This blog is posted when we travel overseas taking a break from our Fulltime RV Life.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Glacier Up Close and Personal - November 9, 2016

The US election is a world event. Best I can recall we are in Santa Cruz, which is the equivalent of a US state. The are very few towns of any size, all the largest being under 25,000 in population. At least that is what I think our guide said. Suffice it to say that if the election is front page news here, it is the same everywhere. The influence the US exerts on the world is a thing to behold.

We have seen so many rainbows here, it is like a year's supply in a few weeks. With rain one minute and sun the next, they are a regular occurrance. Throw in the wind which is also blowing the clouds around, sometimes at a furious pace, and you find yourself looking up as much as out. We had no real comprehension of how beautiful Patagonia was before arrived.

Today we were visiting Perito Moreno glacier. You know how it is that when you catch that first glimpse of a natural wonder, everyone stops and takes a photo? Here's Linda's contribution.

You know how everyone wants a photo of themselves with that wonder in the background? Here is my contribution.

The front of the glacier is 5 km wide. What makes it unique is that is is not shrinking like other glaciers worldwide. It moves forward forming a natural dam, and the water on one side rises some 90 feet over four years due the ice melting, then the dam collapses, the rushes into the far larger Lake Argentina raising it's level nine feet and the process starts over again. The last collapse was in March of this year, so the ice dam was still forming. There are catwalks on the mountainside across from the glacier, located just 900 feet from its face. As they say, there is nothing else like it in the world. The ice field behind this glacier is massive, making its own weather, so no sunny skies here today, just cold rain.

The intensity of the blue color is amazing. We have seen quite a few of these large glaciers over the years, and it is a sight we will never get used to. The shear massive size of these objects is mind boggling.

View of the far left side of the glacier. Understand, it towers 180 feet above the water though it doesn't look like it does from this distance.

A group of people out on the leftmost section of ice in the previous photo. It is impossible to image the ice sheets of the last ice age towering 5 miles high with a front that extended for thousands of miles. All of Patagonia is covered with rocky gravel with just a few inches of soil on top. The precipitation falls in the Andes, mostly as snow. We are staying in the town of Calafate which is in the rain shadow of the Andes. Annual rainfall here is 4 inches. All their water is provided by the lakes formed by the melting glaciers. There is more fresh water in this area than any other area on earth besides the Antarctic and Great Lakes.

As you might suspect, we took hundreds of photos of the glacier. The best way to appreciate it's beauty is to see it yourself, if at all possible. We also took a boat ride which brought us near the glacier, 900 feet is the limit, and it was amazing to see the blue color of the glacier change as the light changed.

Linda's favorite photo.

During the drive back to the hotel Linda took this photo of a house. It could easily have been taken in the US and you wouldn't know the difference. People around the world are different yet the same.

When leaving the museum a horse walked right up to us. Turns out visitors sometimes give it a treat and it was checking our group out to see if we had any.

Sign on the women's restroom door at the museum. I know we have seen this same image in other parts of the world during our travels.

Dinner. A salad for Linda. A huge platter of lamb for me. A plate of sweet potato fries for both of us. We passed the fries around and a number of people at our table got their first taste of the fries we love. Not that the regular fries here are bad, of course most anything would be better than what usually passes for fries in the US. A couple of people in the group ordered fries most every meal. The regular fries here are also awesome. I guess with some 200 varieties of potatoes to choose from they know the ones that make perfect crispy on the outside, soft and delicious on the inside fries. Plus they are never greasy. Just another of the many reasons to travel.

Our tour member Joe is legend among his fellow travellers. There are patient beggars all around, and Joe has a handout for them all. They will very gently take whatever is offered them, no grabbing or gobbling ever. It is one of those, you have to see it to believe it things.

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