Thursday, December 25, 2008

Off to Argentina and Peru

Welcome to installment one of the South American series. After the time-travelling experience with Cuba and Mexico, it's now time to attempt some real-time travel blogging. At this stage, I'm not sure how effective this will be, as a lot will depend on internet access in the more remote locations and how much fun I'm having - and how little spare time I have !

One thing for sure, I won't be posting all my photos real time. As with my last big trip, I've decided to take a combination of cameras - one digital and one film. Sadly, I'm not taking my grandfather's old fully manual Pentax K1000 this time as I really couldn´t justify the extra weight. So there'll be no photos from Peru in 1932. I was always going to bring my compact Pentax digital camera for city and social shots, but I was in a dilemma whether to get a new digital SLR for the nature shots (especially from Patagonia and the Inca Trail), or to stick with slide film. In the end I've stuck with slide film, not because I'm any sort of luddite (I only play vinyl records for a laugh) but because I still think that slide film better captures light than all but the most expensive digital cameras, an opinion that seems to be shared by many experts (by no means all) in the inter-world. But I´ve certainly created a whole lot more work for myself on my return in February by that choice - hopefully that will help with the post trip depression !

The reason I've found some time today (Xmas Eve) is that there´s a brief lull between my first day wondering around and Xmas Eve celebrations - which are the main Christmas celebrations in this part of the world. Although I've only been here 24 hours, I've already managed to catch up with Chris and Kath on their slow way home from New York, and Pablo, a friend from Madrid on his trip home for a family wedding, as well as walking all round Buenos Aires in the blazing sun.

I'm staying at a hostel (yes, a 40 year-old backpacker) - called the ArtFactory on account of the themed and painted rooms - for the first 5 days in Buenos Aires. Following that, I'm on a 2 week trip to Patagonia which should give my fitness a good work out ! After that, I have two un-planned weeks that will cover some or all of the Iguacu Falls, Salta/Jujuy and the Andean Northwest, and Mendoza; before finally skipping up to Peru to walk the Inca Trail - a touristic cliche for sure, but not one I'm prepared to miss out on.

Finally - Merry Christmas to all from Buenos Aires, and stay tuned for hopefully some further updates !


Rachel said...

Happy New Year, Duncan! Looks like a wonderful trip you've planned. You've motivated me to google the Argentines that I met on the same Europe trip in 1990 when I met you and I found that one is a professor of economics and Argentine film/media. Ah, the internet.

Matthew said...

Looking forward to some more entries mate. Imagine internet cafes are few and far between, so hopefully you're keeping a journal of exploits to copy into your blog in the next four years.

Been to Patagonia yet? I hear there's a weird 100-year old Welsh community somewhere around there in a town called Gaiman. That sounds like something that would appeal to your sense of the absurd.

Duncan said...

And a Happy New Year to you Rachel !

Matt - now in Patagonia but the tour has been more wilderness than quirky towns and characters (a la Bruce Chatwin) focussed. The town I'm in today has that are about it - a previously delcling rural service town that has become a hiking base just in the last few years so still has plenty of its old character left, even if the main drag now has two sets of traffic lights !