El Calafate and the Perito Moreno Glacier

17-23 April 2003.

El Calafate is a quiet little town that has more 'boy racers' and broken exhaust pipes than Bariloche, Weston super Mare and West Auckland combined. Its 'claim to fame' is being within an hours drive / boat ride from one of the wonders of the world namely the Perito Mereno Glaicer ... not the man holding the poodle all day at the glacier or the particularly appalling bird sanctuary.

Our favourite part of around town action here was when one of the local lads walked past Jason staring at his afro and all he could stammer in amazement was Bueno (meaning good)... We can assume from this brief and rather odd encounter that he was trying to tell us that he liked Jason's hair???

This photo is of the snout of the Perito Mareno Glacier. It is some 4 kilometres wide and 30-60 metres above the water level at the snout. It reaches 30 kilometres back up into the Andes in the background and can be up to 700 metres deep. The ice in the middle is estimated to be be moving at up to 1 kilometre a year... This movement is what attracts people as you get to see huge chunks of ice the size of buildings falling into Lago Argentina

A bus took us to the glacier ready for a boat ride to within 100 metres of the face. It is dangerous to get closer as some 30 people died here in the 60s, 70s & 80s due to poor regulation (rather than execution by the notorious Argentine fashion police ie Maradona is still alive!). Sticking with the 80s theme Jason can be seen here with his best A-Ha bouffant careful crafted by wearing a woolly hat all day and then taking it off just in time for a photo.

This is what we were waiting for... a chunk of ice the size of a ten storey building cracking off at great volume to fall into the lake causing huge waves to lap the shore line and wash away anyone stupid enough to chase a Kodak moment off the platform.

This is surely the eighth wonder of the world. The Argentinian family on holiday. Complete with designer clothes and gumby gold Jason spotted this particular one holding the most important status symbol of all... the well manicured poodle. We would of approached him to take his status symbol but we had been warned of how ferocious these men can be when their wives have made them carry a poodle for 4 hours standing in front of an enormous block of ice.

To top of a great day is this little gem of a sign courtesy of the national parks people of Argentina. The same people who encourage you to 'shit in a hole' and 'wear a harness or die a woman' comes this number encouraging the kids to be careful when flying down the stairs.

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