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Bariloche, Argentina

Tourism in Bariloche

15 °C

The first thing that came out of my mouth when I entered the road across from the city of Bariloche was "wow." I could not believe the site of the Andes mountains hovering over the Lago Nahuel Haupi lake. Bariloche is the mecca of outdoor enthusiasts. From the moment we entered we saw people paragliding through the winds hundreds of feet above the lake. That is a must do. Hopefully the weather holds up the next few days and I can experience it.

Today is the US election. It is unbelievable how interested people from other countries are in my election. I am glad I am some what politically savvy so that I can explain to them that not all Americans are naive. Most of us are just misinformed. Thank goodness I voted for Obama because I have not met one McCain supporter (not that their vote counts or anything but their opinions matter). People from other countries are actually more informed about the election than many of my friends.

Anyway, Today I did white water rafting through Patagonia Outdoors. I am staying at Hostal Perikos which provided us with a brochure. I visited many other tourism companies and all of them had the same rate for the tour, if not more. The price was 280 pesos (75 USD). We were rafting class 4 rapids for about two hours. Our raft lost a couple of passengers several times and it was actually kind of funny. The tour was well worth the money. The ride had some great sights and the after party was the sauce on the steak (literally). They provided a lunch (dinner is usually around 10 pm lunch at 5pm) that was beyond impressive. A real Asado! Argentinians take pride in their Asados and they won´t let you down. Chicken, steak and sausage over a makeshift grill in the middle of the mountains couldn't made me feel like a real Gaucho. A Gaucho. for those of you who don´t know, is a Argetinean Cowboy. I saw a couple of them today too.

I must not forget to talk about the steakhouse in Bariloche. Bariloche del Alberto is the best steakhouse around. There are several of them all within walking distance from one another in the city. I ordered 550 grams of steak. That is about a pound and a half tho it felt like more once I ate it. It goes great with a Quilmes cerveza

After celebrating the election, some travelers and I went out to a bar for some drinks. Bariloche has some great nightlife during the ski season, but we just headed towards a tavern. Got drunk with some Irish dudes we met and and sang a bunch of songs. I definitely beat them in car bombs several times. If Obama didn't change their perceptions of Americans then I certainly did. Needless to say, we were asked to leave the bar around 430am because they were closing!

Unfortunately, I didn't get to do any activities because the weather didn't hold up. But I grabbed some famous chocolate that was so good I am afraid to go back for more. I was going to have lunch in a well known restaurant here, but I didn't have enough patience to wait for an hour! So I headed for some street barbecues which I believe was probably better and less expensive. I paid 14 pesos for a soda, a choripon and a churassaco. What a deal! If in Bariloche you should head down for a walk on the pier by the lake. I think it would be more appropriate to call it an ocean because it is massive and the waves are furious. The water splashes up and gives you a refreshingly cold shower. Bariloche is beautiful. I hope to come back here one day so I can do some more outdoor activities. In retrospect, it is probably better I didn't do everything so I can save some money for BA and Rio.

Off to a 18 + hr bus ride to Bunoes Aires!

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Posted by BHammer301 16:24 Archived in Argentina Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

The Chiloe Isands

Next stop Bariloche Patagonia

The Chiloe Island is the second largest island in all of South America. Your need to drive for and hour or so from Puerto Montt and take a ferry/ cargo boat to get there. I signed up for this tour of the island that included the transportation to and from our destination. To say the least the tour was not worth it. I do not recommend it to anyone who has a short attention span. I was trapped on a bus for hours only to sit on a boat for roughly 45 minutes and get back on a bus. I actually don´t even want to document it.

If you really appreciate nature and animals then you will enjoy this forty five minutes of sightseeing torture. I was ready to go after they told me I couldn't grab the penguins. But we were able to see all sorts of native birds, that to the average person, looked liked seagulls. However, after the boat tour we were taken into town and I ordered a large seafood dish that is only available on the islands. It is called Curanto. It consists of potatoes (mmm) mussels, clams, lamb, some sort of fish, and sausage. it was delicious! Some of the mussels were the size of my hand.

There really isn't much to do in Peurto Montt other than the fish market. I wouldn't recommend staying there for more than a night. All in all, the trip to the Chiloe Islands and the food cost roughly 60 bux (30 mil pesos). Save your money and hit up some Artensanos (hand craft markets). I did get to buy some bomb ass Chilean bamboo wind chime that cost 35 mil (8 USD). Working on sending it home now.

I just arrived in Bariloche, the entrance to Patagonia. There will be no more sightseeing for the rest of my journey. Only adrenaline sports, beers and Asados (BBQ´s)

Beard is growing longer by the second.

Posted by BHammer301 17:11 Archived in Chile Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

La PLaya Blanco, Puerto montt, Puerto Varas

Halloween in Pucon

20 °C

La Playa Blanco is an ironic name for the beach considering its sand is black. You can go paddling, kayaking swimming or just plain old relaxing at this beach. I went on a Friday evening and it wasn't crowded at all. Ni ether were the streets. In fact, pucon seemed to be a very safe area. Everyone is surprisingly nice. You can buy food on Ohiggins and many souvenirs for your friends and family. There are several different markets around but everyone seems to stick to an overall price for general products. For instance, the manta I bought was 10, 000 pesos everywhere I went. But if you reason with them and buy a few things, they are pretty cool about giving you a small discount (1000 pesos off)

Halloween in Pucon was nothing really. Some people put scary paint on their face, but it is nothing like Halloween in the states where every girl is dressed as superxxx-cop or something along those lines. Their is a casino right near la playa. It costs about 500 pesos to get in. I wasn't served free drinks while I was gambling which disappointing me a little bit. But i drank and lost my money anyway. Like my experience at cafe peirnas, some places no mater where you are in the world are all the same.

