The glacier looked like an army. An army of ready and willing ice soldiers all standing at attention and ready for battle. Indeed, they were (and are marching). The El Calafate Glacier is advancing at about 3 meters a day. The ice stretches back as far as you can see, up the hill, into the mountain and into the clouds. The incredible weight of all the snow falling in the mountains piles and compacts, forming an unstoppable mass of jagged and cold energy.
As I stared in awe, the glacier rumbled and cracked – somewhere in the distance, out of sight, a huge tower of ice fell. Although I couldn’t notice, the glacier had inched forward. Roland and I had just gotten off the tour boat which takes you very close to the glacier to see it from the water level (we saw several of the towers fall into the water right in front of us), and went to the terraces to watch the glacier from a little higher up. It was very, very impressive. Roland and I wandered around for a while, ate lunch, chatted with some girls from Buenos Aires (who were nearly as impressive as the glacier, I might add) and eventually wandered back to the tour bus to go back to the main part of town. I got the incredible opportunity to sit next to a stinky French guy on the way back and I think I blacked out a few times (so I was back before I knew it).
We got some coffee with some German guys we met, chatted and then headed back to our trashy hostel. Right now it is vacation season for Argentinians and we couldn’t find a decent place so we ended up staying in this bar/hostel (although I didn’t ask if I could get a discount if we paid by the hour – as I’m sure we could have). We had walked into several places that were booked full and suddenly, $15 pesos didn’t seem so bad ($5 a night, which is a little high, but oh well) – except for the toilet that would spray water out two feet in front of it when you flushed (Everyone got sprayed at least once). We spent our days in El Calafate playing chess, shopping for stuff (I got all the stuff to drink Mate, which is an Argentinian herb that you have to drink in a special way), and eating. Several times for dinner, we went to an all you can eat buffet for $15 pesos (so yeah, you could get your money’s worth after a slice of pizza) and it was a pretty cool place. The first night, the power went out in the middle of dinner and everyone started clapping and singing to get the owners to bring out candles.
Roland cleaned out the clothes from his backpack and sold them to the owner for three nights of lodging. The owner only wanted two shirts for two nights and when Roland tried to talk him into another night, the owner pointed at the sweater he was wearing, so he took it off and gave it to him. It was pretty funny. He had to get rid of stuff so that he wasn’t over the weight limit when he flew to Ushuaia, then Buenos Aires, then back home to Switzerland.
We ended up playing one more game of chess after that over dinner (we ended up meeting two Israelis and chatting with them while we played) and the game lasted close to three hours. I am getting better, but I still haven’t been able to beat him. No worries – I found a website online where we can play from a distance. I will win. I will.
So anyways, I hopped on a plane yesterday and am now in Bariloche. It is a nice kickback place and my feet and knee are slowly recovering. I’m a little tired (exhausted) from the past few months of running from place to place so I may stay here for a few days and do nothing. It will be nice.
Although…I may have to cancel that very important business meeting my secretary lined up for me tomorrow morning…Oh no, wait – I don’t have a job. Or a secretary.