We picked up the hire car and together with our new friend Roy (from the assado the night before) with whom we´d agreed to give a life to the peninsula the following day, we headed off for Peninsula Valdes. Luckily, Roy was Scottish, so the Linguistic issues weren´t as bad as they had been over the past few weeks.... it was nice to be able to converse with someone for a change... other than to ask for "two beers please".
For those of you not sure with the Peninsula Valdes area... it´s basically got the beach where the Killer Whales take the baby seal lions from the beach, amogst other Natural delights.
Now, I´ve seen this a few times on TV, however, the thought of not only being able to finally see Killer Whales (which we´ve still not seen in the flesh) but also seing them chomping on some poor defenseless seal lion pups was enough to get me over my fear of South American roads and more importantly, other South American drivers!
Entry to the Peninsula was $30 pesos each and since we were staying there, you only had to pay this once... which was really handy I thought. If you stay off the peninsula... you have to pay for every day you go there.
We arrived in Puerto Piramides, which is the only real place to stay on the peninsula, after two hours or so and dropped Roy off at the camp site so we could go to our "hostel"... "The Posada Piramides".
We pulled up outside and it looked rather nice. However, when we got in our room, it was a large double room with an attached bathroom which was shared with a 5 bed dorm.
To cut a long story short... we´d booked the hostel on the web with hostelbookers.com. We sent and emial to confirm the bed. The hostel replied and said they didn´t work with the web site anymore, but we could have a room for $180 peso´s per night and not the $120 pesos per night we´d seen on the web site (which we thought was being a bit flash!)
"That´ll be $220 pesos per night" the girl said..... WHAT !!!!!
Now remember this is Argentina.... Not Aruba!
This worked out at 38 pounds sterling a night (not a fortune for anyone travelling on Sterling I admit), however, when we compared this to the $94 pesos we´d been paying in Buenos Aires, which we thought was expensive... was over double the price for a worse room if anything!
We informed the girl that the room was too expensive and that we´d agreed $180 per night. She looked stunned and informed me that we had a big room.... with 5 other beds... ???
What did we care how many beds there were there.... how many can I sleep in... what... should we have a bed rotation system and spend a different night in a different bed???
Dizzy Bi..... Anyway.....
After a phone call to the manager she agreed on $180 but would need the money up front!
"All of it?" I asked
yes, she replied!
We didn´t like this girl!
When you get cash out of the cash machine here.. it gives you $100 peso bills (up to a maximum of $500) which works out about 90 quid. If you hand over a $100 peso bill for payment for anything other than a big meal or cloths or something... they really don´t like you! All we knew was that we really didn´t like this chick!
Anyway... we said we´d pop to the cashpoint... which we did and got $500 peso´s out. This we put down as a desposit and it was agreed that I´d speak to the manager regarding the outstanding payment and the room etc.
"Can we rent out the dorm room?" the girl asked....
So... not only were we paying twice as much... and had payed most of it already... she wanted to rent out the joining room so that we then would have five other people sharing our bathroom... that we´d payed for as an en'suite!!!
Steph left me ranting in Pseudo Spanish... Pseudo English... Pseudo Obscenties!
We left for the beach and coffee.
On our return to the "Posada Piramides" we were welcomed by another couple in the dorm room... who´d locked the door so we had to knock to get in !!!
Now we´re not snobby, however, we´d splashed out on this room so we then spent the next hour or so, messing about with locks so that we could actually lock our door so anyone in the dorm couldn´t just walk in and nick our stuff! We Ended up with three keys. One for the room into the dorm. One to "Open" our door... and a different one to "close" our door !!!
Feckin....... Let´s just say we weren´t happy with our choice of hostel at that moment in time!
On the other hand... Puerto Piramides is a lovely little place and has a few hotels, and ATM, internet shop (albeit satellite internet) and some lovely restaurants and cafes.
We met Roy that night and popped out for some food at a little restaurant called "The Estation".... which was fantastic (The Fish was particularly excellent!)
We went to bed at about 2am.... ready for a 12 o´clock start the following day to the Peninsula and to see some Orca, seals, sea lions and penguins... Fingers crossed.