Northward from Patagonia to Bariloche

Hola familia!

How´s it going? Sorry I have been sorta lax about staying in touch. Last couple of days have been a bit crazy. Anyhow, I´ll give you a quick recap below in the group stuff. So did you get my last postcard yet? I worked out my budget and it looks pretty good, not easy but totally doable, and today I got a bonus in the form of a bus ticket for $30 less than expected. So life is good, except this GI trouble I seem to be having…

So I´m on my way north. Getting back to Natales was a whirlwind of civilization, almost too much to take. I split pretty quick for the Torres, to spend a night with a few other NOLS students and the dad of one. We camped on the way to the Torres, ate tremendously, and thoroughly enjoyed our last night out in patagonia. Such a nice way to end my time there.

Mwonos 299
Mwonos 300

We got back to Natales from that little trip on the 16th in the afternoon and my groupmates promptly split, leaving me on my own once again. I bought a bus ticket to Rio Gallegos, Arg, which didn´t leave ´til Sunday. So I hung out on Saturday, rested, and organized….hardly leaving the Hostel Asturias. I am hurting pretty badly from some weird GI thing….nothing nasty, just feeling nauseas for the past two days. Most annoying. I got a chance to talk with the owner of the place. Asturias is not a place I would have stayed by choice….it was simply the hostel that NOLS housed us for a night on arrival in town, convenient for its proximity to the center of NOLS operations in town. It´s an unkempt little place, with beat old mattresses and dusty blankets, run by a sweet little old lady. I stayed there for the rest of my time in Natales, partly because it was cheap, and mostly because I didn´t feel like moving my bags. It ended up being pretty nice….the lady let me do my laundry in the bathtub, hang it to dry out back, store my bag there when I went to the Torres, and pretty much have run of the place. We were talking a bit last night about the weather…it got cold over the past few days. She commented that the winter would be bad, because the cold had come so early. She said that it was like that in 1933….and that winter was the worst winter she had ever seen. I was somewhat confused…she doesn´t look much over 60 years old. I suppose I looked puzzled; she looked out the window and said halfway proudly and halfway sentimentally, ¨Yo solamente falta un año hasta ochenta.¨ She is 79 years old. I was proud of the 72 days I spent afield in Patagonia….here was a soul who had passed that many years and then some in the same harsh land. Now that is something to be proud of.

I left this morning, catching the bus while the pack of town dogs howled in tune with the church bells. I´m in Rio Gallegos now, a dusty worthless little town on the Atlantic side of Argentina. My bus leaves in an hour and a half for Bariloche….a two day trip along the coast, stopping for a day in Comodoro Rivadavia. Oh the joys of traveling in Patagonia! Better though than the gravel and dust maelstrom that I braved from Bariloche to Chalten back in January, though….and SO much less expensive!

I guess my route goes through Bariloche to Buenos Aires, then on to Bolivia and then of course to Peru. I´ll keep you in on the day to day details and stories as they come.

Hasta unos dias,
Phil

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