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Trails & Techno_Text_December 15

Trails & Techno_Text_December 15

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Published by Patrick Archer
Trails and Techno: A South American Odyssey is the tale of two young Americans dodging Corporate America long enough for a 30-day, 120-beats-per-minute journey through Argentina, Chile, Boliva and Peru.

Trails and Techno: A South American Odyssey is the tale of two young Americans dodging Corporate America long enough for a 30-day, 120-beats-per-minute journey through Argentina, Chile, Boliva and Peru.


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Published by: Patrick Archer on Dec 23, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Only ten more shopping days left until Christmas! Sunday startedoff bright and early and very shaky. The residual brew from last night’srounds of 
dulled our response to the bedside alarm clock whichsounded at 6:30. Even though we didnt have confirmed seats, we werehoping to catch the 8:00
bus south to Punta Arenas with a brief stop back in Rio Gallegos, our original entry point for this adventure. After quick showers and a backpack repack, we hiked up to the busstation at 7:45. Andy went a few minutes ahead of me, as I was still waiting for a full charge on the camcorder batteries. When I strolled into the bus terminal, Andy had the lowdown onour options: an 8:00 departure to Rio Gallegos arriving Punta Arenas at18:30 for forty pesos or a 9:00 departure back to Puerto Natales via theRío Turbio border crossing and arriving Punta Arenas at 21:30 for thirty-six pesos. We opted for the more expensive bus, figuring that the earlierarrival might give us a chance to catch a nightflight from Punta Arenas International north upthe Chilean coast to Puerto Montt.Unfortunately, at this point, the proverbial wheels came off. Withour
already loaded under the bus and tickets in hand, we wereboarding when I asked Andy how much I owed him for the hotel room.He gave me a puzzled look and said, “I didn’t pay for you, I just paidtwelve pesos for me.” Panic ensued. It was 7:57 and we knew that thebus, like every bus that we had been on this trip, would leave on time. I was ticked off but quickly resolved to send the twelve pesos to the hostelonce I got back to Buenos Aires. Not fully convinced by themerit of my plan, Andy argued that we would surely run intoproblems down the road. He added that we woulddefinitely be rolling the dice having left all of our personaldigits back at the
del Norte 
when we checked in. He hada valid point, but I just couldn’t envision us being cuffed
domingo15 de diciembreEl Calafate, Argentina a Punta Arenas, Chile
15 16 17 18 19 20 21 
1 2 3 4 5 6
8 9 10 11 12 13 14 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 
x x
Destino:Punta ArenasModo:OmnibusDistancia:556 kilómetros
and stuffed by the border guards
à la COPS 
atRío Turbio for failure to pay half a hotel bill.Still, the “true gentleman” in both of us rose tothe surface, and I sulked back down the hill tosettle up while Andy reclaimed our packs. As itturned out, things would work out for the best. At 8:30, we bought our tickets for the
express to Punta Arenas with a stop and changeof buses in Puerto Natales. Waiting in line toboard, we ran into my friend Kate, a Carolina girl, who was taking thesame bus on her way to
Torres del Paine 
for a solo trek. Kate’s presence was a redheaded blessing in disguise as it gave me a good reason to talk to Andy and vice versa. Serious attitude had flared upbetween us following the unpaid hotel bill fiasco. Theensuing verbal standoff in the bus terminal and heatedfinger-pointing threatened to turn our otherwise perfecttrip into an episode of 
Road Rules.
That kind of videomelodrama, which is broadcast throughout Latin America on cable, gives many locals the impression that most gringos area bunch of English-only eighteen year-olds. But almost every U.S. studentthat I had met in Latin America was like Kate: bright, mature, adventure-seeking and multilingual. Fortunately, she saved us from the brink of collapse by drawing us both into a quality conversation about our recenttreks. We also started up a conversation with an attractive, black-hairedSwiss girl named Natalia who was on her way to
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine 
as well. We talked most of the way to Puerto Natales where we disembarkednext to the rusting coal train engine in the central plaza at 14:00. Wetook some photographs together with Kate and Natalia before leaving,exchanged e-mail addresses and said good-bye. The two girls seemed toget along well together and agreed to share a room in a local hostel forthe night. With an hour to kill before the bus to Punta Arenas, Andy and Imade a beeline for the
La Bombonera
 Avenida Bulnes 
,and stocked up for the three-hundred fifty mile journey south to the endof the continent. I had 5,000 Chilean pesos burning a hole in my 
.Having gone without
for eight hours, I was very hungry.
5,000 Chilean pesos:about US $12 with the440 peso: $1 rate.bosillo:pocket. Also,
is a wallet and
is a
.Quattro:South American version of
.muy interesante:very interesting.
mnibus azafata:trip attendants or
are not uncommon onlonger bus rides through the Patagonia.
I bought two turkey sandwiches, two cups of 
La Lechera
, two
of Coco cookies, one Coke, one Quattro, and one huge chocolatebar spiked with a fattening strawberry goo, all for about $6…Is this agreat country or what? Andy showed slightly more restraint and made itout with only one sack and four pesos worth of bus grub. We walked into the bus station at 17:30 and had thirty minutes torest before departure. I bought a magazine entitled
 Muy Interesante 
andquickly learned not to judge Chilean magazines by their titles. It turnedout to be a Spanish version of 
geared toward 3rd graders. I alsogot some information about a possible place to stay down in Punta Arenasfrom a girl who sold me some throat
lozenges from her three-wheeledkiosk in front of the bus station.
 Within minutes, the
 weather went from bad to abysmal withicy winds, rain and haildelivering a soggy triple punch.I paused and thanked the weather gods for the beautifulten-day window that they hadgiven us in the two national parks. Unfortunately, it didnt look as if Kate and Natalia would be quite as fortunate.There were only five other passengers on the bus to Punta Arenas, so we had plenty of room to spread out and devour our food. Andy quickly fell asleep, and I managed to stay awake after the
broughtme a stiff paper cup of joe. A second cup was needed to get me throughmy maiden issue of 
Muy Interesante.
This months feature article on
The Wonders of Static Electricity 
had me borderline comatose. Around 20:00, I took a quick inventory of my fellow travelers andfound that the driver and I were the only two people awake. However,
Patricio AndréNataliaKate 

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