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South America: Argentina

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Daily Itineraries:

1.8.05 - A long night on the bus. Crying children, bumpy roads, and very little sleep. Eric felt sick most of the trip. Arrived in Yacuiba early AM and waited in oppressive heat for six hours at Argentine immigration. Eventually got through and bought last remaining tickets for Tucuman, the furthest south we could get. Rest of the day spent on bus, stopping at several checkpoints and most towns en route.

1.9.05 - Arrived in Tucuman around 3:30AM, and waited in bus station for ticket offices to open. Bought tickets for overnight bus to Cordoba, one of the few locations we could actually get to without reservations. Walked downtown, attended morning mass, spent a few hours at supermarket/cafe, and then took advantage of cheap and fast internet. Returned to bus terminal to eat lunch, and sat at the food court for the rest of the day. Got on overnight bus to Cordoba.

1.10.05 - Had a very good night of sleep on bus. Arrived in Cordoba in early morning, looked into options for bus tickets south and could find nothing. Decided to wait before buying anything. Got on city bus to the house that Eric's friend from Brasil, Lynarcos, is staying at. Met the "abuela" and Lynarcos' friends Douglas and Julio. Hung out with them in the morning, napped most of afternoon, and explored downtown Cordoba with them in the evening. Also decided to buy bus tickets to Buenos Aires, where there might be more transportation options. Eric continued to have stomach problems and Dave's pain in abdomen is getting worse. Lynarcos' friends gave us their beds for the night.

1.11.05 - Slept in late and then went to internet cafe for several hours. Came back to house for lunch, talked about our plans for the next couple days and options for getting Dave's abdominal pain checked out. In the afternoon, went downtown to visit several plazas, the cathedral, and to buy mate souvenirs. Came back to house, packed up, and took a remi to the bus station. Waited for bus to arrive and said goodbye to Lynarcos and Douglas. Got on bus and soon feel asleep.

1.12.05 - Arrived in Buenos Aires early morning, decided to go to nearest hospital and get Dave's pain checked out. Took taxi to hospital, saw lots of long lines, finally were helped by a friendly man who got us into the emergency department. Brief examination by ER tech, who decided that Dave's problem is nothing serious and gave him a prescription. Took a bus to the airport, where we found last-minute tickets to Ushuaia. Went back into city to use internet and eat lunch. Walked back to airport and got on flight, arriving in Ushuaia in early evening. Met fellow travelers Duncan and Julia at airport, split a taxi with them and went together to a nice hostel in town. Went grocery shopping and made arrangements to visit Tierra del Fuego park the following day.

1.13.05 - Got up in the morning and did some shopping, bought bus tickets to Punto Arenas on Sat. morning. Got on bus for Tierra del Fuego park and arrived around noon. Hiked up to a nice overlook and then took the coastal trail down along the Beagle channel. Set up camp at a free campsite near Lago Roca. Had a nice meal of rice, using our campstove with dirty diesel fuel. Went to bed as the sun was setting, around midnight.

1.14.05 - Slept in quite late, packed up camp, and dropped off our bags at nearby campground. Set off to climb Cerro Guanaco, a cold and steep climb to a 1000m peak overlooking the coast. Ate lunch on the trail and made summit in early afternoon. Raced back down the trail and caught a bus back to Ushuaia. Returned to our hostel and cooked up a feast of pasta, seafood, sausage, pudding and fruit. Cleaned up and relaxed for the evening.

1.15.05 - Had originally planned to get up for the sunrise, but didn't hear the alarm. Woke up and hurridly prepared a breakfast and packed a lunch for the road. Left on bus at 8am for Punto Arenas. Crossed into Chile with no problems, took ferry across the Magellan Strait, enjoyed the beautiful barren landscape. Arrived in Punto Arenas in evening, quickly found a hostel and a supermarket, and cooked up a meal of bloody beef and potatos. Crashed soon afterwards.

1.23.05 - Got up at 6am and said goodbye to Julia and Duncan, who took a bus to El Calafate. Packed up our stuff, ate breakfast, and hung out with the guys from the hostel before heading to bus station. Took a bus east to Rio Gallegos, arriving late afternoon. Were very fortunate to find a good deal on bus tickets (Andesmar) to Buenos Aires, leaving in one hour with all meals included. Bought tickets, boarded, and spent rest of the night on the bus.

1.24.05 - Arrived in Puerto Madryn around noon. Went into town and devoured 9 empanadas each, some bananas, and emailed contacts in Buenos Aires. Returned to bus station one hour later and boarded a second bus, this one direct to the capital. Spent rest of the afternoon and evening on the bus.

1.25.05 - Got in to Buenos Aires around 7am, and bought tickets for bus to Montevideo on Sat. Left terminal, ate a quick breakfast, and walked downtown. Used internet for most of the morning, then had lunch at an all-you-can-eat buffet nearby. Did some shopping and a bit more internet work in the afternoon. Found nice hotel in San Telmo, then wandered back out for hamburgers and a $1 large pizza. Came back to hotel and crashed in front of TV.

1.26.05 - Went out for more shopping in the morning and a few more hours of internet, before returning to the cheap pizza joint for lunch. In the afternoon, we decided to split up for a few hours, Dave to write the blog and Eric to do some wandering around. Around 4pm, as Dave was sitting at a restaurant, his daypack was stolen...which contained his camera, passport, credit cards, battery charger, and a number of other things. After a quick email exchange, we met and began the lengthy process of cancelling credit cards, with the help of Dave's parents. From there, we went to police station and waited about 3 hours for them to process a report. Picked up our bags at the hotel, and moved one door down to a hostel that would accept credit cards, since we had very little cash. Cooked up a pity party of hot dogs and a big box of ice cream. Went to bed, but had trouble sleeping due to noisy hostel and lots on our minds.

1.27.05 - Got up early and made our way over to the American embassy across town. Completed the paperwork, got new photos taken, and waited for a few hours. We were told to return in the afternoon to pick up the passport, so we passed the time using internet and eating cheap chocolate pies from the local bake shop. Returned to embassy for passport, and took the sub back to San Telmo, where we found a quiet hostel for better price. Made a delicious meal of mashed potatoes (with cheese, spinach, and peas) with hamburgers. Washed some laundry and caught up on writing before bed.

1.28.05 - Slept in a bit and hung out at the hostel for the morning. Walked to the Avenida de Mayo, and made reservations for a tour of the Casa Rosada. Did some shopping to replace some of Dave's lost items. Hunted down a Turkish Airlines travel agent in an apartment building, but had no luck. Ate shwarma for lunch, had our tour of the presidential palace, and took subway out to cheap internet. Spent several hours there, returned back to hostel and cooked up the rest of our potatoes before going to bed.

1.29.05 - Got up and returned to internet cafe to finish up planning and contact work. Had one more lunch of hot dogs and chocolate/dulce de leche pie, before returning to internet cafe to buy Dave a new camera. Took subway back to microcentro, where we checked back at police station to see if there was any new reports about the robbery. Enjoyed another cheap pizza dinner, hung out at hostel for a bit, and then went to Retiro bus station for our overnight bus to Uruguay. Crossed border around 1am, and had to fork over 10 bucks to get Dave out of the country. Watched an incredible lightening storm from the bus window while drifting in and out of sleep.

David P. Landis & Eric S. Kennel

August 15 , 2004