Streatching the Parabolas in a Bunker

Trip Start Dec 26, 2009
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Trip End Dec 22, 2010


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Where I stayed
Refuegio

Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Saturday, March 13, 2010

A town built around one tourist attraction, on top of desolate soil, surrounded by lifeless hills. One shop selling souvenirs, the next tours to Glacier Moreno, then restaurants and cafes. Itīs as if you are stuck in a terrible nightmare, running down the same street over and over again.

Johannes and I wernīt happy with the price of the bus to and from the glacier or expensive entrance fees into the national park. Itīs hard not to get frustrated by unneeded overpriced attractions. We decided to hitch hike to the park. After 30 minutes in the Patagonian wind and spit roasted between hitch hikers before and after us. We gave up, became tourist and brought the over priced bus tickets.

The reason for the expensive tourist town, Puerto Moreno glacier. The fastest advancing, only growing glacier in the world, moving at 60cm per day. So massive, reaching 60m in vertical height. Looking at it up close, you canīt help but feel like a frightened mouse. The glacier, an ominous, angry wild cat. Creeping towards you, ready to pounce.

Between the rugged sharp edges of the glacier, lay stunning shades of blue. Deep blue being my favorite. While appreciating the beauty, I was rudely interrupted by an elderly American tourist "so where is the glacier going to crack next?"...... surprised by the question. I was even more surprised by the guides answer. Lifting her hand up, cupping her ear "Iīm trying to listen, to see where it is going to crack next" She spoke so convincingly, like she actually believed her own words. At least It keeped him quite for a while. She was obviously good at her job...

Basically glaciers are formed from significant amount of snow fall in winter, which turns into ice. Not all of the ice melts during the year because of various reasons; itīs in the shade of the mountains etc, It snows again the next winter, turns to ice, doesn't fully melt and so on. Overtime all the ice is compacted from pressure and the release of air pockets, creating beautiful shades of blue. Thus, a glacier is formed. All the glaciers on earth hold 14% of the worlds water.

I have started sleeping in different types of accommodation, cheap ones mainly. Traveling from comfortable hostel to comfortable hostel, you seem to met the same kind of travelers, Europeans, Israeliteīs and Australians mostly (so far I have met 4 New Zealanders, 2 of them living in Aussie ). However, sleeping in even cheaper hostels or shelters. Iīve have met allot more locals.

Low ceiling beams covered in mountain climbing equipment, beer bottle tops for trimmings, pick nick tables in the lounge for gatherings, an old fire oven and the bedroom, a plank of wood separating the lower and upper sleeping areas, with mattresses side by side, 6 up and 6 down. Refugio (a mountain shack) in the middle of town.

It was a strange place to sleep. We stayed with locals and one German guy riding a horse to Bolivia. One afternoon we were invited to join them for a feast of Guanaco, one of the four descendants of camels living in South America. I have seen many wild ones, but haven't tried eating one. They hunted, skinned and cooked it themselves. Made with egg and bred crumbs, It tasted delicious. I later found out that hunting and eating Guanaco is illegal as they are a protected species.

The van door slides open. Steeping out onto dusty soil, my eyes glear upwards towards the sky. As if controlled by some force. The stars lighting the night sky with such definition. Never have I felt so close to so many stars before. A rainbow of elongated stars scattered above, the Milky way.

We had arrived in the middle of know where, between El Calafate and El Chalten. The locals at the Refugio invited us to a party on a farm, which had an old observatory and a bunker. It was a unique experience dancing to electronica in an underground bunker until 5 the next morning. Swags would of loved it. 30 meters up a hill, a rock band was playing in the confined space of the observatory.

Before the party, a few of us huddled around the outside fire, eating chorizos (pork sausages) the person who made them, to my left. We were passing the guitar around playing and singing, they owner of the house in Spanish, me in English. One of the locals giving me a thumbs up, with a slight nod, after finishing a remediation of wonderful tonight.

Entering the dark bunker, it seemed larger than from the outside. Rundown from years without maintenance. It expelled a tired ruggedness, all the while holding itīs unique charm. I spot the DJ, the guy who gave me the thumbs up whilst playing the guitar. The 2nd DJ, the guy who slept 10cm from my side the night before. I walk around the corner to buy a beer. The man selling drinks, one of the guys who cooked the Guanaco for us at the Refugio. The 3rd DJ, behind me offering to pay for my beer.

The DJīs were stretching the parabolas, mixing some sick beats. It was funny dancing on temporarily placed planks on un even ground. Jumping on the corner, springing off towards an unknown direction. Random dogs joining us on the dance floor, at times sleeping in the middle of a group of dancers.

I stumble up the rocky hill in the dark, the stars lighting my way. Electronic beats echoing out of the bunker behind me, getting quieter and quieter. The base from the rock band, getting louder and louder. I enter the observatory. A concrete domed shape with 2 levels. The upper level, the observation deck. The lower, the location of the band, huddled into a corner. Sadly, there wasnīt enough people at the party to warrant the band in the observatory so they joined us later on in the bunker. 

Looking for a ride to El Calten the next day. The rock band offered us a lift to the main road on the back of their Ute. Tail gate down, feet hanging over the edge, one hand on the Ute, the other on the band equipment, we were driving down the road looking out for cops. They dropped us off by a tranquil cafe in the middle of know where. Once again we were hitch kicking and once again, failing at it. Just as we thought we would be stuck out there for ever, a bus approached. We waved it down, paid the driver; who must have pocketed the cash as no tickets were issued and we on our way to El Chalten.






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