Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Last dias, horas y momentos

That time has come...I have to leave this place. Oh well...I ventured and I saw some amazing things during my days in this country. I have had the company of family and friends reading and following me on this journey. I hope my stories were as fun to read as I had fun trying to convey my thoughts and feelings during my time here. Just imagine about 10 years ago this was not possible or hardly used. Someone asked if during my trip did the use of the internet help with the planing and if I did not have the internet how much would it of changed?

It did help me allot and if we did not have this method...well I would used the old method of calling. Remember when this method did not exist you could just say you were going to be there and your room was waiting for you....etc.

One thing I can say about the internet and all its glory...it is a great tool while on holidays. I did most of my work doing research etc on the net and with the use of a few books. From what I saw and experienced ....the use of the net is a more reliable method of gaining information about what you want to do or want to see... the book however is sometimes a bit behind in what has been published.


I did the hostel thing on this trip. This was my first experience doing it. I was comfortable all the time that I used a hostel to lay my head down. ONe of the great benefits of hostelling is the most of them are multi purpose....with single rooms with facilities or if you are more adventurous share a room with people you dont know. In one instnace I was the only person in a 3 bed room. Meeting people was my objective and what a better way to meet them in a hostel. I met many Canadians, Americans, Australians and Brits in most if not all hostels. They are safe, cheap and provide the same comforts as a hotel would. Tyr it out next time if you want to be adventurous.

Don´t Cry for Argentina

No... most people should not cry for Argentina, although maybe we should. They are very passionate people and very fanatical about their politics. Let´s hope that they control that fever and allow this country to take center stage some day. They have lots to offer and it is enough for me to say that "I will come back here very soon"

Chow to Argentina....until the next time....Muchas Gracias !!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Pinamar and back to BA

The small beach town of Pinamar was so similar to any beach that you would find in North America.(North Carolina, beaches in New Brunswick or PEI). The one intersting thing about this beach was it got started by an Architect who planted trees to chore up the sand dunes. He did this in the 1930 and today this modern little town has allot to offer.

Next morning I left for BA. This is the last leg of my trip. I arrive at Hotel Nagoro this time and since it was recommended by my two Laura friends, I took the plunge to stay in a place that I could relax before heading home.

Saturday as you all know was St Patricks day and yes they do celebrate it here also...but not on the same scale as we do in Canada or the US. The evening started with drinks in the bar chatting with a gentlmen from Belgium and next thing you know a conversation a couple from San Francisco and next thing you know...out the door we go...to find a place to eat. I recommended a restaurant nearby as I had been there before when I was in BA. The women of the couple from the US could speak spanish and she actually spent time here as her parents were from Argentina. Well that connection made for an interesting evening and she knew what to ask for at the restaurant and it made for an interesting evening of food and drinks.

After we got through all of the food we headed up the street to find a bar so we could enjoy the rest of the evening. Well we stubled into a bar where a live local band was playing. We found a seat...and this is when the drinks started pouring.....Champagne, Beer, Fernet and Coke....wel lets put it this way.....we got bak to the hotel at 6 am.

Once thins interesting about the evening was....everyone else was still awake and partying. Oh well so much for fun and an evening out in BA.....they just love it here.


It started by getting late and missing breakfast. We went for a walk in St Thelmo the area where they antiques shops are and a huge flea market. We came back to the hotel and wanted to catch a soccer game in Boca as the Boca juniors were playing that afternoon. Well since we watned to walk off some of the previous evenings drinks we went to the stadium thinking that we could buy tickets at the door...well they dont do that here. So we tried to get tickets and got scamed. Oh well there goes another experience of life in Argentina.

Later that evening....Roger Waters from Pink Floyd was playing in town and was doing a randition of Dark Side of the Moon. What an evening. Who would of thought that my holidays here would get capped off with seeing Dark Side of the Moon and hearing 50,000 Argentinians singing to there popular songs. As I sat there during the concert I could not beleive that the album came out in 1972 and 35 years later I get to hear it live and in concert with the original creator himself. Another interesting thing...Dark Side of the Moon....and the relationship with the moon that I saw at the start of my trip at the Iguazu Falls where I saw the full moon come up over those amazing falls. WOW!!!!...what a trip it has been.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Bariloche was fun and quick. I left there on Wednesday and headed for San Martin de los Andes. I followed the famous Seven Lakes route. It is considered one of the most beuatiful route to take out of Bariloche heading north. The route was as it was describe....up and down along some interesting mountain views and beautiful lakes with those majestic mountains in the background. If you ever have travelled from Calgary to Jasper you know what I mean. Lots of great views. As I wounded down the road towards the end of routre until it turned right onto ruta 40 to head towards San Martin...my first surprise the road was under construction for 30 klms. This road was something else narrow and really under construction and I mean one car laneways to get through. Finally arriving to what was suppose to be the town of the lakes it just seemed to pop up out of no where. This city is known for the fancy boutiques and is the headend for anyone going hiking, biking and fishing. Well they were right. Small boutiques lines the main street here and if I saw one mountain shop I saw 30 mountain shops selling the same thing. Oh well....I am glad i am not here for the shopping.

