August 30, 2007


Today saw another 12 hours in a bus, heading south. Once the moon came up, it became a rather clear and beautiful night. The grass of the Pampas gradually got higher, and the trees became less common.

A few points in the night brought complete flatness as we traveled in a straight line, with no lights or cars in sight. I did eventually sleep about 7 hours, but even that was hard due to the constant interruption of cell phone noises. I could swear that the whole bus was text messaging each other.

The ride had other notables. About 3 times we stopped at checkpoints where all our luggage was removed and dogs sniffed it for what I believe to be drugs. Considering there was typically nothing between checkpoints, I found it rather redundant. At 11pm we stopped for dinner. Instead of going into the dinner, I went to the bathroom. When I got out, the bus was gone. I was so concerned that I was stranded with all my stuff still on the bus. Fortunately, the bus was just getting some gas. On the whole I really enjoy the South American busing and think it is a great way to see the country. I decided I’m going to do more than planned meaning that I may spend a solid chunk of my vacation on a bus.

My first bus trip actually ended early because I purposely got off the bus early. I decided to go to Trelew, a city founded by the Welsh not too long ago (100 years). Even though it isn’t on the ocean, it is significantly larger than my previous destination and hence offers more to do. Additionally, it is the self-proclaimed penguin capital of the world, and I really want to see penguins and my guide says this is a great time of year for it. Unfortunately, the first 3 people I spoke with on the bus told me that it was the off season. This further was proven correct when all the travel agencies I stopped in confirmed that the penguin tours were over for the season. I guess it makes sense. If I was a penguin, I wouldn’t be too happy. It was the warmest day yet on my trip even though I’m about 1,000 miles south of Buenos Aires.

I checked into a hotel and am probably the only person here. The room is so small that it is designed for you to take a shower while on the toilet. I’ve joked about that before, but this is real.

I then spent about 5 hours seeing the city. The Patagonia is one of the best places for dinosaur bones, and there are a lot of researchers here. I went to the dinosaur museum and was very impressed. Besides the Museum of Natural History in NY, I’ve never seen so many bones. Plus, they were all local which made it interesting. The museum was logically laid out on an evolutionary path, ever increasing my desire to study some biology.

Besides the museum, the city offered very little. I traversed the streets multiple times and found nothing. I did find a steak dinner with a couple of beers for $10. I could only eat a fraction of the meal even though I had eaten very little all day.

The nicest part of the city is the lack of tourists. Everyone assumes I’m a local and being a Welsh city, I look somewhat the part. However, for the first time on my trip, I’m bored. I’m going to take this opportunity to catch up on sleep. Tomorrow morning I hope to bus to the ocean and go on a dolphin excursion and rush back to town where I’m catching another overnight bus south. I have determined that I want to make it to Tierra del Fuego. It will take my whole trip, but I think it would be beautiful and amazing.

Photo Info:
1. My bathroom, the only private bathroom of my trip
2. Outside dinosaur museum in Trelew
3. A bunch of dinosaur bones
4. An old ancestor of the rhino
5. The only notable thing in Trelew

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