A Travellerspoint blog

Don't Cry for Me Argentina

So Long South America

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A whirlwind of activities summed up my last few days in South America.

Here is a quick picture from the Halloween School Program that I mentioned last blog. I'm awarding the trophy to the best dressed male at the party. My personal vote was for a three foot Darth Vader but our group made a good choice in the end.
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I attended a futbol match, soccer game for those of us in the USA, between Boca Junior and San Lorenzo. Boca is the working class team in Buenos Aires and the fans are known to be be super rowdy. It was a home game for Boca at their stadium and it was crazy. Lots of pushing, shoving, shouting and jumping. Neat to watch 76,000 people jumping up and down at the same time. Sat with some friends below the visitor section which was a mistake. We were constantly showered with water, beer, spit and other stuff. Boca won 2-1 and moved into a tie for first place at the time. After the game we (home fans) were locked in the stadium for 30 minutes to give the San Lorenzo fans time to get out and get to safety. Crazy.

Took a trip to Iguazu Falls which were amazing. There is a great panoramic shot on this page. The falls were running 5-7 times more than the usual flow of water because of all the rain, the water flowing over was simply unbelievable.

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It was a bit of a human circus at a couple of the overlooks. This was shot before it got crowded.
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Also some very colorful birds and animals in the park.
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Back in Buenos Aires I took in some more tango lessons and a dinner show with some friends. Lots of fun and amazing dancers. Truth be told I wouldn't know bad tango from good tango but I do know I had a great time.
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It was spring time in Buenos Aires. The flowers and trees were all starting to bloom. Great time to visit. The first time outside of visiting the Galapagos Islands that I was able to wear shorts and a t-shirt during my travels. I'm sure I was a sight wearing shorts, black socks and sandals. (just kidding)
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Visited the San Telmo street fair again.
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Walked through the Cementerio de la Recoleta in Buenos Aires. It was like a mini city with huge mausoleums sitting side by side on the "streets". Lots of famous Argentinian people are buried in this cemetery including Eva Peron. Did you get the Evita reference in the title? Don't Cry for Me Argentina. Here is Madonna singing the song.
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My last night in Buenos Aires and South America I was able to have dinner with my great friends Kim and Karen from the UK. We traveled together in Peru & Bolivia and spent four days together in a truck driving through the Salar de Uyuni. All of us had two pound steaks and lots of cerveza. It was a great way to end my travels.
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So I'm back in the USA and not sure what I will do next. In the coming weeks probably sort through some photos, play my guitar, drink some beer, tell some stories, laugh with friends/family and reflect on all the great memories of my travels. Then I'll either start looking for a job or..... just keep on traveling.

Here is my email address: tim.theis@yahoo.com. I don't have a working cell phone currently, something about me not paying the bill in eight months, go figure.

Thanks for everyones thoughts, prayers, emails and well wishes during my travels!

The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends --- Robert Earl Keen
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Posted by timtheis 06:58 Comments (2)

Buenos Aires

I´m down to my last few days in Argentina before I head back to the states. Finding time to update/upload pictures to my blog is getting harder and harder as my departure date gets closer and closer.

After Puerto Madryn and the whales I journeyed back to the lakes district. Stayed in El Bolson a couple of days at a nice ladies house I found through the tourist office. She was twice my age and had twice my energy. We bumped into each other at the local artisians fair and she took me by the hand and introduced me to all of her friends at the fair saying ¨This is Tim from the United States and he is staying at my house¨
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I then went back to Bariloche for a few more days since I really liked it the first time through. Ski season was over but there was still a few days of snowy weather. Rented a car with some friends and did a scenic drive through the mountains to San Martin de los Andes. Great scenery along the away.
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The last few days in Bariloche were spent doing for some fun hikes in the mountains with friends in the great weather.

I´m now in Buenos Aires, Argentina. An amazing city of 16 million people. A little bit of culture shock for me since I hadn´t been in a major city since La Paz, Bolivia over 10 weeks ago. It´s spring time in Buenos Aires the first city in my travels that I haven´t had to wear a jacket in four months. Had to break down and buy a pair of shorts it is so warm. Made me realize that I missed spring entirely this year during my travels and when I get back to the states it will be winter.

