|All stories begin with the tale of the trip|
I am not going to lie, the trip is long, especially the overnight flight from Houston to Buenos Aires and back. My trip south began early in the morning checking in for the first leg of my flight to Houston. The flight to Houston took roughly five hours. My friend Rick, who I was travelling with, and I had a long layover of some seven hours before continuing on in the evening with our flight to Buenos Aires. Our layover gave me ample time to catch up and even get ahead on a few emails and other things as I knew in the coming days my attention might be somewhat diverted. Houston was the meeting place for most of my group as we met up with my trip partner Andy and his good friend Butch later on as they trickled in from their initial flights.
|Dawn over the Andres|
Prior to our departure from Houston the captain advised us that President Obama was in Buenos Aires and we may have to orbit the city as Air Force One was scheduled to leave. There were no delays in landing. Argentine customs was another story. President Obama’s presence resulted in a number of international flights arriving at the same time. There had to be over 1000 people in line waiting to proceed through Argentine customs. All we could do is shuffle along. It took us minutes to proceed through customs the lineup shuffle however took close to two hours!
After picking up our luggage, it all arrived safe and sound, we proceeded through the last steps of arrival, scanning your luggage by Argentine immigration. Even after a few weeks to review and digest my trip I am not exactly sure what the point of scanning the luggage after getting off the plan was all about? Now the fun began, Buenos Aires traffic.
It took me just minutes to realize I would never rent a vehicle in Buenos Aires. Road signs, traffic lights and painted lines are just a suggestion. With over 13 million people living in the greater Buenos Aires area vehicles abound. The ride through Buenos Aires traffic is worth the price of admission. This was magnified with President Obama’s presence, major highways were closed. soldiers, police and other officials were everywhere channelling and directing traffic. On both legs of our journey our taxi rides through Buenos Aires was like being part of a virtual Mario Kart game. Despite the chaos after a few trips in Buenos Aires traffic there is a system of sorts that seasoned drivers follow and understand. A system best appreciated from the rear seat of a taxi!
|Buenos Aires traffic|
|The beauty and sights of Buenos Aires|
|The gang's all here. Barry and Butch guard our luggage in El Calafate|
|Some guard dog! Dogs are beloved in Argentina.|
Estancia Laguna Verde is located 329 Km (204 miles) north/north east of El Calafate. The scenic trip takes roughly 5 hours reminding me of drives I have taken in eastern Oregon or through British Columbia’s Fraser Canyon. For our drive in from El Calafate we were picked up just before 8am in a mini bus. We proceeded up highway 40 which is paved most of the way. About 2.5 hours into our travel, soon after the road transformed into a good gravel road, we were met by a convoy of lodge trucks filled with guests from the previous week. The guides and mini bus driver quickly transferred gear between vehicles. While waiting for the gear transfer to complete I experienced, as I often do when travelling, a small world event. In the group that was coming out of the lodge I bumped into Jim Teeny, small world. Jim and I know each other through our tradeshow appearances as our speaking schedules often overlap. Jim provided a brief overview of his week and was excited to be continuing his trip with a week of chasing sea run brown trout in Tierra Del Fuego.
|There are some wonderful accommodation options in El Calafate|
|Mt. Fitzroy, the Paramount films mountain, is one of the many scenic sites along the way to Estancia Laguna Verde from El Calafate|
|Mid journey transfer along Highway 40|
|All wading boots and waders are disinfected upon arrival|