One thing about reading travel blogs is that most of the time, you only get to see the best part of every traveller’s journey – the whale-watching at sunrise, the mouth-watering cuisine, the jaw-dropping mountain scenery and the crystal clear seas.
But the truth of the matter is that these moments make up about 20% of every journey. The rest of the 80% is spent doing the very mundane chores of sleeping, eating and… getting from Point A to Point B.
Nothing very much happens during this 80%… except when things happen.
So… you know that we took the ocean safari while we are in Puerto Madryn… We traveled to the Peninsula Valdes, took a boat, saw some whales… but what I left out in the previous posts is that it’s a good 3 hour drive from Puerto Madryn to the Peninsula.
At the travel agency, we were promised that it would be an exciting ride where we would be kept busy looking for/at land animals that make the Peninsula their home; animals like rheas (small weird ostriches), guanacos (small weird llamas), grey foxes (small weird foxes) and maras (small weird ermm… mouse/rabbit/guinea pig mutants???). There were also SUPPOSED to be “at least 181 bird species, 66 of which migratory, live in the area, including the Antarctic Pigeon”. And every once in a while, we were SUPPOSED to be able to get out of the vehicle to see “large colonies of sealions and elephant seals basking in the sun”.
To be fair, our guide tried VERY hard.
He would very suddenly get the driver to stop the vehicle and point in a general direction, shouting very dramatically “SEE!!!” (Now that I think about it, maybe he meant “¡Sí!”… it’s hard to tell with his ridiculously cute accent… complete with the inverted exclamation mark).
At the start, every time he did that, we would enthusiastically peer out into the distance, trying very hard to see what it was that got him so riled up… Most of the time, we would see nothing (I mean the guide is a trained nature guide so that means he has mutant telescopic eyes), but every once in a while, if we were lucky, we would be able to make out two black dots bouncing in the distance.
After an hour of seeing these…
SEE!!! The Patagonian landscape is notoriously harsh… this means dried grass plains for hundreds of kilometres all round with strong winds of up to 30kns being the norm here.
Our first sighting of maras… kind of…
And guanacos… kind of… suffice to say… we saw the back view of many animals that tried to run away from our mini bus
To put it mildly, it was a bit hard for us to keep up our enthusiasm.
We had more luck with flowers, since they can’t…. move
What we were “SUPPOSED” to see… at a “museum” of Peninsula Valdes at the entrance of Peninsula Valdes…
It didn’t help that at the few pit stops we made to see “beaches covered with colonies of elephant seals and sea lions”, we saw this instead…
Spot THE elephant seal… Hardly a colony…
Apparently, we were too early for the mating season, so what we saw were essentially the horniest of the elephant seals…
Horny The One
I suppose THAT is something we could brag about.
So… while the guide managed to keep a VERY upbeat attitude throughout the whole journey, we gave up. On the bus ride back to Puerto Madryn, our disease of being able to fall asleep anywhere/anytime/anyhow caught up with us. Believe me, it is not easy to fall asleep with someone who aspires to be a Brazilian football commentator shouting in your ears, but somehow we managed to do it.
And that was when it happened.
I had just been woken up by an exceptionally loud “SEE!!” by the guide, and I was peering into the distance, slowly being lured back into dreamland when I heard a loud “CRAAAAASSSSSSHH”.
The window beside Jo had shattered into a thousand pieces. The amazing thing was that EVERYONE in the bus got woken up by the loud crash… except for Jo.
I had to gently wake her up and tell her not to move about too much (not a big problem – just-woke-up-Jo has the mobility of a drunk garden slug) because of the loose glass shards that were all around her.
There were many theories as to what caused the window to break. The favourite one was that a loose stone on the road flew at the window, causing it to shatter. I think that is possibly the case too, but I also want to say that our heads tend to roll about a lot when we fall asleep on moving vehicles (A LOT)… but that’s all I have to say about that…
Anyway, we had to make a quick pit stop and through sheer Patagonian resilience and South American ingenuity, the driver and guide managed to sweep up all the glass shards and fix up the window….
Glass is for wimps. Here in Patagonia, they patch broken windows up with cardboard
So yeah… Out here on The Road, 80% of the time nothing happens during the journey. But when they happen, they do so with a CRASH.