I´ve been exploring the city of Buenos Aires (BsAs for short). Walking through San Telmo and the surrounding neighborhoods is loads of fun. San Telmo has an amazing antique fair every Sunday. Many interesting things to look at and in the evening the plaza turns into a big dance floor with tango dancing under the stars. I took a tango lesson and managed not to crush my partners feet. Hopefully I´ll have time for some more lessons before I leave. Spent Halloween volunteering my time at a Halloween Party at an after school english program. Helped out with the halloween games and then had to speak about the Halloween traditions in the states. It´s not a big deal in South America so the kids were all curious what it was all about. I even helped judge the costume contest from the 75 kids. Felt a bit like Simon on American Idol, only I wasn´t as mean.

Off for a quick trip to Iguazu Falls and then back to BsAs for a few days before heading back to the USA.

Having trouble loading up my pictures of BsAs so you will have to follow this LINK to view.

If you need a smile on your face today, check out this video of Chase Hansen.

The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends
Tim

Posted by timtheis 05:31 Comments (3)

Patagonia

The region...not the clothing company!

My next stop was El Calafate, Argentina which is located in southern Patagonia. The landscape is extremely rugged and barren but beautiful with all the snow covered mountains as a backdrop. El Calafate is the kickoff point for visiting Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. The first thing I noticed from the bus window as we dropped down into El Calafate was all the glaciers floating in Lago Argentino. They looked like huge boats on the water.
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Took a tour to Perito Moreno Glacier. The glacier is advancing at the rate of 2 meters a day making all kinds of grinding, crashing, smashing noises. It is 3.5 miles across, 10 miles deep and 15 stories high. It is hard to take a picture that puts it all is perspective.
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Stood for three hours watching chunks the size of houses and city blocks fall off into the water. It was like waiting for water to boil, as soon as you looked away a chunk fell. By the time you hear the splash it is too late. Took a quick boat ride along the face of the glacier for some more photos.
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Visited another part of the park for a long day of hiking, 30 kilometers. Spectacular scenery all along the way and possibly the best hike I have ever done in terms of views. The clouds were moving in and out of the peaks throughout the day giving a mystical feel to the area. The water is so pure in the park you can just dip your bottle and drink directly from the creeks, no need to filter.

Fitz Roy
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Cerro Torre
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Next up for me was Ushuaia, Argentina. Ushuaia is on Tierra del Fuego and bills itself as the southernmost city in the world. ¨The End of the World as We Know¨ by REM kept running through my head the whole time I was in Ushuaia, driving me crazy!
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It has a beautiful harbor surrounded by mountains.
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A couple from Tierra del Fuego Nacional Parque.
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Had to get one of Flat Stanley at the end of the world since he started out with me at the Equator.
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Ruta 3, is a national highway that run north and south in Argentina ending in Ushuaia (obviously). I started my travels in Argentina at La Quinca 5,171 kilometers away. That´s 3,213 miles, further than New York to San Francisco. No wonder my ass is sore!
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I decided to fly from Ushuaia to Puerto Madryn. The four hour flight was only $100 USD more than the 32 hour bus ride, no brainer for me. Puerto Madryn is on the Atlantic coast of northern patagonia.
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It´s an ok town but everyone comes to see the right whales in the bay. This time of the year the whales give birth in the harbor. They then spend several weeks teaching their young how to swim, turn and manuever in the water. They mother swims in a big circle outside the baby nudging and demonstrating how to move. Pretty amazing stuff. The best thing is that you can see it all from the public pier because the whales are swimming right below you and around you.
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The Road Goes on Forever (or at least for 5,171 kilometers in Argentina)
Tim

Posted by timtheis 15:15 Comments (0)

Cruising through Chile

Four Days, Three Nights on a Ship

Finally catching up a bit on uploading some photos. I wanted to share some of the scenery around Bariloche, Argentina were I was last week.

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It was hard to leave Bariloche, but I headed out to Puerto Montt, Chile with a great group of five other travelers from my hostel. We stayed there a night and then took the ferry from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales. Spectacular scenery during the four days and three nights that we were on board the ferry. Just to clarify that this was a transport ferry not a luxury cruise. Cars, trucks, cargo, animals, etc were all loaded up on the deck. Small dorm style rooms with shared bathrooms but worth it for the scenery.

