The arrival of the "new" Welsh... and Steph :)
22.01.2007 - 23.01.2007 24 °C
So we got the bus in Retiro in BA and headed down to Puerto Madryn. The bus was a hour late leaving the station, however, when we got on it was virtually empty and it was brand spanking new!!!! So, like lord and lady muck, we had our vino en route by our butler (come attendent!) and settled down for yet another short journey of 20 hours.
The next morning we arrived in PM. It´s a sleepy little town and the bus station was a chilled as the town. We´d decided to walk to the hostel as it seemed fine and the hostel was only a few blocks away.
We checked into our 4 bed dorm and then strolled about Puerto Madryn for a few hours. Had something to eat, and then Steph decided that we´d go for a short walk to the other end of town to see the Eco-Centre.
This seemed like a good idea as the distance looked short on the map! After an hour or so, we finally dragged our sunburnt bodies into the centre.
We were given an English handbook to accompany the exhibitions and so, we set about gleaning as much as we could about the flora and fauna of the area (and specifically Peninsula Valdes)
The centre was $18 perso´s for Non Nationals, $12 for Nationals and $6 for locals.... I thought of trying to claim that since I was a "direct" decendent(ish) (i.e. from Wales) of the first Welsh to land in PM and without them the town wouldn´t even exist I could try for a local ticket.... however... thought better and bought two $18 peso tickets (being that we were gringo´s after all!)
We got to see a replica of one of the orcas (Mel), the Blue Planet film (in Spanish) for 30 mins or so and then walked up the lookout for a good view of the Massive Cruise liner (that´s based in PM) heading out to sea for a 20 day trip to the Malvinas (Falklands) and on to Antartica (Not long now.....!)
On the way back we stumbled across a little Welsh Museum on the side of the road! They had a big flag outside (of which the girl inside was particularly proud... although she couldn´t speak any Welsh) It was the official flag of the Galles (Welsh) in Patagonia...
Think of the Argentinian flag (light blue, white and light blue horizontal strips) with the Welsh Dragon set on the white bit in the middle of the flag... it´s a slightly different draig (dragon) as it´s much thinner and the idea was that it would link and yet not be an exact copy of the original.
So after an hour or so of walking round this little room, looking at the original ships (El Mimosa) log of passengers and checking out that there were two William Williams already in the area... and been allocated land in the Valley to the south... which is where Gaiman and Dolavon are (where we´re heading in a few days or so)... we decided to get a sticker for posperity and a copy of the Local Newspaper (which was in Welsh of course!!!)
On the way home we popped into a rent a car place and found out that it would cost us ($120 per day for four days and 200km´s) to hire a car and having popped outside for all of two minutes we decided we´d take it, we booked the car for the following day... ready to head to the Peninsula to "possibly" see some Orca´s eating some young seal lions....
We crawled back into the hostel and bumped into a few guys who were having an Asado (Argentinian BBQ).... We stumbled in broken English and Spanish as to what we needed to do (which turned out to be... go and get some meat from the Butchers around the corner) and then the guys cooked it!
You buy meat by the Kilo (so you can get a kilo of Rump Steak for $20).... just over 3 pounds!
The guys cooked a great feast and we all sat around being filmed by an older geezer who was filming his trip around Argentina. Couldn´t speak a word of English but a nice guy!
We went to bed about 1am leaving the guys to rant on in Castellano about whatever they´d been ranting about for the past two hours and got some kip ready for the experience of driving on South American roads the following day!!! Right Hand driving !!!