Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On the long run down to the end of the world - Usuhaia

Leaving from Puerto Madryn was bit hastle and complicated,as I was staying at the family of Miguel and they somehow forgot to warn me that there will come the cleaning lady,as she wasnt warned as well,that I am in the house and she moved my things all around the place,so I was kind of playing hide and seek with different kind of stuff I had out of my backpack at the time she arrived and I wasnt in.
Typical sight on countryside in Patagonia
The things I lost and havent found I had to buy again in Usuhaia :(Pity or maybe,thats the destiny,anyway :)) Nothing very important got lost. But to continue with the travel. I got out of the house about 3 pm,after saying goodbye to everybody,gave kisses and hugs and left one of the places and people who I really liked.

The manual how to get out of the city was easy - 3 bloks right and then just follow the avenue of 25th of may or whatever. I got to another avenue,which seemed to be going out of the city as well and started to hitch. Yes,I am lazy and started to hitch inside of the city,and guess what :) I was lucky and got a ride afeter walking about 3 bloks more from imigration officer,who used to lived in Ireland and hitched around the Europe in his young times as well. He was going to Trelew.
One of the thing what u will notice very easily in Patagonia,that u find a ride very easily,anywhere. The thing is,that the distances between the cities are tremendous and its freezing cold and very windy over there. No signal for most of the time on your phone (almost like in interior of brazil where u have to wait 400km to get one stripe of the signal of whatsoever on your phone to make a call). Just a bushy grass,lot of a wind and time to time one sheep.
In patagonia there is quite interesting rule. That if u get stuck on the road in the middle of nowhere for a show or whatsoever u can kill a sheep and eat it,but u have to leave the skin over there,just to let know the shepards/farmers that the sheep is missing. In this area are appearing as well Guanacos - which are something like smaller Llamas,they are protected. And cant be killed,but somehow got some echoes about delicous Milanesas from Guanacos in Rio Grande,where there is a hell loads of them everywhere running around the roads like deers in our latitudes,but guanacos are more more much more than deers.
Guanacos are very curious animals and many times if u are out of the vehicle they come to see and observe u,but be careful. They can spit on u :)) Anyway,enough of these gorgeus blackeyed,longlashed furry spitting beasts,continueing ....
I got with the guy from imigrations to Trelew what is about 80km from Puerto Madryn and they I just even havent managed to lift my thumb and there I had a ride,heh,even to wrong direction,the person came and asked me as I was staying on round about,if he can take me somewhere to Rawson. I am writing this,just to show u that people are extremely nice and helpful as soon as u get to Patagonia. (If they wouldnt,u would be already dead by cold,hunger and thirst and thats not their point ;).
Then in 5 minutes I got a ride by one Porteno going from Bahia Blanca from the morning and with the exit point in Comodoro Rivadavia,which is one of the biggest cities where the argentinians drill Petrol and where the YPF petrol stations starts more and more (no Petrobras anymore,but still some internet).
Bambi :)
On this ride I found out the amazingness of the Alfajor Bambi - I highly recommend this one. Alfajors are very tipical thing in Argentina and its something like 2 hard or fluffy biscuits with dulce de leche inside. Most common and famous are Havannas,but in my opinion they are too sweet,too hard and me personaly I cant even finish one to dont have the feeling that my teeth will decompose after it.
Bambi is really nice and smooth and u can find it generaly in the districts of Santa Cruz - La Provincia Santa Cruz and Chubut.
Back to Comodoro. Comodoro Rivadavia is quite a big town and with Catete Olivia and Rio Grande on Tierra del Fuego are the most important petrol places in whole Argentina,even though is said that there is Petrol all under the surfice around these almost not inhabited areas of Patagonia.
When we got to Comodoro,I got an offer to stay for a night over there as it was already 8pm and the nigh has fallen,but I pushed forward. Took my bag and went for los Banos in the Gasstation where I seemed to noticed some finish or norwegian people (never been to these places,still dont have the phisiologic phenotip in my eye,just a guess) ,they passed me by when I lifted the thumb back on the road. One truck driver started to talk to me and seemed to be nice person,got an invitation for mate,which I refused as I am alergic to,but I got a ride and we continued to Catete Olivia,which was like 80 km from Comodoro trough already bit mountiny countryside which I havent seen anything of as it was a night,but its very recommendable to see it in a day. As the road goes very close to the sea and wthe clifs I have seen in Comodoro were quite impressive.
In Catete Olivia already at 9something I got dropped on the as u would say the best place at the begining of teh city - I hate when the people who think they leave u on best place and never hitched they just put u on one of the worst once,but whatever. First truck stopped and the ride offered was to Perrito Moreno.
As I wrote before,I dont have a map and in 5 minutes as we talked I got to know that is quite a wrong direction,so I hopped off :D Yeah,but in the middle of the city and now what. Bit angry,swearing to my own idiocy I walked few blocks and then I tried to ask the staying car on the sidewalk,if this road is correct to the end of the city,to get to some exit.(The trucks inside of the citycenter are forbidden and last once I have seen were going to Perrito Moreno - so be careful in this place - Catete Olivia,where they put u,as the road for trucks going out to San Julian and further down is going near the sea! to Perrito Moreno - direction to inside of the city and then turnes). Anyway I somehow persuaded the person to take me to exit and I got offered a shelter,again. Waiting on exit I made a short video and few photos. As u know my camera doesnt film anymore with sound,so I hope u wouldnt mind having this made on my phone.

