Location: El Calafate, Patagonia, Argentina On the 25th we took the 3 hour flight from Buenos Aires down to Calafate in Patagonia so take the trip to the worlds largest active glacier outside the Arctics, The Perito Moreno Glacier. As soon as we landed we knew we were somewhere unique somewhere so different to anywhere we'd been. Our driver Julio was waiting at the tiny airport to pick us up and drop us at our hotel. We got settled there, played with the friendly hotel dogs for a while and made our way out to explore the town. We went out for more steak at a restaurant Julio had recommended and obviously enjoyed it very much! The next morning we were collected by minibus at 8am and taken to the National Park to visit the glacier. We were blown away by what we saw as well as the wind! The glacier cut its way through two mountains while large chunks of ice occasionally broke off and crashed the 60m(18 storeys)to the freezing blue lake below. We took a boat trip up to the south face of the glacier for some photo ops before getting back on the bus and driving around to the north side to walk the various manmade walkways. It was a spectacular day. The next day we decided that after two straight weeks of activity we were due a down day, which conveniently coincided nicely with the Ireland England six nations match which was being shown on ESPN Argentina! We got some snacks and beers in and flaked out in the hotel room for the afternoon shouting like mad men and women at the screen! Jaysus that Tommy Bowe is some man! Still buzzing we headed out to soak up the post match atmosphere which nobody else in the town seemed aware of but I got the closest thing I could find to a Guinness and saluted the boys in green! That night after some dinner we just had to stop for ice cream at “Tito's”…not because it was particularly well known but because Tito spelled his name with a smiley face instead of an “o” and it was a once in a lifetime photo opportunity that I could not pass up!
Wed Apr 07, 2010 Full Page
Next morning, we got our stuff together and and started our journey following the instructions of a local chai-wala. I was still driving. This was going to be a 12 hour drive. After passing by the gorgeous lake tal of Nainital, we passed by a few other smaller tals. Every few towns, we checked for directions and came down in to the plains. We passed Corbett Conservation Park, a reserve for 26 tigers, and continued towards Haridwar. The 'Kumbh ka mela' had recently happened here and while crossing a 500 meter long bridge, an endless array of tents for the accomudation of the pilgrims could be seen. This festival happens once every 12 years, which left haridwar looking like a battle ground. I took the liberty to take a bath in the Ganges. It was pleasant. Mom told me that all my sins are washed that I took a bath in that river in this holy month. Noice – giggty. There after we drove through Dharamshala and started climbing towards Mussoorie. We reached Mussoorie at 7 PM, 12 hours after we left Nainital and against Mom's wishes, I kept driving towards Dhanaulti. This destination was chosen for its quite and isolated nature, which was an absolute requirement after staying in the hussle-pur station, Nainital. It was dark when we reached Dhanaulti and upon insisting and convincing M.A.D, we stayed in a reasonably decent hotel _ Crystal. This hotel had a very decent first imperession due to its newer furniture and larger room sizes. But once we started settling, issues became apparent. Lights were missing – we got a new room. Water heater was not working – we got a new room. The washroom exhaust was missing – we got a new room. Actually a different floor all together. The last room, I believe the only one left in the hotel, had no issues and provided decent comfort for the night. Dad and I played some chess, and I started working on my project, which was due in 3 more days. Not sure if I mentioned earlier, I had one final research paper that was due on 23rd April, which I had planned to do in the first week while I was in India. This allowed me to travel for a longer period of time, and have something to do while I was accustoming with the weather, water and time differences. Next day, MAD took walks around the town while I studied and would occasionally join them for lunch or snacks.With my project half done, we left to the plains and my hometown, Amritsar on 21st April. When I went to pay for the hotel with the agreed credit card method, the manager told us that he didn't have the machine and he would send someone with us to Mussoorie to get the required payment. On the way, the hotel dude mentioned that they are expecting a cash payment and will be taking us to a ATM machine. Since I had spent an hour insisting that I would pay for this hotel, I was not gonna let this happen. I had not converted my currency and the only method of payment was my CCard. I bitched at the hotel dude and made him understand that the payment shall only be made through a CC and if they want my money, I shall only give it in the agreed manner. After 2 hours of bitchery and 5 calls, his manager suggested for me to deposit money in his account once we reach Amrtisar. Sweet Deal. We left to Kempty falls after having breakfast in Mussoorie.The puri and chaane were absolutely delicious. By this time, I had no clue, that my body had stopped absorbing water due to ecoli in my body. So I ate like a pig and started my journey to Kempty Falls. After driving 3 hours, we reached Kempty falls. I had a nice swim in the fall pool and even dove into the falls. I used to be scared of water bodies, especially when i don't know the depth of it. But, after swimming with Aarthy for a few months, I gained a little confidence and now can take small chances. A fat man with a thin mustache even told me not to jump in the falls since it is too deep, I could not resist to. Fun it was!! I swam out, took some pics and we walked back to the car. We reached home at 11 PM and dad drove rest of the way since I was starting to feel week. By next morning, it was clear that the Indian water and food had already done its dark magic. After taking the required medicine, I started to work on the project and finished it the same day. Next few days were spent in shopping, meeting relatives, etc. Today, my stomach feels much better. I had planned to leave 12 PM, 26 April 2010 for a solo trip on my bike, but that might not happen at all. The bike is missing some papers and a 'mochi' cobbler has taken off with my bags. fook me life.