I am in Puerto Monnt now. It is roughly six hours away from Pucon. We got here by tour bus again. They aren't so bad to travel on. Te seats recline about 120 degrees and occasionally they will provide you with a movie. puerto Monnt seems to be have the same atmosphere as Pucon its just a lot busier. A small fair (700 pesos ) on the local bus will bring you to Puerto Varras. when your back is to the sea, head left into the fish market. Here you can sample fresh food that is carried off the boat right in front of you. You can also buy tons of hand crafted items and crochet sweaters, hats, bags etc... While we were at the market we got a great glimpse of some panchitos or sea lions that were putting on a show for the spectators. They swim right up to the dock and play around in front of you. It was a really cool site. If I am not mistaken, I think one of them waved back at me. It was a happy sea lion.

Some of the people will yell "hey gringo" at you and try to get you into to their market for food. It worked. A plate of salmon and mezula cost us 2800 pesos each. I highly recommend visiting this market. However, if you go early in the morning be on guard because it may be a lot busier than when i went and could be a safe haven point for petty thieves. But that is anywhere you go. Overall safe and great place

Haven´t shaved in roughly 6 days. I am starting to grow a beard.

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Posted by BHammer301 18:26 Archived in Chile Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

Pucon, Chile

Volcano and Zip line!

24 °C

Just as I expected, I love Pucon. This place is loaded with log cabins and the smoke from hot barrel asado grills are on every corner. there are a lot of tourists here. Every couple that walks by either sounds like they are from the UK or the Netherlands. Pucon is an out door enthusiast dream come true. lakes, forest, trees, mountains, beaches rivers and volcanoes make Pucon one of my favorite places to be. And I have only been here for the day!

Our first day here we did a canopy tour where you zip line through the woods. I will have to add pictures at a later date. it was relatively cheap (around 13 USD) and sooo much fun. It was a about an hour worth of activity. I don´t recall the name of the company but here the outdoor tourists store are stacked on top of one another on the main road (O´Higgins ave).

My next adventure was a climb to the top of a volcano. Vallarricia I believe the name is. It is 2847 meters or 9,340 feet. This cost roughly 40 USD. The climb was excruciating and I wouldn't recommended it to for the inexperienced. Though there were a few people on our trek that have never climbed before who still made it to the top.

No matter how close you get to the top, it still feels like you are forever away. In all honesty, this was the hardest trek I have ever done. It was also the highest for me. But the enjoyment and relief you feel at the top is overwhelming. The whole hike took us about 6. But here is the best part... It takes about 30 minutes to get down. you slide down on your asses! For thousands of feet you are sliding down. I felt like a little kid. It was like playing in mother natures playground. The scenery was unreal! The pictures I have from the day don´t even justify the intensity of the climb and the exhilaration you feel going down. I wish I could have video recorded it but I needed to hold an ice pick in my hand in case I lost control, which I did several times. Off to the beach. I will update more later.

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Posted by BHammer301 15:35 Archived in Chile Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Pucon Bound

sunny 20 °C

My stay here in Santiago has finally come to an end. I am going to board a 10 hour bus trip shortly down south to Pucon, Chile. Ughh that is going to be miserable.

I can´t describe to you the smell you sense when you walk down the streets of Santiago. You can almost taste the flavor in the air. Everything from roasted peanuts, homemade tea, carne asada to a small pile of warm dog shit on the side of the road. Appetizing right?

Let me go over a few things I before I get to mention them. I had some great food and some awful food. A completo italiano is a hot dog on a bun stuffed with tomatoes, guacamole (sounds great but wait...) and a thick strip of yellow mayonnaise. nuff said.

Chileans love their papas fritas. They are served with nearly everything. I got a plate today with chicken marinated in corn and mushrooms on top of papas fritas. It was delightful! Other great eats are pino´s. Pino´s are served at local panaderias or pizzerias and are stuffed with eggs, steak and onions. Throw a little homemade salsa on it and it makes a great snack.

The mashed potatoes here can be ordered spicy. That's great too. They are called purres.

I did a solo trip to Valpariso the other day via local train and bus. Valparaiso is a sight see'ers paradise. It was descent for me. A tour guide that was recommended to me from my buddy adam of South Africa actually found me in the main square carrying his flyer. He brought us around at no charge and showed us many of the famous buildings in the city. His name is "the German Pirate". You can get a hold of him at info@myvalparaiso.cl. He usually has a car and he can drive you back and forth between Vina Del Mar and Valparaiso. However he didn't have it that day.

I must not forget the young girl I met on the bus, who didn't speak a work of English, that helped me get to my destination. She was a student at the nearby college and she was so helpful. People are so nice here! and then there was mathilda who I am trying to contact to send her pictures. I met her on the street traveling alone like I was. It was easier to speak Spanish with her than the native girl

Beer is so cheap at the supermarket and bars, it is unbelievable. My bar tab was roughly 8 dollars the other night. At that rate... well, we all know what would happen to ourselves at that rate.

I made it to a few museums today and another destination that came highly recommended from a view locals. They call them "Cafe de Piernas". Literally translated, Cafe de Piernas means Legs Cafe . It is a strip club. Just like all strip clubs, cafe de piernas will take your money while you are weak and most vulnerable. Lesson learned.

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Posted by BHammer301 15:09 Archived in Chile Tagged transportation Comments (2)

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