Said good-bye again to Buenos Aires (and its pterodactyl-like mosquitos - those hungry bitches bite through your t-shirt! There´s one bite on the back of my neck that looks like I'm sprouting a second head.) this morning and took the three-hourish flight to Patagonia.
As the plane approached El Calafate Airport, I was surprised by how barren and desolate the dry terrain looked. We might as well have been landing in the Sahara or an 80-year-old lady´s uterus. But as we got out of the plane and looked south, we saw the epic, snow-covered mountains in the distance, blowing our minds.
El Calafate's a remote village that's the doorway to Patagonia. I was expecting a tiny outpost with a dusty dirt road, tin shacks, and old, toothless men chasing flirtatious goats. Once again, another surprise. El Calafate's quaint main street is several blocks long and lined with cafes, steakhouses, pharmacies, car rental agencies, and travel offices. There are also Internet cafes, which is where I´m writing this - but the connection is so damn slow I think it might be faster posting this entry via carrier pigeon. And of course there are dozens of shops selling touristy shit, alpaca sweaters, wool ponchos, dulce de leche, and overpriced outdoor gear.
Surprise #3: The weather. I was expecting ferocious, howling winds, brutal thunderstorms and merciless rain. It's in the 70's now and hardly a cloud in the sky. Instead of my water/wind-proof jacket and GORE-TEX shoes, I'm in a t-shirt and thong.
Chowing down on empanadas outside on a warm afternoon, watching people walking up and down the sidewalks with backpacks and North Face jackets, I noted how the place had a ski resort feel. The one big difference are the roaming packs of fricking dogs. I´m assuming they're stray, but at the same they seem well-fed, although this could be because most are covered with thick, messy fur. They bark and chase each other around a lot, as well as the motorcycles, but the rest of the time they´re strolling about, snoozing, or reciting poetry.
Tomorrow I´m riding horses for four hours. Before this testicle-bruising excursion, I have to get up by 6 AM, which is about two hours later than my bedtimes in Buenos Aires. As they say in Argentina, "motherfucker."
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