Posted by: Dave | January 22, 2009

Hace Calor

It’s hot. I’m writing this from my cot in a hostel in Bahia Blanca, a town of 300,000 that is just a convenient stopover on the way to Patagonia. It’s hot – maybe 90 and humid. At 3:30am. I would love to be asleep, but the heat + rumbling of cars and trucks outside my window is keeping me up. Awesome.

I’ve been here now for about 36 hours and it’s been fantastic so far. But now I’m just plain hot. Sweaty and frustrated that I can’t fall asleep.

Here’s a recap of my first day and a half in Argentina.

As most of you know I’m traveling with my friend Kristin and her friend Ally. They arrived a couple of weeks ago and have things pretty well figured out. That made arrival day easy for me. I arrived on Wednesday around noon and was met by my pre-arranged “remise” – basically private car service… in someone’s private car! (Special thanks to my sister for making making the spanish-language arrangements.) Nestor was my driver and of course his English was good and wanted to use it. As he was a 50ish guy with decent English, I was curious as to how/when be learned. The answer was simple. The Beatles. In order to keep up with the lyrics, he was motivated to learn the language. Fantastic! With the amount of U2 I’ve listened to …. nevermind. Nestor also wanted to talk about Obama. He said that all of Argentina is excited about the change – and that Obama’s election proves that anything is still possible in America. Great to see the hope and optimism that’s so prevalent at home now spreading across the world.

My brief encounter with Buenos Aires was great. People were amazingly friendly and it’s a pretty easy city. We had an amazing steak dinner – at 11pm. I’m pretty sure I’ll be eating a lot of steak. Argentina is known for producing great beef, and it’s incredibly inexpensive. A dinner that included salad, appetizers and a pile of diffferent cuts of beef: US$8. Not to mention the US$8 bottle of excellent wine that’s buy one get one free.

But Thursday meant it was time to begin the journey to Patagonia. An early start was delayed by a late night at a club with some guys that Kristin and Ally met. They spoke practically no English at all, so it was fun. Getting into a Maradona vs Pele discussion was awesome. The club was interesting – and a recap is probably not blog-suitable.

Thursday from noon to 9pm (still daylight) entailed driving out of Buenos Aires and through Las Pampas, which I’m pretty sure means “nothing but cows.” There was absolutely nothing of note other than endless fields of sunflowers and cows. Incidentally, it might be interesting to note that sunflowers “face” away from the sun (Ally suggests that they’re shy) and cows don’t do much interesting when you pass them at 130km/hr. Driving in Argentina is similar to Mexico: few road rules. I drove us out of Buenos Aires … starting with what I’ve heard is “the craziest street in the wold.” It has 16 lanes and goes right through the center of downtown. And no one pays any attention to the painted lines. And I’m driving a 3-door French car.

The car – a Peugeot- is actually pretty good. 8+ hours on a 2-lane road with some beastie tractor-trailers and it held its own. Passing on double-yellow lines is both common and fun!

Tonight in Bahia Blanca we’re in a hostel that has wifi but no AC. Interesting prioriries. Did I mention that it’s really hot? Had a great steak dinner (2nights, 2 steaks) in this random little city. Tomorrow we continue the crazy drive towards Patagonia and Argentina’s many National Parks. Friday’s target is Peninsula Valdes, home of Magellan penguins, sea lions, orcas and right whales. The whales are out of season, so we won’t see them, but we’re hoping to see many of the others! For those of you that watch Planet Earth or similar shows, Peninsula Valdes is where the orcas raid the beach and try to steal sea lions from the “safety” of dry land.

Thanks for checking in. Internet access is awful so far. Super slow and inconvenient.

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Responses

  1. Heat = La pasión

    LD scores 2 today

    Steak is not green

    Post fotos

  2. Take some good penguin pictures for me! Maybe B&W? 😉

  3. I’d like to hear the story about the club that is not “blog suitable” lol.


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