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Nick and Laina's Adventures

Dust, Wind and The Atlantic

ARGENTINA | Monday, 12 January 2009 | Views [1095] | Comments [9]

Our last few hours in Buenos Aires we walked around looking for some last minute things, ( a maté kit, train tickets) when we realized our train will not be working until february 6th! Bummer! So our plan to take the train from Las Grutas to Bariloche failed! Anyways, we already have the tickets to Las Grutas and when we get there we´ll figure out the rest of the journey. We got a nice maté gourd with leather from a native pig like animal, the woman who sold it to us told us how to “cure” the gourd so that we could enjoy maté soon. We bought some “super panchos” a foot long hot dog, for a snack, and heade to the bus station.


Right now Laina, Cory and I, have spent the last 3 days in Buenos Aires, practicing spanish, traveling around the city, seeing music, and meeting people. We deemed it time to head down south, to patagonia, and away from the big city.


Getting on the bus, I could tell immediately that it would be a better company then our previous one we took to get to rosario! We were served a large dinner, with meat, rice, potatoes and soda, and then got to match about 17 minutes of the movie, “The Rock”. When it started, it had a skip, and skipped about 30 minutes later into the movie, where all the carácter were already established, and then it skipped again, this time 30 more minutes, to the end of the movie, at the final fight scene, and then skipped again and was over. I was wondering what the other people in the bus thought, since the movie was in english, and it was missing 75% of its content. Eh, they probably were not even watching it anyway.


I took a short nap, since it was a night bus, but i was very excited, we are going to patagonia! Finally! I woke up with the sunlight, and looked out the window most of the way to our destination. Northern Patagonia is very much a open desert. You can see for miles in every direction, with only small hills and rises to obstruct your view. Every now and then I saw a lonely steer eating grass by itself. Gauchos, the term used for the argentine cowboys used to roam these plains much in the same way our cowboys did in the early 1800s. Since the Patagonia is so large, and relatively covered in plant life, it seems that this would be a great place to grow huge numbers of cattle. Gauchos used to live off the land down here, and they would be able to eat whatever beef they wanted, and keep the cattle under control. In the later parto f the century the Argentine government made these gauchos join the military, or obtain work permits, making their way of life much more difficult. Looking around this area, I am trying to imagine the life of the Gaucho.


Laina slept pretty much until we got to Las Grutas, she woke with breakfast, and Cory looked like a giant mat of red hair definately still asleep, I wonder if he got breakfast.. Arriving into Las Grutas, we felt like we were walking into a old western town with a meditteranean coastal feel (if you can picture that). The wind was up, and so was the dust. My eyes quickly got sand in them. We walked around for a little while, and made our way to the ocean! The atlantic! I was missing the ocean and was happy to be back. It was sunny and the water looked warm (Las Grutas is famous for its warm water, due to a very shallow bay) and we hended to find a place to stay. Las Grutas also has awesome sea cliffs, with interesting relief looking down the coast. We got some good photos, I hope to upload them soon.


I found a little niche in the sea cliff that couldn´t be seen by the road and I stached our stuff, and waited there, while cory and laina went to find a place to stay. The first two camping places we expected to work did not have room! So I knit my hat, I am now starting to close the top and finísh the hat. I had a great view of the ocean. Las Grutas has a real awesome landscape. I waited about 45 minutes, and Laina and Cory came back, they found camping for 15 pesos per person, just around the corner!


We camped in a pretty family friendly location, there is a huge glassed in building, to prevent the wind and dust, and incide there is a big kitchen, a huge asado barbeque, and two links, as well as 10 long tables with benches. We ate some pasta for lunch, and headed to the beach. Did I mention it is windy? Very windy? Because it is very windy! and the wind has lots of dust. The beach should have some relief because of the sea cliffs. Once we got to the wate rwe realizad the water had moved back about 100m, or 300 ft.! WOW, big tides here, we probable should have expected that. We found a nice spot, and got in the water. It was about 8 degrees colder then Hawaii, about 3 warmer then cape cod, and similar to the water in lake cascade in late june.


On the beach, there are many people, it is packed. Many beach umbrellas and people walking around selling Helado, or ice cream. We swam a little, then dried off very quickly from the wind, (its not as dusty down here) and headed to check out the tide pools.


Later we went to town, and got some lunch, cervesa, and sándwiches, Then we went to the grocery store to buy food for dinner. We got chorizo, hamburgers, tomato and lettuce. Mmm… We headed back to the campground, which is quite a walk, and on the way we noticed how many parrots there were here! The parrots here are beautiful. The fly in groups of 5,6 or 7 and squawk like maniac parrots. They are a dark blue with a dark read back, and a yellow/greenish patch on their lower belly. I like them alot.


