Monday, December 31, 2012

Back into Argentina , good times

while reading this 

I left Fulafiulu early and made it to the border before anyone else , they were just opening so i was stamped out of Chile in next to no time at all and was first at the Argentina border as it was only 400 metres down the road . Gee whizz i must look like criminal !!. Two bus loads pf people had gone through by the time they had finished with me . every single item of equipment i had was scanned , checked and x-rayed . finally after all that the pram was frisked and panted down as well .  I did not mind as the guy could speak English and i was quite enjoying his tactic of casual conversation to see what he cold find out. ..." so south Africa is your home then , and you gong back to your wife when ? " etc etc .
I left the border in good spirits as they were just doing there job and came across two gauchos on horse back who had a good laugh at me and my pram before trotting off .

first people i met after crossing back in Argentina

 I made it 46 km to Trevilin which i had been looking forward too and found a camping spot but it turn out to for exclusive use of the police department so i moved on , i bought new fuel  for my cooker as i was running out .  next day set off early for esquel  which was only 22 km down the round so go into town nice and early and was able to do a big shop at the supermarket . after which i pushed on until i had passed the 42 km mark for the day . I a saw a farm with what looked like an empty cottage and decided it looked like a good spot for the night . I head up the drive but saw a big farm house in the trees and decided to ask permission rather than take a chance . I went up to the house and just as i was about to call out a giant German Shepard came charging round the corner in full attack mode , i nearly wet my self i got such a fright . luckily Hector the farmer appeared in the nick of time and called the dog off . after long discussion in hand sign language  he was happy that i use the cottage .
Hector the farm owner where the empty cottage was and his savage beast
 It was and awesome little place and i was able to dry all my clothes inside as well as make a crazy big fire in the fire place and cook up a storm
my cottage for the night
a good fire to add some cheer
 Next day was Christmas eve and i anticipated camping in the middle of nowhere .  I got going and just kept on going ,  after about 50 km a bus over took me and then pulled over , i had never had a bus stop before so was intrigued by this turn of events .  A couple of people piled out and came to me only to look fairly disappointed when i explained i had zero Spanish ( yes , i now realise that i should have learned a bit , silly me ). Turns out it was a Argentine family on a " 80 months around the world tour " . the father could speak some English and i was invited in for coffee , i spent about an hour with them drinking coffee  and swapping photo stories and pictures

the around the world in 80 months family bus
Eventually i pushed on an they departed  about 13 km further up the road i had a choice . there were two farms , a tiny little one on the left and a big fancy one on the right further down the road ,  I chose the small one and went and asked if i could camp . The lady , Rosa , indicated i could setup where ever i wanted and then i should come a drink  ´ Mate ´ with her . Mate is a traditional tea like drink that everybody in Argentina drinks  ´ . i don't really like it so  i took my own tea bag along . By that time her husband Martien and son Hose( visiting for the holidays) had shown up .  we drank tea and Mate and ate plenty or Torta Fritas .  I then settled into my tent , drank some wine for Xmas eve . Happy Xmas . darn bump in the ground did not help my quest to sleep .
Hose, Martien , Rosa and I , they let me camp on there small holding on Christmas eve 
After leaving i headed for the next town which which was  El Hoyo and it was pretty far about 55 km .
the scenery changed quite dramatically from Rosa,,s arid farm to a forest like area , very reminiscent of Knysna area  and the road became very busy .  As  i got to El hoyo , i spotted neat little house that looked empty .. lol . i was not . so  i camped further down the road .

Nearly forgot my Xmas eve photo , enjoyed my  Racefood treat.

sunset and Racefood  on Christmas eve

no luck for me its not empty 
Next day i pushed on to El bolson  which was only  30 km so it was a great short day . 
When  I was leaving Hector ( the man with the dog ,i had seen a sign the said " camping El Bolson 137 km " , this sign had repeated itself a few times at " camping 65 km , camping 34 km , camping 16 km and camping 2 km " . In El bolson there are hundreds of hostels and camping grounds but decided to honor the advertising sign that i had been following and fount the sign that said  " Camping 0 km " . On enquiry it turned out they were more expensive than most of the others .  I had taken Photos of the signs i had been following and called for the manager and explained how i had been following his sign and could easily move to the cheaper ground but had come here because of the effort he had made with his signs so i wanted a discount . . The photos i had taken worked like a charm and i was given a discount and sworn to silence .