Anyway,I made a photo as well on my phone,which seems to have a ghoast on it ... Maybe publish someday later ... Bit scary place and it stated to drizzle a bit. No cars,no trucks,10 pm, just a roundabout and some bad neighbourhood just behind my back what I was warned not to cross trough walking. The guy who brough me there offered me that he will pass in midnight and collect me if I would be still there. Luckyly I wasnt. In half hour passed a van which looked like comercial one and stopped. I got a bit confused,but went to ask. The ride was till San Julian,middle of nowhere 400km further on south,so there we went :) I started to be bit sleepy as the cold is making me very tired and I have the feeling that I even fell asleep for a while. But before I got to know about amazing gold mines in that area etc. In Puerto San Julian as I found out later on are a loads of Pinguins and Sea Lions and Focas - Seals,Cormorans etc. For sure place to visit,if u havent go to Punta Tombo and the peninsula which is close to Puerto Madryn. For me the entrance fees were too high.
Anf I like to find some free running pinguins and not to pay to see them :)
At the moment I got to San Julian,we passed the Rain and there stayed just a drizzle and horrible wind. Me in 3 layers of trousars and 4 layers of jackets dying from cold! I belong to Carribean!!! :(
Anyway,there passed one truck which was heading to comodoro and even made a round to see what I am doing there and if he can take me somewhere,well comodoro wouldnt be the best option and I would be more than 500km back again,no no. Even if I would freeze to death I didnt gave up. And there came a solution in 10 minutes. The ride which promissed going to Rio Gallegos from some type of argentinian DHL. The guy was quite wierd and further on,there was too warm inside,that after half an hour of talking I fell asleep. He woke me up suddenly and said that he is too tired and would like to go sleep as well and that I have to get out. Luckily we were on some gasstation,which I found out was Comandante Piedra Buena,just about 100sth km from San Julian. 
3 am,no cars,no truck,just a freezing cold,dead hours are even stronger in Patagonia. Noone goes,as if something would happen outside,no one would rescue u! No phone signal and the distances between cities longer than 200kms sometimes makes this road especially at night very inhospitable. I got to IPF and tried to take the things positively (even though I could be on my way to Rio Gallegos and I would save more than 4 hours,but well,fair play - I wasnt good company and I felt asleep,my fault).

