This blog is posted mostly everyday when we take a break from our usual retired Life as former full-time RVer's and travel overseas.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Long Travel Day - November 8, 2016

The wind was blowing stronger this morning than the the previous two mornings. The photo is the water on the lake in front of the hotel being picked up by the wind. There is wind and then there is wind. I guess it one of those Crocodile Dundee things.

This the ninth tour we have taken over the years and it seems the tour guides just keep getting better and better. We both agree the OAT tour guides are definitely superior to the Rick Steves guides and most of the OAT local/city guides are also better. The reason to downgrade several of them is due to their strong accent, not their knowledge or personality. Annie has gone above and beyond in so many ways this trip that she is far above any other guide we have ever had. Disclaimer: the above is the honest opinion of the writer of this blog and no remuneration or goods and services in kind was received for the foregoing. Blogger Bob.

We are leaving Chile today and crossing into Argentina. The drive was long, the scenery filled with awesome vistas and interesting experiences. The Chilean border officials were still on strike, but open for just one hour three different times during the day, so we left our hotel 30 minutes earlier than planned to be first inline at the border when it opened at noon. We were first and we had to feel sorry for the buses lined up behind us. OAT runs so many tours they know exactly what is happening and when, in these cases.

The photo is Linda drying her hands after using the restroom at our stop before the border. No paper towels in the restrooms, so you just hold your hands over one of the wood stoves they use for heat in this shop/restaurant. Everywhere in Chile we have experienced the coziness and warmth of wood heat. It makes for unexpected and pleasant memories.

Linda may miss the sign when we cross state lines in the US, but she definitely took a photo of the Argentina sign. Good Linda.

I was the last person in the group to have my passport stamped. The bus was already crossing through the control point at the border, so I had the distinction of walking across the border. Guess you could say I hitched a ride on the bus in Argentina. Even better, linda documented it. Almost Left Behind Bob.

The wind blows just as ferociously in the Argentine Patagonia as it did in its Chilean counterpart. They need some serious sandbags to hold things in place during roadwork. I missed getting a photo of the porta potty that was staked down. One of the fascinating things is to watch the dust the bus stirs up blow past the bus and form a cloud in front of it. Now, that's windy weather.

Not all shrines are to saints. This one was originated by a OAT tour guide, and every group stops here, in about as close to the middle of nowhere as one can get in this area. Annie participated in the symbolic anointing with beer as photos were taken. Sometimes we don't need to be to serious about things, Life is short, enjoy it.

All our reading and studying before this trip aside, the only way to really understand Patagonia is to experience it. We have our photos, but far better, we have our memories.

Take away the mountains that are often in the distance and it is somewhat like west Texas, but with different flora and fauna. Indeed, the plants and animals of the region are far closer related to those in Africa and New Zealand than to those in North America. The reason is South America has only been connected to North America for the past one million years, far, far shorter than it was part of Africa.

Many hours on the bus, but the views make the time fly by.

Ravioli with pumpkin filling topped by lamb ragout. I will sure miss the food down here, though Linda would likely say I have consumed my entire next year's quota of lamb already. Unfortunately for her, lamb finds my stomach to be a bottomless pit. I don't understand her love of turnips, definitely not on my list of life's necessities. She doesn't get my lamb cumplusion. Just think, together we could lick the plate clean. Why do I think her comment to that would be "In your dreams Bob, in your dreams."

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