I did all my laundry , ok , i used dish washing liquid but it seemed to work and everything had a nice lemon smell afterwards . I then got my new frying pan and fried up some snitchels( not even a clue how to spell it ) and burgers
my gourmet frying pan 

perfecto !!
 i then made the final push onto Bariloche ,it was 127 km and i can do this in 3 days easily and be there for new year . yeah sure ! When I  got to 40 km i started having ideas of an extra rest day and figured if i could get  60 done today then i was in with a shot to get to Bariloche in two days . After 54 km i entered a massive uphill climb but had the company of a really slow cyclist for quite a while before he took of on a little down hill section . At the top of the pass ( 62 km for the day ) I stooped at the national parks guard hut and asked to camp .  NO ! i explained that i was on foot and the guy softened his approach and let me camp .I
 It got really cold in the night, really really cold , I should never have thrown away my blanket but it was taking to much space . When i exited the tent the next morning it was completely cover in a thick layer of ice ( frost ) . it was solid enough that when i undid the clips for the tent it remained stand for a while before collapsing when i gave it a poke .

The road to Bariloche was stunning
On the road before Bariloche

stunning run into the area around Bariloche

 25 km before Bariloche  i stopped at a petrol station and filled my water and bought some chips as i had not eaten . I was approached by a young couple , Malcolm and Sharmilla , who had a lot of questions and were very interested in what i was p too .
Sharmillas dad bought me a 2.5 litre coke and a 1 litre orange juice so i was stocked up on sugar, thanks guys
Malcolm , Sharmilla , omar and claudia 
I arrived in Bariloche and  went to the Columbia store as i had to meet a news paper guys there as well as sort out my Gloves and my socks and sleeping bag .They were great , the manager Annali was so helpful and here staff were very entertaining  . i sorted out everything i needed .

Getting a new sleeping ag and sock and gloves at the Scandanavain Outdoor store 
 Later i went with David  , Ivan , Sam and Ezekiel to the YWAM base where Rob from Ushuaia had organised that i cold stay . the fed me and fed me and fed me , it was wonderful , Patricia the leader was very helpful and we ended p with great big super
My hosts at YWAM in Bariloche

After Ywam , I head 20 km further down the lake to the petunia camp ground where i was greeted by Nahuel , Bruno , Pedro and Sofia .  My friends in Buenos Aries , Martin and Caro had organised this for me . I was given a bed in the hostel , Its awesome and soft and comfy .  I stayed up quite late and was invited for Pizza with Bruno , Sofia , nahuel and some other guests .
I learned all about Mate drinking etiquette . here are the rule i remember 
Only one person pours the water, 
The Mate cup and straw must always be returned to the pourer person , no one else .
You must finish the cup when it is handed to you 
You must not say thank you as this means don't want any more 
If you are the person who finishes the water then it means you will be the next to get married 
If the straw gets blocked while you have it it means your partner is cheating on you .
there were more rules but that's all i remember cause i changed to Beer
Sofia , Nahuel,me and Bruno 


Friday, December 21, 2012

where have i been

Well youmay well ask where have i been . i have benn looking for an internet connection since i crossed back into Chile and now i have managed to fiond one on the day before i exit Chile .

Well  i left perieto merino after a fairly uneventful rest daty and headed for the border .  on th emorniog before crossing into Chile I was a bit nervous due to th eincident with the rodeo and stopped fopr coffee at los antigues before crossing . i found onlñy one shop open as it was early and it wa smanaged by a dutch girl , kerry , who spoke english . we chatted for a while and she gave me tea on the house. She told me she had friends across the border who were south african who had a smallholding. she explained how to get there .

After crossing  i made my way to the small holding but it was all locked up s o i went in search of there house in town which was alos locked up . i decided he would not mind so i went back to th esmall holding and climbed the fence and setup up camp in his work shop . i was a bit bored so i decided to tidy thework shop before settling in for the night . i awoke at 5 am the next morning and realised that while i was cleaning up all th eenvelopes and boxes had been addressed to a Javier Esponaosa AND NOT to Nick .....
i think i may have been camping on the incorredt cfarm so i disappeared rather quickly . .

