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Patagonia | Argentina Trip
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Archive for the 'Patagonia' Category

You are from where??

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

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I get asked a lot what city I’m from, but most people haven’t been familiar with St. Louis (or “San Luis” as I’ll sometimes say).

I usually add something like “en el centro”, or that it is next to “el rio Mississippi”, which many people know about. If it’s still not helping, and they want to know more, I’ll settle for saying Chicago, which always works.

In Chile when I mentioned the Mississippi, several people nodded their heads and said Tom Sawyer. The book is required reading in some of the schools.

On my last day in Bariloche, I got my biggest surprise yet regarding international awareness of St. Louis. I had spent the afternoon taking a ski lift up the side of a mountain, where as you can see I enjoyed an espresso while admiring the view.

Espresso above Bariloche

Ski liftLocal bus in BarilocheI also used the local bus which is good for this type of short excursion outside the city, but is dusty and hot, so I figured I could use some wine from a sidewalk cafe. The waiter asked what city I was from, and I told him St. Louis.

“Ruta Sesenta y Seis,” he said.

I didn’t think I heard right, so he said it in english: “Route Sixty Six”.

He had never been to the United States, so I asked him how he knew about Route 66. “I read”. Then he sort of shrugged his shoulders and walked back to the kitchen like it was no big deal.

I figured if he wanted to give me attitude about knowing St. Louis and Route 66, he probably earned it. I got a little more out of him later, which is that he read it in a tourism book.

It was a very impressive detail about St. Louis. If he ever does visit the United States, maybe I’ll take him to trivia night.


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Dangerous bridge and dangerous bull

Monday, January 19th, 2009

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A couple of signs seen along the back roads.

img_1905

img_1947

Steep hill coming up

Monday, January 19th, 2009

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Road sign in Patagonia region of Argentina. Exactly what kind of car is that?

Steep hills in Patagonia

Mr. Driver

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

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I thought this sign on an Argentine road on the way to Chile was nicely formal, and a little funny: Mr. Driver.

Senor Conductor

Watch those narrow mountain roads

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

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I saw this story about a wreck on a mountain road in western United States and thought that it could easily have happened here in Chile or Argentina (though the emergency response would have been different).

The roads are tiny and many times there is a mountain wall on one side, and drop-off on the other.

In Uruguay I met a British woman who rented a 4×4 truck to drive around Bolivia and once met a bus driver who either couldn´t or wouldn´t get any closer to the mountain wall. She was scared to get closer to the cliff, so did the only alternative: waive the driver on by and let him scrape the side of the truck and break off the sideview mirror.

So far nothing like that has happened to me which is good because the car I´m driving would crumple into a tiny tin can in that situation anyway.

Made it to Patagonia

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

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David in Patagonia

It’s been an amazing time since my journey here started on New Year’s Eve. Patagonia is an incredibly beautiful, exciting place to be. If you have never rented a car and explored this place, it is something to put on your “to do” list. And move it to the top.

Next Stop Patagonia

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

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I have three more days on the beaches of Uruguay, and then go to something very different: Patagonia. I spent yesterday afternoon buying the tickets and finally worked out the itinerary, leaving here December 31:

  1. 4:15 a.m. Walk 15 minutes from apartment to the Piriapolis bus terminal.
  2. 4:50 a.m. Take bus from Piriapolis to Montevideo
  3. 5:50 a.m. Take another bus from Montevideo to Colonia
  4. 7:50 a.m. Take ferry from Colonia to Buenos Aires
  5. 9:00 a.m. Take cab to the bus terminal in Buenos Aires
  6. 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wait.
  7. 12:30 p.m. December 31 to 12:30 p.m. January 1. Take long-distance bus from Buenos Aires to Bariloche, Argentina, located in Patagonia.

Because of time changes, the long-distance bus is only 22 hours. A round-trip ticket cost 480 Argentine Pesos, which right now is about US $140. The plane takes an hour, but the ticket was around US $800.

The bus seat reclines completely and is supposed to be quite nice. They serve meals and wine, there is a television (which I know will be awful), and they even have a bar. It is a double-decker bus, but the most coveted seats on the top front were already taken. In fact, there were only a few seats left that fully reclined. I was able to get a window seat, but it is on the lower leven towards the back. But at least I´ll be close to the bar!