Monday, November 16, 2009

Nov 15th

Today is Sunday. Hard to believe that it´s been 10 days that I´ve been on vacation, AND I still have 11 days to go!!

Nicole and I rented a car for two days. We found a British couple to share the car and expenses with, so it made it reasonable to do.

Our plan was to leave the hostel at 10 am. We finally did at around 12, but with a different car. The first one had a dead battery. I´ve finally come to the conclusion that it isn´t my bad luck on this trip that is causing all these issues, it´s just part of the Argentine lifestyle!!

The four of us left on our traveling adventure. Others had warned Nicole - DON´T drive in Argentina. Crazy drivers everywhere. Things didn´t seem too bad. I wasn´t nervous until our English friend David, the first one to drive, commented on the fact that he had to remember to shift the car with his right hand or else he be rolling down the window! Great! Not only is he having to drive in a strange country for the first time, everything is backwards for him! Fortunately for us we had no accidents!!

After a bit of a drive, me made it to our destination: home to one of the largest colonies of Magellanic Penguins. The weirdest thing was the landscape. The penguins lived near the ocean. But the area reminded me of the high desert. Very few trees and lots of scrubby bushes. I guess not all penguins live in the ice and snow!
This area is the breeding grounds for the penguins. It was amazing to look in all directions at the slightly rolling hills and see small holes in the ground. Each hole represents a nest for the penguins. They were everywhere! The area is well maintained by the Argentine government. There were walkways and strict instructions to stay on them and stay at least 1 meter from the penguins (3 feet! Seemed a bit close).
Our first encounter with the penguins was as follows: we were on the boardwalk walking up an incline. At the top of the hill there was a penguin waddling down the boardwalk with a ranger behind it. The ranger let us know that we needed to step aside to let the penguin pass. The penguin was oblivious to any of us. He just continued walking down the boardwalk like any other tourist. We captured him on video. Can´t wait to see that!

We also got lots of photos of llamas that roamed the preserve.

After the penguin encounter we visited a little Welsh community. We had high tea and pastries. It was probably the most expensive tea ever. Even the Brits commented that they had never spent that much on high tea!

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