In town I joined and irish austalian and his Chilean girlfriend for coffe and spent the day with them in the park while i waited for the ferry
rory , carlapaz and i 
Well rory has been around the block once or twice and kept me entertained with boxing and mma stories alll day . Carlapaz was helpful and kind in getting me a chille simm card and getting iot activated .

Caught the ferry across the lake and headed out of town and danel was kind enoughto left me set up camp in the town water work s.
danaiel and family at water works

the next two days was abasutely awesome ,. i camped alone on the banks of the rio blanco river , ran through scenery that was spectacular, was takeneto the cleaners by a sweet old lady at a coffee shop .
i asked for coffee and had some soup  and the next thing i was paying 900 peso to the smiling Flor´s

flor´s and i

I was laosnot the slowest on th eroad for achange

the next day i was 19 km before Coyhaique and decided to stop and call it a day so i knocked on the door of a house and was expecting rejection when a lady answered but she said that i could camp and the her husband loved rugby and the spingboks and he would be home later so we could throw the ball around and have some shooters .

I setup under there carport and when Gerado arrived we did not play rugby , he was as big as kobus wiesse, so i helped him asemble the new furniture he had bought ,
We ate and drank and spoke of rugby and fishing , all three of us armed with our cell phones in translator mode . I really should have learned spanish . i really should have learned a tiny bit .

gerardo , patricia and I ,- the best kind of people  people 
TI bought a rod the next day in Coyhiague and  found my self an abandoned house on the far side of town in the woods where i barricaded myself in ofr the night .

next day at the first oppotunity i tried my hand at living off the land and fishing . GREAT SUCCESS after just a few castxs

Trout for lunch 

then i spent time cooking it in the forest
 and just enjoying myself

I pushed on and i was a quite and empty day with thexception of a lone cyclist who i met on the road
He had travelled from brazil and seemed to know his way aroundthe woods . inever got his name .

As evening approached i made it to theturning and found and old fellow Oscar fixing his fence in therain .
I ask in my best spanish if i could camp and he mumbled sometihng and gestured for me to follw him .which i did .
Oscar and i 
he gave me soup amd we shared my vienans and  rools and i was set for a good evening . he went to of to carry on with his fence .
latter when he came back in i noticed that he was getting edgey and after a lot of gesturing and expalining i realised that he was just a caretaker or worker and he was not goingto stay ta the house .

I felt bad as he got quite animated and i copuld see he felt bad too .

it was akward to say the least .

I eventually eneded up in another abadoned house .

myh internet time is up .....sorry .....more pics below

down by the river 

American cyclsits who spend a good time chatting with me 

The south african family that stopped to say hi and turn out there company euroberry supplies Wedgewood with Cranberries  . michelle , vivian , mark , nic and i , matthew was teh photographer

enchanted forest 

enchanted forest 

enchanted forest 

emily . french guy and me

pensive days

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

People , places and chris rhea

Chis Rhea´s road ?

Set off from gregores nce and early suffering no side effects from my wine part the day before .
the day went fairly well and after about 50 km of steady going on some tough surfaces i came across an estancia called la luche .

i headed down the steep entrabce road and walk around the premise .calling out ´Ola , Ola ¨´ as i went . i saw abore collie so i thought some one had to b around but it was about 2 pm so maybe they were sleeping .
my new pram
I was about to sit undr a tree and wait when a Gaucho appeared with his massive grey horse and his dog . He looked suprised to see me . I asked if i could camp ´estoy bescando permisso campernaro ´ and he indoicated that i could . i followed him for a while and pointed out a spot where i would pitch my tent . as soon as i was a about to pitach the tent he started talking spanish and gesturing and metioned ´casa ´. i assumed he meant his house so nodded enthusuastically and he led me to an outside  room just off his kitchen . he showed tht i could use the kitchen if i liked.
me and Hose
His name was Hose´ , i settled and and Hoe indocated that i coul dhave food with him .
he made a reall big effort for his vistor , we had shreddded carrots and sliced onions all soaked in a vinniger garlic sauce and then he produce what looked liek half a sheep .

