I am on the bus to Puerto Madryn. My last day in Buenos Aires was ominously Friday the 13th, and I started the 20 hour bus journey during a thunder storm complete with lightning and torrential downpours. It's day two of the journey and the bus is actually quite comfortable. There are televisions, and they played some strange but very cool DVD that was a medley of hit music videos from the 80s that went on for about an hour. Then they played a movie that I think was called Fracture, which was better than expected.
I slept pretty well, although I feel about as greasy as I've ever been. The landscape out the window looks kind of like eastern Washington without the backdrop of mountains.
Now, before I forget. As a rule of thumb, at least for people who have recently reverted on five years of vegetarianism, or for some other group of people that I am very much a part of: You should never, EVER, eat 60 pesos worth of steak in two days. Enough said.
At lunch today they played another DVD medley, but this was a strange era that I couldn't identify. I recognized some of the songs, but I really have no idea what the common theme was. I'm going to guess that it was songs written in the 80s that sound like the 70s. Overall weird.
There was a scary moment at what I think was a border crossing between provinces where they stopped the bus and the national police got on board. I had fallen asleep, and woke up with uniformed military men on the bus with a dog and a guy asking me for my passport. Thankfully I had it at the ready. Three girls in front of me, apparently high school graduates from Israel, got it much worse. Five guards crowded around them and went through every single thing in their bags, one by one, for about 10 minutes.
I'm now in Puerto Madryn, which is a jumping off point for the very cool park of the Peninsula Valdez. Tomorrow I'm going to go see the biggest penguin colony in South America, and the day after that to see sea lions and ride in a boat for whale watching. The town feels to me like Cannon Beach. It's certainly much more chilly than I was thinking it would be, and wish that I had a windstopper coat. But that would have been way too hot for Buenos Aires and most of where I'll be, so I'll just have to do a better job layering next time I go out.
After I showered I walked to the beach and looked around, then bought four empanadas, brought them back to the hostel, and bought a liter bottle of beer to eat them with. The beer looks almost comically big, especially next to my tiny little netbook. There's an episcopalean youth group sitting in a circle in the common space, which with the giant bottle makes me feel slightly cool, slightly judged, slightly buzzed. There's also a pool table, which is both unexpected and awesome, but I don't want to play with the youth group doing their circle thing. Maybe once I've worked my way through the beer I won't mind disturbing them.
My plan is to stay here for three nights. Then I have to decide if I want to go farther south, all the way to Ushuaia, the most southern city in the world, or just cut straight to the more northerly parks of Patagonia.