Saturday, February 18, 2006

If you are ever in a rural argentine pharmacy hungry, tired, with more cuts and blisters than you would like to admit, be careful when you ask for antibiotic cream to replace all the neosporin you used up by giving your self blisters, because you might just end up buying 11 dollars worth of...diaper cream. I got back to the hostel and was like “this isn’t neosporin...hey why does it say ‘bebe’ all over it?”
The good news is that it is still antibiotic and seems to help the cuts, and i am totally dialed should I run into any extended incontinence issues (god forbid).

The last couple of weeks have been spent between El Chalten and El Calafate. Visited some of the biggest accesible glaciers in the world and saw a bunch of icebergs-which were awesome and thankfully did not call to mind any Celine Dion singles until now. Also visited Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre (google either to see why we bothered) with Andy before he left for 3 days of hiking around some of hte most dramatic peaks in teh world, and met a bunch of world-class, big wall climbers from all around the globe and found out that regardless of nationality, they all have never heard of doedorant or laundry detergent.

Some of these poor bastards sit around all summer waiting for a three day window of decent weather to attack a route up one of the big walls of Torre and fitz Roy. This area, due to the humongous ice field preceding it, the dramatic peaks and valleys, and it’s relative proximity to the 40’s and 50’s of the southern Pacific, make it one of the most volatile and difficult for which to forecast. Still, when Andy was with me we had great weather and got to see all the peaks for which we came. Had fun camping in teh free park campgrounds, but let me just say I will use the phrase “that place is a total shithole” with more discretion after seeing some of the latrines. Much like a hugh Grant movie-four walls and a hole, in this case- but do have some charming touches, like chimneys and painted outlines of where to put your feet. Alas, just like his movies are generally putrid and I could not wait to get out.

After Andy split after 4 weeks together I stayed for some sport climbing for a few days with an Irish Guy named, I am not making this up, Tuathal. He was super nice, but talked nonstop. I of course could not resist calling him a Chatty Paddy (This was after he was done belaying me, of course), which of course, I found hilarious and him not so much.
I decided to leave El Chalten and headed back to the larger El Calafate for my Birthday. Charles Darwin and I share February 12th as our grand entrance into the world, and much more as I came to find out from all of you who played. The grand prize of crashing on his couch and raiding his fridge goes to Kirk Reynolds, who informed me that besides extended visits to South America (duh), CD was also a runner in his youth.

My motivation to return was is predictable: Food. I wanted a decent meal on the big day,and Chalten dining options are bleak. I spent the daytime on a Catamaran tour of some enormous glaciers, and talked at lenght with this really wonderful Argentine couple, which felt good, reaffirming that the spanish is in good shape. At night we went out to this great dinner- started with champagne like all birthdays, and then with a big Ribeye and lots of Argentine wine and an enormous gelato for dessert.

After dinner I had beers with this Nicaraguan taxi driver who is not quite sure how he ended up here, and also, predictably, tried to get the bar DJ (spanish word: disc yockee) to play old school Michael Jackson. I even pleaded it was my birthday, but no dice.

After catching up in Calafate I got all inspired to climb. I decided rather than move on I would return to El Chalten, a 4 hour bus ride over dusty unpaved roads to try and climb Cerro Solo, an alpine climb within my skill level and not the big wall stuff most people around here are doing. I was there for three days, but never even left town for the climb since the weather was intermitttenly rain and strong winds, sometimes both, with snow at high altitudes. It almost felt like a big waste of time and money, but I realized the trip had other benefits. For example, I met this great dutch architecture student I am now travelling with named Timo, pronounced T-Mo. I keep trying to get him to tell people it stands for “T-Money,” or maybe “Tough Mofo,” but he is not going for it.

I also have a place to stay in the Mediterranean, since I met these two slovenians who were awesome. If you are looking for a cool place to go in Europe, Slovenia/Croatia sound like Italy since they smoke a lot and get a lot of sun, excep it sounds cheaper, and as far as I can tell they use a a lot less hair gel.

The highlight was on the trail with Timo, we met these great Argentine girls who, when I return to Buenos Aires, want to teach me Argentina style empanadas. Let’s recap: t-money, friends on med coast, a good day of hiking, and two cute, single, smart, Argentine women who want to teach me how to cook.
So these adventures, whether social or pharmeceutical in nature, although not quite turning out as I hoped are still going great. But like I am totally ready in case of diaper rash, Iam also primed for more fun surprises. Onto Chile!


Blogger Andrew Waterman said...

Dude! So Sorry I missed out on the birthday celebrations. It sounds as though the crazy novel is still flowing for you down in Calafate/Chaltan. Too bad the Israeli girl didn't work out for you ... :-)

Glad to be reading your blogs again man.


11:46 AM  

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