I took off and went to go find my gofl course that Jack Nicklaus built down here. It was 20 klms out of town on the side of a hill. Arriving at the gatted community I could tell there was money in this little town. Most of the house I saw were going for $500.000 US. I slowly drove up to the club house....very modest clubhouse....walk in and I saw hardwood floors all over the place and the famous sign as you walked in .....no golf shoes please.

I headed to the pro shop and i ask the guy if i could play a round that afternoon. He said sure no problem. He said wait and someone would help me with the club etc. This women showed up and as soon as she saw me she said Canadian eh!...Oh my god to my surprise she was from Vancouver....go figure...another Canadian in Argentina.

It was a typical Jack N course. Nice layout but still rough on the sides and especially between holes with the cart path like a jungle. I played with 2 locals....Enrique and Oswaldo. It was a fun day hearing them talked in Spanish....like...good shot......sit......birdie.....par......oh shit i am in the bunker.....yes all in spanish....of course i had them tell me what those words were.....and by the way.....Oswaldo could speak a bit of English. I shot a high score of 92.

In the evening a very quiet town compared to Bariloche. As i walked the streets to find a place to eat I realized there was less and less people walking around. I finally found a greeat little place at the end of the main street for beer and pizza.

Nest day i headed out of San Martin towards Bahi Blanco. THe road out of town was better this times but the climbing up and down some of theose mountains were quite interesting. All along the way I would get lost looking out in a distance to see mountain getting closer. At one point i loss track of what i was doing and when i lifted my head.....hoy shit....SURPRISE SURPRISE.....there were sheap in the middle of the road. SO I hit the brakes of the side of the road and than back on the road and no one got hurt other than my nerves.

I made it to Bahi Blanco....a sleepy little city in the middle of no where but it use to be a military strong hold in the days.

Next morning i made it to a little town on the beach side called Pinamar.....more on that later.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Amazing Race...or fluke....!!!

My own Amazing Race took place this afternoon. Well....my morning started as normal as any day has been since I have been on this journey. I got up....had breakfast and went for a stroll in the city to upload my story and some pictures. It took time to upload everything because in this part of the world internet and everything else is via satelite. I could almost swear that anytime someone was doing an ATM withdrawal my internet connection would slow down.

I returned to the Hostel to pack my things...chit chat with the girl at the front desk in French. It was a pleasure to speak French for a change rather than struggling with my Spanish. Back down the road to walk around town before heading to the airport fo my flight back to Bariloche. I was advised to check my flight schedule to make sure the plane was on time...well it was not. It was already an hour late.

I took advantage of the delay to grab some lunch...ah the taste of an omelette with cheese, mushrooms, ham and a hot sauce. After lunch did some more walking around and went over to the bus stop to grab a ride to the airport. Well...I was mixed up as it was closed or something like that. So 2 other people showed up and joined in on the failed attempt to take a bus. They indicated they knew where the taxi stand was. Over I went and spoke to a yound guy and he indicated that it would be 5 to 7 minutes before a taxi would be there. The guy finally showed up...I negotiated a price for the ride to the airport and off we went. Gee...I thought I was a fast driver....as we headed to the airport i was thinking how in the Amazing Race show they have to find ways to getting to there destinations in a given time.

I arrive to the famous small airport at least 90 minutes before departure time. Well... I was shocked to see a long line that was crawling slower than melting ice glaciers...how lnog is this line anyways???...after about 10 mins I begin to wonder if we are all taking the same plane, same line etc. This airport is so small you have huge planes parked next to this little out house doing check ins....departure tax and pre boarding inspections...what a mess. The 2 guys ahead of me ask me if I understood English and one of them explains that he just heard that if I am taking the plane for Bariloche I should move to the Executive class check in location so that everyone heading to Bariloche will make the flight. So I thank them and head over to that desk...she does not have the right reservation information...wrong day for my return...computers dont lie...she says she has to put me on stand-by..WHAT!!!....dont worry all process ...I get on plan_e...WAIT!!! over tdhere please!!!...WAIT!!!...OK!!!... I h_elp you!!! pluese come over I got seat....so I take the boarding pass and head over to the departure tav place and pay...go through scan....go upstairs to board plane....Oh...oh...2E...holly shit... I got first class seat.

Would you like welcom drink sir??? yes and I glance over to the nest seat and I see a fimilar face....a British actor...I dont recall his name but will get it later.

Wow... my own amazing race and what a fluke...to be in first class and drinking red wine.....and they have real stell cutlery here in 1st class.

I am in my own foreign movie....

LIFE IS SIMPLE, we just make it easier......!!!

El Calafate

Arrival in El Calafate was pretty simple and easy flight. The plane was full and the cramped airport made it interesting to get your bagage. I overheard 2 people waiting for their bagage so I kicked up a conversation with them and next thing we did was take a taxi into town. I made plans with them to meet up later that evening. They were the Lauras....yes 2 of them travelling together from New York city. Get this one of them a project manager...gee why do I keep meeting those PMs anyway....???

As I wanted to see the glaciers and walk on them for a day I made my own plans to take an 8 hour trek on the glaciers.

