Los Antiguos, Argentina
46° 32' S 71° 37' W
Jan 01, 2004 19:50
Distance 0km

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Los Antiquos (RN 40) (1 - 2 January 2004)

While Tanya had decided to take a day off and rest in Los Antiguos I decided to move as I wanted to move a bit up north faster. I still have a long way to go to Aruba and I was about to spend too much time in Patagonia. Distances are large and travel had been a bit slower than I thought, so accelerating a bit now would make me catch up with my schedule a bit. First I planned to leave El Chalten on December 31st but then they told me that there was no bus. They advertise that they travel on odd days and 31 is odd according to me. They told me they do not travel on the 31st of any month otherwise they would have two buses on to days in a row (31 and 1 are odd!). Well, they could have printed that in small print somewhere on their brochures, especially because there is no bank in El Chalten. I was lucky that some company wanted to change cash dollars for me, so I could afford to stay the extra day in El Chalten.

In Los Antiguos I had a similar problem as there is no ATM either! Again dollars were accepted here too, as is quite common in Argentina by the way, so I did not have a real problem. We had dinner in the hotel, another excellent and large piece of lamb from the oven with the ever present papas fritas and the simple salad. Desert was cherries for a change. The area is famous for its fresh fruits like cherries, strawberries, apples, pears and melons. The first two weeks of the new year is always the time of the Cherry Festival, so we were right on time.

After an excellent night of sleep in the quiet hotel where I shared a dormitory room with Tanya only (the rest of the place was empty), after the 14 hour Ruta 40 trip, I left the hotel at 10:00 and headed for the border, a kilometer away. I knew that the ferry that leaves from Chile Chico to Puerto Ingeniero Ibanez on the other side of the lake left at 8:00 am already and that next one would go on Sunday at 14:00 only! However I did not want to waste two days at the border there so I crossed it and hoped for transport towards Coyhaique, which was the next planned destination. How stupid to have a ferry leaving at 8:00 in the morning while the border, 3 km from the ferry pier also opens at 8:00 in the morning. You can never make this connection. And the only transport from the south of Patagonia arrives at 22:00 in Los Antiguos, at exactly the same time the border closes. These people never really think I guess.