worldwide walkabout the tiniest bird takes a walk.


in the spirit of adventure

after much time at home, i decided to take advantage of having so few responsibilities. i am in chile, perhaps argentina, perhaps peru for three weeks and then colombia for three weeks. i look forward to being on the road again, more soon.


hitching to el chalten, argentina

i'll admit it i'm not always the best planner. if plans are made i usually want to change them. so instead of buying a bus ticket to el chalten, i figured i'd just turn up at the problem.

i missed the 8 am bus (got the time wrong!) decided to hitchhike instead of waiting ten hours for the next bus. made a sign, walked to what seemed to me a logical place to catch a ride and was confused when drivers kept pointing forward (and not picking me up). continued walking until i reached the police checkpoint 3 km out of town (from there the drivers still pointed forward to that magical place they were all going) and was relieved to find the police didn't mind hitchers. in fact, there were two others there already: an older man who ended up returning to town, and rodrigo, a funny brazilian guy. after waiting for some time, felix, a charming german guy showed up too. (luck would have it that felix was also going to el chalten). he and i caught a ride to the junction where we threw rocks into a trash bucket to entertain ourselves. eventually we made another sign to return to town to catch the bus and were trying to catch a ride in either direction...finally! after waiting for many hours we were picked up by a very sweet french family who brought us the whole windy 188 km to chalten!

the next day felix and i hiked the laguna torres trail in some crazy wind and rain. we got a glimpse of the cerre torre, lake torres, and glacier but the fitz roy peak was completely shrouded in clouds! perhaps felix will someday show me his photos of the fitz roy. it was a lovely day trekking but i think my hands were too frozen to take more photos...


el calafate and perito moreno glacier, argentina

in el calafate i was surprised to reunite with ed and sebastian, two guys i had met at a hostel in mendoza, over 2,000 kilometers north. along with our new friends preehya and geher, we rented a car to journey to the perito moreno glacier and surrounding areas.

we arrived in the afternoon and were lucky to see a few substantial pieces of ice break off the face of the glacier-what extraordinary sounds and sights! i especially liked the jagged peaks and deep blue colors of the ice. wow wow wow. amazing experience and it became obvious why the perito moreno glacier is so famous!


mendoza and bariloche, argentina

mendoza is wine country; i was a bit bummed that i got stuck for an additional day. explored some nice gardens though and made the mistake of visiting a very depressing zoo where many of the li0ns, monkeys, and even meerkats were pacing around. i think some llamas were gearing up to spit on me as well, glad to have dodged that one.

san carlos de bariloche was a beautiful stop. it's located at the beginning of the patagonia region and the area is comprised of seven lakes and many snow capped mountain peaks. i was able to do a bit of hiking in the sun and rain and was able to see numerous rainbows throughout the day.


santiago and valparaiso, chile

i was off to a rough start in chile. i didn't exactly realize that 'reciprocity fee" was going to mean having to pay $131 to enter chile! the bus driver from the airport was particularly unfriendly and after i finally found a place to stay i went out for a bite to eat. wasn't sure what i would get when i ordered a vegetarian "completo" but heck it was veg. ended up with a giant hot dog bun, chopped tomatoes, a layer of smashed avocado, and a gigantic squiggle of mayonnaise. no!

in santiago i met andrew, an aussie who then introduced me to his crew  of english cats: matt, mike, ben and john. one of their main missions while traveling is to get butt naked in beautiful places and make photos of such endeavors. somehow i got wrangled into being the photographer and we all justify it by saying "it's for the children" (?) the boys are making a calendar which they will sell in order to raise money for an argentinian orphanage where matt and mike volunteered at.

we celebrated ben's 25th birthday in valparaiso and ate lots of cake. t'was a wonderful day at the beach.

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on keeping paranoia under raps

south america (or parts of) is known to be notoriously unsafe. in general i've felt pretty good about being here, although i have felt less inclined to have my cameras out and about: i've met way too many travelers who have had their cameras nicked. i think some guys tried to rob me on the bus in peru-they spilled water all over the floor and tried to store my bag in the overhead shelves behind me. having had the prior experience of being "helped" (and subsequently robbed) i declined. the guys got off the bus 5 minutes later and i think tried again to distract me.

recently two of my friends were robbed: one opportunistically in the bus station in valparaiso and the other at knife point while waiting for a pickup for  the inca trail. in the early morning. both lost a camera (or cameras!) and passports. my heart goes out to them.

to increase paranoia even more, i watched a film on the way from santiago to mendoza about two young women who get kidnapped in paris by the evil albanian mafia. their mission is to drug-trap women into prostitution. luckily one girl's father is an ex-cia agent and manages to kill every albanian (sans personal injury despite the amount he was shot at) and rescue his daughter. unluckily, the other girl overdoses and is found dead. moral of the story: don't talk to handsome strangers because they may be involved in a plot to kidnap you. noted.

to top it all off, while we were in santiago and valparaiso, my new friend mike took it as his hobby to have me think there was a ferocious dog about to nip at my ankle again...thanks mike.

trying to keep paranoia at a minimum, vigilance at a maximum, and above all-trying to have a good time.