I must have picked up some bad karma along the way I think, possibly something to do with my comments about the tourists here in El Calafate.. hehe, I was expecting some stronger words but the worst I’ve been accused of so far is being a “a little wry..” ;-) I’ll come back to that in a mo but first the karma… you see I have spent the best part of the last few days curled up in my sleeping bag. That cold I collected did the one thing that is always a risk for me, being asthmatic, and the worst thing it could have done – it went into my chest. So for the last few days I’ve barely had the strength to go and pee on the bushes near someone else’s tent let alone ride a bike… Still, there is always a bright side… I have had time to get to know a number of different folk all passing through and all with interesting stories to tell. So when not dozing in my bag I’ve been wrapped up in every stitch of clothing I have sitting around the camp stove with a bunch of other ‘vagrants’. Could be worse :-)
Today, Wednesday, was my mental ‘crunch’ day. If I felt OK I’d plan to get on my bike tomorrow morning. If I didn’t then experience tells me it’s going to be quite a few more days before I am fit to ride…. I didn’t feel OK so, heavy of heart.. and legs.. I dragged myself to the bus station this morning and bought a ticket to Puerto Natales. If I need time off the bike I want to spend it somewhere visually interesting where I can enjoy some photography. Puerto Natales I think is going to be that place. Who knows I may even be taken to task again, as I was in Ancud, for only photographing the “ugly”, aka visually interesting, parts of town… ;-)
It means I may miss Torres del Paine, but c’est la vie… I enjoyed some fantastic, uncrowded wilderness on the carretera and out in the Valle de los Exploradores so I cannot complain too much, and I am still excited about riding the coast of Tierra del Fuego :-) Although I could always change my flights and extend my stay over here of course….
I learned during one of these camp stove beer and charanga sessions that another name for the Rhea, the large flightless bird that inhabits these parts, is the Ñandu [pronounced “nyandoo”]. They make good eating apparently but the primary reason the topic came up is thanks to motociclista Kevin.. you see during the many long & lonely hours on his bike crossing the pampa he has been polishing a joke of which he is mightily proud. I promised I would share it online and bring him the fame he deserves. Here it is:
q: what do you call a dead ñandu…?
a: a ñan-don’t
hmmm, well.. yes… there you go. I did promise…. of course it only works in English… and only after a few drinks ;-)
Thanks to illness I have had too much time to think too… at times about why I bother to write. It gives me something enjoyable to do… I worry a little about what some folk may think of my words at times but I shouldn’t I think… I know it works both ways, I have little doubt that folk look at me as I walk down the street and think “look at that skinny bugger that can’t even be bothered to wear trousers that are clean and not torn….” but I don’t mind.. I think the slightly raggedy look adds a nice edge to my otherwise perfection <cue coughs and sniggers> :-)
Well, that is it for today. I have little doubt 5hrs on a bus will be a depressing experience but no more depressing than staring, short of breath, at the inside of a tent. When feeling rough it is too easy to forget the wonderful times of the past few weeks. My blog is useful for that at least, even if nobody else ever read it I can skim back over the words and pictures and remember how brilliant it has been :-)
Hasta Puerto Natales!
p.s… oh, another search engine click-through gem… “i don’t want to be a skinny bugger..” hehe, says a lot about the content perhaps!