He also produce his leather wine sack and affered it to me . Hose and i drank and ate while both jabbering away in our own language . we did a lot of laughing . Hose was awesome .

next day ,  at first  i made it 40 km to  la silvina estancia and confidently approach the old fellow i found in the wood shed and ask if a i could camp an was solidy told  in no uncertin term .NO . 15 km wa sthe next place and the wind was howling , head down mumbling to my slef all the way i made it  . It  was a roaders depot  clled tamel aike .where i was shown that i could camp in a shed outside , alothough it was warm and cosy , the old oil smell was quite overpowering and when i lit my cooker i expected to blow myself and the shed to smitherines .  i slept like a log that night and once agin set off earlñy the follwing day .

following dy it seemed like i was destined to do 50 km a day fr ow as the next place  knew of was estancia La delfin , it was a quite day on the roads , ithink itsthe week end but i am not sure , who cares

When i eventulay got to where La Delfin was supposed o be there was nothing but what looked like and an abandoned quarry . I widened the hole in the fence ( i am gettig good at this ....hehe) and went in search f a sheltered spot . th ewind kept lifting the ne wheel of my pram off the ground .

I saw a building inthe corner and knew that was my spot . I was amazed when i approached and a dog dashed out and barked , teh door opened and and oldish guy ( like me ) opened the door and gestured that i comein out of the wind .
Garcia was teh secuity gaurd and h said i could sleep on the floor of the security hut but his replacement was coming at 5 pm .
We chatted quite a bit and had some food ,
I also chatted quite  lot with Garcia replacement pedro .
Pedro kept insisteng on showing my his arm muscles and telling me how he was gymming with bricks and machine parts  while at work  .
oth Garcia and pedro could not gethe the concept that i could not understand spanish .
They seemd to think i was deaf or stupid .
After saying something to me in spanish and then observeing no reacion from me expect a shug they would then repeat whatthey had said but really loudly and whe that failed the would repat it louder and also say it sylabe by sylable keenly studying me for a reaction , it was quite funny to watch and frustrating for both partyies .

next stor was the Rio Olnie Hotel .
I was relieved when i arrived becuas eth ewind got so wild at on epoint it blew my pram right over and all my shit was scttered across the road blowing around .
 It was close and anbandoned for yerds it seems.
I studied allthe pad locked dorrs until i found what i was looking for .
I have come to learn that everythong is padlocked but there is alway a chain with a snap link or pice of wire that bypasses the padlock .... ola ,, i was in .
I was amess but i found one room that was fairl y clean and i also found and empty 25 litre drum and a tap that worked ..yay , i can wash .

I washed some things and myself and set up a nice littl ecampsite in side the room .
I explored the hotel

before going to sleep in my paraniod Ric fashion i setup numerous traps though outhe hotel with bottle son doors , pices of wire , balancing wood etc that would alert me if any on else showed up ..

greap sleep  .

on to Bajo caracoles . no wind , 33 km . over and done before the sleep was out of my eyes .

as i entered town the local police man came flying out f his  police station and asked wheri was going , i said camping and he immediaty escourted me to the camping ground . 20 pesos , in his bck garden .

His house doubles as the local camping gound an hostel

I met 3 great peopel from Begium there , Thibault , emily and Alec and they agrreed that the follwong day we could go in there car to the ´Cueva de ls handos ´. the caves of the hnd s. we would have to do it early a s i neede d to run and they needed to get to el chalten .
Alec is a muscian who hithced alift with Emily and Thibault and they are on a 1 year tour of south america .
Thibault is definitely a lets do it kind of person rather than a why w shouldn´t type . . they were good fun .
 I eneded up sleeping on the floor f the restuarnt with them rther than in my tent 
Thibault , Emily , me and Alec

We drove there the next day lsiten to Chrs Rhea´s Road to to hell and i explained to them that he must have bee talking about route 40 as it had been my road to hell.

The caves were amazing only and the company was great .

Cueva de las handos

I set off after llucnh t try and put as many km as i could uncer my belt . th ewind came up but for a change it was behind me so i just kep going and hgoing angçd going for 9 hours until i only had a short day left to Perito mreno .

Pleasase remeber to have a look at and think about making a donation or pledge to the ithembaletu home or the ethembeni school .