On the gasstation I bought another bambi and a wam tea from the machine and there were 2 employees with mate watching the horror Saw 3 on a huge plasma. No customers,tranquilo... Too tranquilo and they told me that no internet was over there,but well,I got echo from truck driver later on that there was a net,anyway,I nejoyed watching Saw in spanish in the middle of the night,in the middle of nowhere,where the girl told me that there are loads of ukrainian imigrants in this area :)  Anyway.
They will tell u that the dead hour in Patagonia ends at 6 am,what is truth. U can even try to hitch arounf 5:30,but I am not sure that u will be successful. At 6 there is already some traffic so u will be lucky for sure.
This photo I made on a ferry :)
If u meet this guy,just say him hi from me!
From there I caught another wierd truckdriver and I had a troubles to dont fall asleep,I was keeping me up all the time,but the need was stronger and he wanted to talk talk and talk. I asked for mate,which later on had it response on my body... In this area especially the drivers are more than bit paranoid,they dont like to take people further on as there are lot of police controls and porbably they think u are carriing drugs or whatever.
So I had to hide in police controls,as they are not even allowed to take hitchhikers,no problem with that if they would lie to u. This guy was going to Rio Grande,but I was falling asleep,so he kicked me out in Rio Gallegos with words that I will for sure find someone soon.
There I met another hitchhiker from La Plata,who I have been meeting and passing next 2 days further on. Very nice person,brought me some Croatian decendency truck driver who was waiting at La Duana to get released with the things he was carrying to Rio Grande. As the Tierra del Fuego is Tax Free Zone and there are made a loads of Electronics,especially plasma TVs.
Do u see the shumbs up sign :)
Everything will be all right,babe!
The Croatian as I think his name was Rodrigo told him,that I am probably Slovenian,and somehow the people from south america dont understeand much the difference that we dont understeand everything from other slavic languages I just tried to do best to addapt and remeber on what I learnt passing trough Serbia,Croatia and Slovenia more than one and half year ago hitchhiking. I got some tips about living Slovenians emigrants close to Rio Grande etc. So who would be interested in some info about them,let me know ;) Maybe I will remeber where it was exactly what he told me :) I jumped for a second online and then I continued. Lifted my thumb on the start of highway and they closed the road. And now what. Another one was going trough the city. They closed the road because of some maintenance and I am not sure if they are doing it normaly or just with this special occasion. At least the people in Rio gallegos are funny :)) When I wanted to die from sleep,they just made me smile all the time :)
Anyway,got to the point where I could walk and fall asleep walking or managed to catch someone on a sidewalk,which looked quite like uncatchable. But I managed to get a ride in half an hour with one chillian living in Puerto Gallegos for already 20 years to exit of the city,yei! When I dont sleep I feel bit paranoid,depressed and bit scared and this chillian was quite affraid of me,when he put me on a place,he offered me the place to stay over or a ride to the chilian border later on that day if I would be able to catch anything. Very nice person,indeed.
On the spot was already another hitchhiker,laying on the grass,seemed to be a vagabund or something,but when he lifted up to his legs it was a boy about 22 years old,with all eyes red and frozen lips with a story that he is waiting for a ride over there for already 2 days and that he is triing to get back to Punta Arenas home.
That he spent night sleeping outside. He looked more than miserable,I felt pity of him,but couldnt help. If I would take him with me,I wouldnt get a ride neither and there would be two ill people at the end,and me as european would have problems to get my expenses convered in hospital. I dont know what happened with him at the end,I went few meters further on and started to hitchhike. In like half an hours I got a ride directly to Rio Gallegos. Thanks god for Lucas,who looked and behaved like one of my Czech friends,originaly from Bahia Blanca. Very good person and nice to talk to as well. Anyway. If u are hitch-hiking to Island of Tierra del Fuego,catch a ride and u dont have to pay for ferry. Its for free if u are in a car or a truck. They just pay for a truck. So no in and out fees,nothing,smooth ride to the Island of Tierra Del Fuego. 
Loads of paperwork on every border,but thats kind of normal in south america,I got used to have 4 papers showing entrance and exit of the country,billion stampings etc.

Look for the truck of company San Martin - they are bringing
TVs to Buenos Aires From Rio Grande and upside down. Their
LOGO is PINGUIN. So u can get 3 days nonstop ride from
Buenos Aires to Rio Grande if u are lucky :)

Then when u get to Chile,the paved road goes about 50kms to Ferry and then stops when u cross the ferry,exactly over there. And starts the country road,no asfalt. Forget the asfalt. Means that your speed goes down with truck to half- 40 km in good places and even less on places where there are huge holes. Take it for 5 hours to cross to Rio Grande,in best place 3 hours on that kind of road. So from crossing of the border in Argentina to Chile up to Rio Grande is 6 hours at least even though is just 380km. Count with it! And the ferry just goes till midnight and the fronties are opened till midnight and 30 minutes!!! Be careful about these dates! Or u will get stuck till 8 am or something like that waiting till they will let u in or out.

This video I made on Ferry - la lancha 

This one already dark - in Rio Grande - Part of Argentina. The most funniest thing is that the pavement starts exactly on argentinian part of the road. The chilians made the road paved just the the highly habitat places. There are no paved roads to Provenir,if u would like to visit.

Yeah,from Rio Grande is next 220 km trough cordilleras,mountains mountains and more mountains,lakes etc. Means if u go with a truck it will take u a lot,try to catch a car,but that seems to be quite difficult. I got a truck ride and got to Usuhaia at midnight exactly. So starting at a 3:30 from Puerto Madryn,arriving next day at 12:00am  makes 32 hours of long run to the end of the world and almost 2000km without real stop (except of 3 hours of dead hours in Comandante Piedra Buena :)

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