Head South heads North in a hurry.
Our trip did not end at the end of the road, we now had to make our way back up to Buenos Aires (3000 km north), and catch our flight home in two weeks. What a gruelling schedule. We pushed hard and hoped Phyllis would be up for the task, but halfway up the coast, she protested and we lost our second fuel pump. Unlike other Latin American mechanics, Argentinian mechanics work only between mate breaks. We could not find anyone willing to work on our truck for any amount of money. The clock was ticking, so having watched the mechanics replace one in Guatemala, Paul decided to go for it on the side of a busy road with only his tool set. Five hours later, when Phyllis finally turned over, it was Paul’s happiest moment of the trip. She was road worthy once again.
We did have the chance to enjoy some of the sights on the Ruta 3, including the penguinera Monte Leon. Penguins are some of the cutest animals I have ever seen- and the smelliest. Many of the southern penguin colonies are popular and can only be visited on tours, which did not really appeal to us. Monte Leon is a national park between Tierra del Fuego and Comodoro Rivadavia on the Atlantic coast, and seems to be a little less commercial. There is tons of wild camping available, and the penguins can be visited independently. It is quite an impressive sight to see thousands of Magellanic penguins as the fog lifts in the morning, some heading for the ocean, some sleeping, and some even walk right up to you curiously. We took a ridiculous amount of photos…
We drove furiously and arrived in Buenos Aires with nine days to spare. We enjoyed the sights of the big city, and started to work through some of the paperwork for Phyllis. Unfortunately we hit a bit of a hiccup, and had to hastily make tracks for Uruguay, which we had not planned on visiting. The tiny country is separated from Argentina by the Rio Uruguay. The fuel is super duper expensive, but all through South America we were hearing about how cool their president is, and how excellent their social programs are- apparently he has chosen to forego living in the presidential palace, and takes the bus to work as a measure of transparency and a stance against corruption.
When we arrived in Colonia, we were just pulling into the campground, when we heard something dragging from Phyllis. Seems as though one of our shock mounts sheered off and was dragging on the ground behind us throwing up sparks. We thought Uruguayans were just friendly waving and flashing their light at us… oops. At the campground we were greeted by our old friends Life Remotely, and another road-tripping couple Shannon and Brenton. Jessica, Khobus and Jared invited us to join them in Montevideo (only 170 km away) for the main event MEATOPOLIS!!! Paul and I are food tourists. We love to eat strange things, and prefer to learn about other cultures through food and drink, so when Jared showed us this video clip, we had to have the meat. South American barbecue is unmatched. The vendors set up at around 10 am and start the fires at their grilling stations. Around 1030, the meat goes on, and by noon people are lining up to consume it in artery-clogging quantities. We polished off the platter for five between the group and all had intense meat sweats- so worth it. Included in the meal were chicken, blood sausage, sweetbreads, intestines, regular sausage, various beef cuts, pork tenderloin, and the token vegetable- grilled red pepper. Inspiring.
Our last week was truly relaxing. We got ourselves a swank pad in the heart of San Telmo, Buenos Aires and kicked back. We ate at fancy restaurants, and explored some of the trendy neighbourhoods in the city. Hard to believe a trip 10 years in the planning and two years in the making was finally over. I guess we need to start planning the next one.
If you want to ask us more about our trip, or plan on passing through Mackenzie, BC give us a shout.