8.11.2007 Sierra de la ventana

We are now about 600km south west of Buenos Aires in a small town named after the Mountain range it lies at the foot of. After leaving BsAs we covered the distance in two days being constantly buffeted by head and side winds. This upped Perla Negras (my bike) fuel consumption considerably but was probably just a small taste of the winds to come down south in Patagonia. Our last days in BsAs were eventful with a chance meeting with a fellow Liechtensteiner, a night of clubbing, the first tango lessons and a trip to a milonga.

Late for Tango

I was lucky to find a wonderful tango teacher- Dalia Hoffman- in Vicente Lopez (the suburb where we stayed) who could give me private lessons at short notice. And even luckier that she also spoke English! For my first lesson at 10 pm I arrived a half hour late but Dalia wasn't the least bit put out. The next lesson I was only ten minutes late this time in the company of Axel. But don't get your hopes up he didn't come along to dance but to take photos, some of which are on the web. The wonderful thing about Tango was I could get up and dance with Martin after only two lessons. Whether I was any good is another question...

The Milonga

Dalia and Martin took us along to a local Milonga after my second lesson. It was quite different to our expectations, no gorgeous portenas clad in fishnet stockings clinging to gangster types shrouded in cigarette smoke. It was brightly lit, non smoking and the average age was about 60 (excluding the four of us).The music seemed to date back 60 years (that gramophone sound) with a few of the older gentlemen singing along as they did tricky moves on the dance floor. I was impressed: they all had style and really put their hearts into it.

Tango footwork - a short video clip

A day later we visited La Boca, a very colourful part of Buenos Aires. There we watched some tango performed in the streets. To watch the video click here.

Burro de arranque - a donkey for starting

Back to Sierra de la ventana, an oasis of height in the flatness of the pampas, where we have spent a lot more time than originally intended. Axel has had to kickstart the Russian ever since leaving BsAs which is no small task especially on cold mornings. Our "burro de arranque" or starter motor has given up the ghost and repairing it or finding a new one is difficult. Our guardian angel in the whole matter has been Walter, a local car mechanic who has done his utmost to find a solution for us. Axel has spent many hours with him sipping mate, stripping starter motors and philosophizing. A repaired version should be arriving sometime this evening and then it will be time to hit the road again.

Wearing in boots

Before I left I bought a new pair of hiking boots. Not the cleverest thing to do but it couldn't be helped. So we have been putting in some effort to wearing them in while waiting for our starter motor. In the Parque provincial E. Tornquist there are some shorter hikes to rock pools and waterfalls aswell as a longer hike up to the Hueco Ventana. A big hole at the top of one of the peaks which gives the mountain range its name- Range of the window. On the way up we saw some guanacos and wild horses and on top got a fabulous view out onto the pampas stretching in all directions.

Which is what awaits us soon, next stop Peninsula Valdez.

Yours aye, Renee