When I met up with the Lauras later in the evening they had made the same decision and next day we were going to be on the same trek.

What can I say.....just look at the pictures. I have also captured some videos on my camera and will try to find a way to uplaod them to this blog later.

ENJOY THE PICTURES..............

they are....70 meters high.....and continue up to 120 meters in the water

a balcony off to the left of them.....interesting point about this place is under compression from the upper and lower lake....at times you can see some spectacular ice explosions and falling off into the water.

the Lauras.....nice friends that made this trip interesting

the boat over to the trek the glaciers....the ride over took about 20 minutes and we got within 30 meters from the glaciers.


I am on the side of the river looking at them

and yes the glaciers, deep and unbeleivable, I tastrd the water from the glaciers ......look at those new boots

....here we are.......

My drive from Mendoza to Bariloche was uneventfull. More flat countryside with great roads and a few more bigger towns with some recent development and less porverty. Along the Pantagonia mountain range there seems to be more money and a greater influence on Tourisme. I am being told that Argentina´s 3rd major economic influence is tourisme.

Bariloche a nice small town of 100,000 people. Strong European influence more like driving into Switzerland.

My plans changed from my original itenerary. I decided not to go to Ushuiai and focus on heading to El Calafate. I made reservations and left Sunday for El Calafate.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mendoza....Wine, wine, wine....oh gee did I say wine....I am a wimo

Well I did spent 3 days there. Yes...I did say I would try to enjoy the wine in Mendoza and those from Argentina.

After arriving my first day...settling in in my hostel(more on that later)....I was told I looked like I was lost....that is what the general manager said. I did look like it so of course I ordered a beer, and by the way it was 16h00, and for me it was my time for the beer. Okay what the hell am I doing having a beer in Mendoza....well I needed after the drive from Parana. Nothing much happened on the drive this time.

I got some recommendations from the genaral manager about where I should go eat for this first evening in Mendoza. So off I went... next day I was told about a few wineries I should go visit. So off I go...and it got a bit confusing at the place I was going to see they did not have my name on the list at this private winery. It only openned 2 years ago. The explanation of the wine and was given a chance to taste the recent production of wine. Now I have a better undertstading of what wine is all about.

While visiting this first winery, I met 2 American couples whitch one invited me to join them on their tour to the next winery. The next winery was that of Carmelo Patti an independant who is doing all his own business, promoting, selling and bottling wine. A nice place but totally different in terms of botteling and promoting his wine. One thing in particular about his place is he gets you to taste the wine out of the barrel.

After visiting those places....back at the hostel...the GM handed me a free wine tasting at a place called the Wines http://www.vinesofmendoza.com/help/contact_us.html . Off I go...arriving there and after beingexplained what I was about to experience... 5 different wines and with one hidden wine that they would select from their reserve. I ended up trying the Malbeck wines from Mendoza. They were all excellent and some are available in Canada but not all. I will be preparing an update at some point with the wines I tasted and their names.

Well a bit later I was introduced to the Operating Manager of the facility and I was invited to join some people heading out for dinner.

I spent next day enjoying a bit of the city and and since I was invited to enjoy another evening of tasting wines this time it was sparkling wines.

I am no expert on whine....or gee should I say wine...I did drink some wine.....I enjoyed some wine....and yes I did drink some wine.....did I already say that.....oh well no expert yet.....but I can suggest.....

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Wednesday......Miss spent youth or miss spent dollars

Now that is a political statement...

I left Parana this morning and headed for Mendoza...the wino capitol of Argetina....did yo notice the accent...lol...I just had to say that....lol

The drive to Mendozza was uneventful just long highways with not much to see other the occasional highway protest by truckers this time. Not much happening other than a gatherig of mind from what I could see....

Arriving in Mendoza from a highway that must of cost them a fortune and nothing to really substantiate them from spending the money. I am sure it could of been better spent in supporting the young homeless, kids, mothers that I saw while I am having dinner. I was harraseed a number of times while having dinner about suporting some cause or another.

As I got back to my rest stop for the evening actually 2 nights......I realize how fortunate we are....in dealing with life and what we expect from living in a certain city. I met two people from Canada and some from Britain. We all did the normal introductions and found out that the guys from Britain are touring south America on bikes. We had a covesation on miss spent youth playing pool during our school years and we traded off other similarities of growing up in different countries.


Parana Siesta...

I decided to stay another night in Parana. This is a rest stop town. Its quiet and quaint. When I walked around this morning I could not beleive how alive this little city was. When I went back to the hotel to indicate that I was staying another night etc, I took another walk around this small city of 300,000 to learm more about the culture and I realized it was quiet. Well I forgot that some provinces respect the siesta. Not bad day I guess...start work at 8 am and close at noon and open again at 16h00 then close at 20h00. Ok what do people do now that they are awake and downtown.....well they go home??? I went into a resto...ok it was a bit busy but not overwhelming...and some other resto were closed...so a very mixed siesta here or i dont understand it. People can smoke in resto here.....but not many do. Napkins are not like the one we have.....they are so thin here and it feels like plactic paper...not absorbant at all.