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Tasha’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 11 Jul 2006

Location: Argentina

MapUp Close and Personal!

Firstly let me apologise, for being absolutely rubbish at updating this site. The reason being, I am having too much fun to stop and think about how much fun I am having!

I'm typing from the computer in this gorgeous hostel I am staying in in El Calafate. Its called American Del Sur - lovely, looks good, excellent views, great vibe, met up with a few people that where in the last hostel I was staying in.

Well enough of all that, I have seen some amazing things since my last update. Today I saw Moreno, in fact I touched, no wait...licked Moreno. To elaborate Moreno is a Glacier, the most famous one in Argentina, and it is completely understandable why. I have been a proper tourist on this trip, but today I went off the beaten track and saw things that most tourists wouldn't have. Part of the walkway was closed off, due to DANGER! but I had heard that most people ignored that and went along the walk anyway, so I did. I wasn't the only one, so didn't feel that naughty. However when I got to the viewing platform, I was so close to the Glacier that I could smell it, and wanted more. There were two French girls and an American lad at the viewing balcony, and I said to them I wanna lick the Glacier! Obviously they all looked at me as if I were mad, and the American commented that that must be some kinda sport back in the UK. I was like, no seriously I wanna lick it, come on who is gonna come with me, the Frenchies said no, but the American was up for it, so we jumped the barriers, and trekked off to touch the Glacier. Anyways to get to the point, I did actually lick the Glacier, the American got close, but not as close as me - chicken! Rob the American had a proper camera and so has a few good shots of me close the the Glacier. Then me and him just sat there close but not to close, just sat in silence and took in the view - definitely the best seats in the house! Tomorrow I'm off to see 3 other Glaciers, apparently not as magnificent as Moreno, and to be fair it would take a lot to top that!

So between Bariloche and here I made a brief stop at Puerto Madryn, which is the only city in Argentina that you can actually see whales from the beach. Seriously it was the maddest thing. I went on a boat trip and saw this whale which was pretty magnificent in itself. The guy driving the boat got the boat to bounce up and down, to which the whales would respond by jumping out of the water - madness! I think the whales did actually enjoy performing for the crowds. However by far the most impressive part of the day was standing on the beach and seeing the whales literally less than 50 meters away, turning and diving. I even saw a pup which the guide reckons would have been less than a week old.

The day before the whale watching was spent checking out a quirky little museum called the Ecocentre. You can see the pictures of the whale skeleton outside and the underwater exhibit. Spent most of day chillin with a Canadian lad called Travis, traveling is filled with small moments in other peoples lives. The Ecocentre really inspired me to learn more and do more, cos there is just so much stuff out there that I have no knowledge about, but know that I would find fascinating.

I'm gonna take a moment to talk about my Spanish. Well it ain't great, but for the most part I have got by just fine. However the most hairy moment was on my way to El Calafate. When I heard the driver say that we were gonna stop for a few minutes, I wasn't sure if he said 5 or 15, so I thought best air on the side of caution, and be back in 5. So I gets back to the bus and no one else on there, but I decide to sit down. Then the bus driver sees me and says something in Spanish, which I presume means get off the bus. So I asked him if the said the stop was 5 or 15 mins. To which he replies 15, so I goes off to the toilet, and to buy some grub. When I gets back to where the bus was, bus ain't there!! So I was like don't panic Tash, have a look around, see if you recognise anyone. To which I realised I didn't, but thought don't panic the bus must have gone to get petrol or get cleaned or summat?! Then I saw this couple that I thought I recognised. I went up to them and asked if they spoke English, they said no, so I tried my best to ask if they were on the same bus as me in Spanish. To which I think the lady said the bus is coming back here, but I wasn't 100% sure. 20 minutes later the bus came back - to my relief. That definitely was a time that I wish I spoke a little more Spanish!

So Bariloche, what Can I say I absolutely loved the city, a proper party town, I pretty much boarded all day and played out all night, I really wanted to stay there, loved it!. Met some great people, and got loads better at boarding. Beth (ginger girl in photo) and I plan to go back and do the season next year. I know it sounds rubbish that I fell in love with the town that I pretty much partied in. At one point I was like guys, I had expected my time in Argentina to be slightly more cultural, but what can I say, you can take the Brit out of Britain! For boarding France was amazing, but you just cant beat the views from the top of the slopes in Bariloche, how could you not fall in love!

Ok I'm done, till the next installment! Adios Amigos!