View of Puerto Montt as we were leaving.
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Raising anchor.
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We sailed through some very narrow openings in the fjords across some amazingly still water. The only rough patch of water was when we had to enter the open Pacific Ocean, which was rolling quite a bit. I managed to keep all my food down but others were not so lucky. Didn´t take pictures of that...
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We could go up and talk to the captain on the bridge anytime during the day which was really interesting. I learned lots about navigating, measuring distances, route finding, etc. Maybe I can get a job as a captain when I get back to the states.
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We stopped in the harbor of Puerto Eden for a couple of hours to off load some cargo and take on more passengers. This is one of the most remote spots in all of South America. Only 100 people live in the village and their only means of supply is from this ship when it stops once a week.
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The last morning on board we woke up a treat. It had snowed during the night. On the downside it was extremely cold and we had to watch our step on the decks since it was icy. We were all freezing but wanted to enjoy the great views. Some of my new friends...
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Our ship sailed through the narrow channel on the left. Only 50 ft of clearance on each side of the ship.
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Currently in Puerto Natales, Chile where I am enjoying a fast internet connection and hot coffee. Deciding on my next move. Interesting fact about Puerto Natales from a local paper, the town has a population of 115,000 people and a homeless dog population estimated at 20,000 dogs. They are everywhere!

Wanted to share this photo of Chase Hansen. Chase is the nine month old son of my great friends and neighbors in San Francisco, Bryan & Paula Hansen. Chase is wearing a Peru soccer jersey that I sent back to the states.
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The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends!!
Tim

Posted by timtheis 13:22 Comments (0)

Bariloche, Argentina

Like a little bit of Switzerland

Realized that I haven´t posted any updates lately to the blog, so this will be a catch up message.

I continued traveling south through Argentina. Visited Cordoba & Mendoza each for several days. Great cities with lots of nightlife and good food.

Decided to journey to San Carlos de Bariloche in Patagonia for some spring snow skiing, remember opposite seasons in the southern hemisphere. The journey to Bariloche is 20+ hours on a bus. I decided to break it up over a couple of days, at least that was the theory.

My first stop was going to be San Rafael four hours south of Mendoza. Got off the bus at 3pm, looked around town and decided to keep going. It was an ok town but I couldn´t see myself staying for a full day. Hauled my stuff back to the bus station and got a ticket on a night bus to Neuquen, 8 hours further down the road. Figured I would stay there for a night before continuing on.

I was still waking up when we pulled into the bus station around 6am. Got off, collected my stuff and watched the bus pull out. It was then I realized I was NOT in Neuquen. Oh crap!

Nothing was open yet in the bus station, but did find a janitor. He was somewhat amused when I asked what town I was currently in, Cipoliette about an hour from Neuquen. Double Crap!!

I´m getting pretty good at rolling with the changes while traveling, so I sat down on a bench to sort things out. About ten minutes later a bus pulled into the station. Guess where it was heading...Bariloche. I took that as a sign from my guardian traveling angel. Bought a ticket from the driver, tossed my stuff on board and headed out for another eight hour journey.

So 30 hours later, I finally made it to Bariloche. I was sure to ask what city is this before getting off. It took about 10 extra hours than a direct bus, although I does make for a better story than just spending 20 hours on a bus ride.

Bariloche is like a little bit of Switzerland crossed with Lake Tahoe, California. Lots of lakes everywhere. This is known as the Lake District of Patagonia for that reason. Great food, fun people and great chocolate shops (lots of them)! I may end up coming back from traveling heavier then when I left. Originally going to stay only four days but will end up staying at least ten days before moving on. Lots to see and do in this picturesque spot. Been spending my days hiking, snow skiing and relaxing. I even went mountain bike riding and managed to not fall off!

No pictures to post yet of Bariloche but I did upload some photos to my website under the Bolivia Gallery. You can click here to look:

Uyuni and Southwest Bolivia
Tupiza, Bolivia

Next up Puerto Montt, Chile and a ferry ride through the fjords to Puerto Natales.

The Road Goes on Forever......
Tim

Posted by timtheis 12:27 Comments (0)

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