Argentina, I love you.

But you only want me for my money.

Maybe the nonchalant traveler in me took you for gratis. I mean granted. We started out so well, with an Excel sheet and a plan. A good plan. Thus many days here. Visit such and such. Tick tock. But travel does more than rhyme with unravel.

And I wish that dog quit barking already.

The problem is Patagonia. Too beautiful for its own good. She knows it. Gasp in awe at Perito Moreno glacier for instance. Zeus himself couldn’t have thrown anything from the sky to produce the unholy rumble heard as giant sheets break off and crash into the frisky water below. All of mankind’s cocktail ice produced to date, gone in a second. But the bus won’t pick you up for another five hours, and the pricy cafeteria nearby only serves soda. And humdrum sandwiches. I’m sure about the humdrum part anyway.

What is that dog barking at?

A week of running up and down every beautiful street of Buenos Aires, likewise Montevideo, and a day in the national park of Ushuaia proved too much for my achilles heel. For the time being, one hopes. Literally hamstrung. Okay, almost literally. My activity options are tragically, blissfully reduced. There is simply too much to see and do. For a price, you understand.

Back to business. And by business I mean the misguided adventure that is hitchhiking/bussing north from the end of the world. And hanging out in random places. Like this refuge for manic-depressive canines that doubles as a hotel.

No, I didn’t do the W on Paine del Torres. Next time, I promise. When I’m actually equipped for hiking. God forbid I read a guidebook prior to sailing off to different continent for two months. In stead, I was invited for dinner by Punto Arenas’s chief of police. I drank the best pisco in the land. Or so I was told. Then again, my Spanish is rudimentary. For all I know he could have been saying: “Shit-for-shoes, stop staring at my wife”.

Almost out of Patagonia now. By the skin of my well-orthodonted teeth. Route 40 is as spectacular as advertised. I see those poor guanacos, Argentina’s idea of a llama, stuck in barbed wire along the road in various stages of decomposition. They mostly hop over gracefully. Away from, or towards cars. It’s all the same to them. Hence ‘guanaco’ becoming Argentinian slang for flipfloppers.

I eventually did the sensible thing about that barking dog, by the way. Lobbing a large object in its general direction. Miraculously it did the trick. Who knew ‘cinder block’ was Spanish for ‘shut the hell up’? I’ll be back here. When I’m rich. Not in Hotel El-Disco, mind you. (It’s actually called that. Look for it in Los Antiguos. Actually, don’t.)

No, I won’t cry for you, Argentina. Excuse me, I have something in my eye.

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