There we go.
When I announced my intention to visit Patagonia, I posted a photo I had nicked from another website. Now I have my own photo, which is much better as clouds are dramatically cloaking the peaks while I partially obstruct the view with a very Instagrammy pose.
This photo did make it on Instagram, with the elbow of some random person cropped out. The first rule of Instagram nature shots is: make it appear as if you’re all by your lonesome.
Anyway, I recently spent a little over two weeks in Patagonia. Before I got to the mountains, I spent a week prancing around the Valdes Peninsula. I have never pre-researched a country in depth; all it takes to convince me to travel somewhere are a few cool photos. I prefer to do my researching onsite.
My first destination was Trelew, the most populous town around the Valdes Peninsula. Getting there required three flights and an airport transfer. I had never done an airport transfer and imagined it to be a total nightmare. In the case of New York City, which has two airports, it is so routine that they have dedicated shuttle buses going between JFK and La Guardia. $15 USD per person. If you have three people with you, Google tells me the cab fare is about $50. We were two: Mélissa was my sidekick for this trip.
Our second plane took us from JFK to Buenos Aires. Aerolíneas Argentinas was the airline, and while some would complain of their limited movie selection, my complaint was with the number of movies and tv shows with English subtitles: 0. Most airlines, at the minimum, have English subtitles available for their foreign films. But when the airline CEO and his (yes, their CEO was predictably a “he”) team got together someone said, “What are the chances someone would require subtitles to enjoy our in-flight entertainment?”
Over the course of 17 days, I took six separate Aerolíneas Argentinas flights. Six times I swatted away the earbuds when offered to me by one of the flight attendants. 20 hours of my life was spent in the air with Aerolíneas Argentinas with no movies to watch, but I was about to get 95 hours of paid vacation.
The most dangerous animal I’ve encountered on any of my trips would have to be the human male. I have zero trust in random men who invite themselves into my space. “Hello, ladies. Now that I’m here, you owe me a polite conversation.”
Mélissa and I spent the majority of our morning at the Buenos Aires airport trying to pretzel ourselves into a bearable sleeping position on the hostilely designed waiting area furniture. When this didn’t work, Mélissa gave up and made herself comfortable on the floor. Only at the airport could a non-homeless person be too exhausted to care about sleeping on the floor in front of hundreds of other people. In this instance, I made myself comfortable the best I could on a seat at the end of the bench that was bent into a recliner-style shape. My hoodie drawstring was yanked out as far as possible to block out any light, turning my face into nothing more than a circle of flesh containing a nose and lips. Mélissa slept on the floor, but I was the one who looked ridiculous. My shamelessness afforded me half an hour of sleep. When I pulled back my hoodie, I noticed Mélissa was back on the bench and talking to a guy holding a bottle of wine cooler. I had no desire to know what they were talking about but as I needed to use the washroom I had to pass by them.
While I was still signing, “I’m going to the washroom.” The guy stuck out his hand for me to shake. I did not want to touch him, so I didn’t. I have a difficult time being friendly at 5 in the morning, especially after having gotten very little sleep. I grimaced in disgust before carrying on to the washroom.
He wasn’t back when I returned as it required the knowledge that Mélissa was already in a relationship before he fucked off. It wasn’t that Mélissa enjoyed his company: she hates these encounters as much as I do. One of the reasons it’s easier or me to reject these advances is not having to listen to them bitch me out afterward. It’s not satisfying for guys when the woman has no idea what he’s saying. Their dissatisfaction is my satisfaction!
I hate that he was a noteworthy part of our trip. What kind of shitbag gets drunk off coolers at airports at 5am and hits on ladies who have just risen from sleeping on the waiting area carpet?
There was a dino diorama waiting for us at the Trelew airport.
Then in Trelew, a museum with a collection of dino bits. The Egidio Feruglio Paleontological Museum is home to a Titanosaurus femur taller than me as well as smaller femurs from dinosaurs still much bigger than me. Overall, their collection was a bit disappointing: 165 million years of dinosaurs and that was the best they could do? I think they need a few more years and more English signage. It’s misleading when only the signs in the foyer have English, but the rest of the exhibition hadn’t been translated.
We had to go back to the airport in the evening to pick up the rental car. It was a Ford EcoSport or something which was a stick shift. I’ve never driven stick, but I don’t drive. Mélissa was very inexperienced, and it showed. But, she got us to the Titanosaurus replica safely!
I like to think I can still look fetching standing underneath a dino anus.
When choosing a travelling buddy, it is not as important to find someone who has mastered driving a stick shift as it is to find someone who won’t want to stab you in your sleep during the trip.
Mélissa and I clashed a few times, just as we had on the previous two trips we had taken together. Unless you go for all-inclusive resort-style trips, there will always be moments of stress while travelling. She and I know it’s not because the other person is deliberately being an asshole. With that in mind, we were able to get through these touchy moments quickly.
(If you’re ready to throw out a friendship when your friend has a bad day, were you ever even their friend?)
So, that was the beginning of our trip. In my next post, I will write about being mobbed by penguins and being let down by elephant seals.