Back at the campground, we went in the tent and saw everything in the tent was covered in a ½cm  layer of dust.! I thought it was funny! Then we went to the kitchen, which was packed with familias and tried to make our dinner there wer so many people, and kids pounding the tables and playing tag, it was pandemonium. Also I forgot to say, Las Grutas is not a destination for international travelers. It is a big destination for Argentina tourists. That being said, most people do not speak english. Also in the big kitchen, we are the only people here who are not from argentina, so i think alot of people look at us funny.


We met one argentine guy who spoke fluent english, and he was aloto fun. He first asked us, “Why Las Grutas? Not many foreigners come here. It is almost all Argentine tourists.” We told him that a friend recommended to come here, and that is why we were here. He helped us cook, and later he taught us a fun card game, Truccha, with spanish cards, which we now have a deck of. A little later we headed to sleep.


So where to next?, was the question of the day. We thought about hitching out of Las Grutas, but we decided to take a bus straight to Ushuaia!, we will go to Bariloche later! So we will not be out of communication, and we will be in Tierra Del Fuego!!




Allow me to be the first of the famly to post a "welcome to Patagonia" Exactly what is the difference between Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego? Glad to read you will still be able to communicate with us all. How far north of the bottom of SA are you?I wish this map were a little larger but the dtail is much better than my globe. Do you have any more couch surfers to meet up with? Love ya! Dad

  jim dunn Jan 12, 2009 9:05 AM


Wow! Next, you'll be writing about penguins! I can't wait! People who you will never meet again, but will never forget. That's so great. I have been spreading the word - both in person, in emails and on facebook! Bummer about the train! So, how will that effect you and when? How about writing about your itinerary so everyone will know what to expect? How'd you find a place to post your blog? Do you go to internet cafes or libraries? Thanks for keeping it all together! Love you all! Mommy

  Mommy Jan 12, 2009 11:09 AM


It seems like a big trip to Ushuaia...how long is that ?
There doesn't seem to be a lot between you and there except for Rio Gallegos.. Are you stopping there ?
We are COLD, very COLD, and it will continue to be COLD here in CT. We miss you.
Love, Holly

  holly Jan 12, 2009 11:20 AM


I so enjoy your writing and stories...I go back and read the old ones all the time. What kind of a bus has food? What about the bus that doesn't go until the 6th? I'm confused about that one....continue to enjoy and experience the world...make Cory wake up for meals:-) Lots of Love, Julie

  Pirate mommy Jan 12, 2009 12:21 PM


Holas Chicos!
It's so fun to check in and see what you all are up to. Sounds like the days are busy and the senses sated! Ry's skiing today, Sean back at Santa Cruz, Brett riding his longboard and Michael swinging golf balls into the back of Eric's truck. Our garden is great; I pulled some carrots and onions for a beef stew...cooked with brandy and a bottle of red wine. How bad can it be?!!!
We love you very, very much and are so glad that you make the time to write.
As Ever,
Tu Prima-in-law

  Molly Jan 12, 2009 12:49 PM


Holas Chicos!
It's so fun to check in and see what you all are up to. Sounds like the days are busy and the senses sated! Ry's skiing today, Sean back at Santa Cruz, Brett riding his longboard and Michael swinging golf balls into the back of Eric's truck. Our garden is great; I pulled some carrots and onions for a beef stew...cooked with brandy and a bottle of red wine. How bad can it be?!!!
We love you very, very much and are so glad that you make the time to write.
As Ever,
Tu Prima-in-law

  Molly Jan 12, 2009 12:50 PM


Cool, it will be once you get to ushuaia, it might be mid seventies where you are now, but it will barely hit forty when you get there, It seems the distance is about 994 miles.

Las Grutas means the caves, have you seen any.
Be safe, dress warm,
Daddy Peter

  Daddy Peter Jan 13, 2009 4:29 AM


On my side of the world things are doing ok...I am about 1/2 through my year end stuff so am now getting ready to plan some travel..any ideas ..I am pretty flexible..Peru , Ecuador?

  jim dunn Jan 13, 2009 2:45 PM


Hi you darling couple,

I love reading about your adventures,but have not read them for over a week. We met susan, terry, pat and richard in brookings and spent last week in a terrific rented house right on the edge of the beach. Very cozy and fun with lots of sharing deep, football, ping pong, gin rummy and walks. we also found a great coffee house with the best blueberry muffins I have ever had.
We have always thought that patagonia would be a great place to visit. I think they have good fly fishing. It was very cold here last week and now it is setting records for heat. It has been in the 70's!!
This morning there were 4 wild turkeys in our back yard!!.

Keep writing and keep safe.

Love, Aunt Mary

  aunt mary--pleasanton Jan 14, 2009 2:05 PM

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