in a clutch. Gawd, I am only a twin and I think my folks had a hard enough time with just that.
As if you hadn’t already figured it out I camped here in El Calafate… I am not generally a fan of official camping sites, especially at this time of year.. they can be noisy and crowded, and peeing at night on the bushes near your, or indeed someone elses tent is generally frowned upon so I tend to avoid. This one however suits my needs.. cheap, shady and pleasant with wifi… I am camped on a patch of grass by a stream from where I can observe various members of my species… In the mornings I can watch the big, burly viking character across the stream carefully attending to his hair with a comb, lol… or the wrinkled old guy with his tiny bivy tent that sits in his car reading all afternoon. In the evening there is the young guy of about 18 that cannot play the guitar to save his life yet strums away idiotically nevertheless, head bobbing to some rhythm… just not a rhythm that bears any relation to the noises coming from his guitar. I feel qualified to comment as I cannot play the guitar either so am experienced in what constitutes not being able to play.
There are no sportscars in rural Argentina so many of the young folk wave willies with their tents when on holiday. Parked not far from me is a huge, bright red armadillo of a palace that if it was a car would be something vulgar.. like a Hummer. It is home to just two small, skinny folk. The tent next to that is a shiny new Ford F250 pickup of a thing, the one with the double rear axle, that could do with its own electricity substation to power all the gadgets. It is most amusing to watch these constructions buckle and twist in the wind despite the shelter of the trees.
As for the Perito Moreno glacier… some may think me a fool but I didn’t feel US$50 worth of need to see it given past glacier experiences either mountaineering or by bike. Spectacular it may be but when I think of the wonderful, wild and lonely places my bike takes me for free I lose the desire to join with the other tourists condemned to otherwise stare numbly at the places in between from behind the windows of a bus. So, Sunday today… day of rest… oh I must stop with these biblical references like a good little atheist. I have a cold.. a breakfast of coffee and Beechams has fixed me up a little but I shall not be rushing to do much more than just chill out today, and sort out my food supplies for the next few days ride south. The online forecast indicates southerly winds are on the menu. Bah!:-| Ennio & Dina showed up last night absolutely exhausted… the westerly winds were brutal yesterday, so I imagine some beer, or possibly wine, will feaure in the day at some point too :-)
Now, just as an aside and nothing to do with Patagonia or cycling… at least to my knowledge… One of the fun features of wordpress is that I get to see the search terms folk use if they click through to my blog from a search engine. Today I saw a cracker.. “ponies that are for sale but easy to ride on bus in canada”.. I kid you not. I suspect there is definitely a gap in the market there for you entrepreneurial pony breeding types. I also get a lot of traffic from folk searching on the term “sadly”…. hmmm.
p.s. I must also find some decent loo roll today. Fed up of the shite on sale here in single rolls, it goes to pieces at the mere sight of an arsehole… well, mine anyway ;-)
p.p.s 24/01/11… ok one photo, this is the El Calafate collaborative Swiss-Anglo-Belgian-German cyclists asado project… more meat out of shot but the concept of putting veg on the grill is one completely alien to the locals, there was much bemusement. Since writing the first draft of this post Kevin showed up from El Chalten too.. with a bottle of the locally brewed spirit.. known as ‘leggy’ (unsure of spelling). Not sure how much of what I feel today is being sick and how much a late night with alcohol. Either way feeling crap, hoping to get out of here tomorrow (the 25th) :-)