I caught a cold from my roommate. It was the second day.
My roommates and I decided to go to Glacier Martial together.
There was no tour to ‘the end of the road’ trek and ‘walking with penguins’ today so the hostel manager suggested Tierra del Fuego National Park which was also the end of the road (route 3. The famous one is route 40. It goes all the way from Canada to Ushuaia).
My cold was getting worse. I had to take Clariflu. I never liked taking medicines.
It was cloudy today. The scenery wasn’t great. But I liked Laguna Negra. Very tranquil. Very quiet. Actually most of the places here were very quiet. I liked that.
Easy walk. I didn’t want to do any strenuous walks as my injured toe was still not recovered.
The driver initially said he couldn’t stop at the southern most post office but in the end, he stopped for me. And he said I had to be quick so I dashed out of the minivan and got the stamp done on my passport at the southern most post office. Cool! 🙂
After the walk, I came back to the hostel. I couldn’t do much because of my cold. I just wanted to rest.
No good last minute deals for Antarctica from the hostel.
I joined a ‘walk with penguins’ tour today. The bus took us to places on land. The Uruguay ladies that I met in El Calafate said some tours took you on a boat but I was ok with the bus.
The tour guide explained why there were so many broken trees in the forest. That particular area of Patagonia was only raised around 7,000 years ago so the forest was still very new. Hence, the soil was not deep. With the strong winds in Ushuaia, the trees easily fell over. That’s why we saw broken trees. Some of them were even uprooted. We saw a lot of roots of the trees with the trees trunks on the floor. Whereas on the other side of the Andes, the forests were older so we wouldn’t see so many broken trees. I saw a lot of broken trees in El Chaltén too but it seemed the reason was different because the guide said this phenomena only applied to this area.
We first stopped at a beach where we saw many mussel shells. The tour guide said there was an area where the fishermen raised mussels.
I think I forgot to mention a museum that I visited yesterday after the walk in the national park. The museum inside the park talked about the formation of glaciers and the lives of the native people who once lived in this area – the yamanas. They were great at rowing the canoes. They were the aboriginals in the country in that particular area. They ate marine life like seals, mussels, etc. I didn’t know about yamanas before. That was very interesting for me. I didn’t go to many museums here because most of the illustration was in Spanish. But this one in the national park had bilingual explanations so it was good.
The Spanish got rid of yamanas like they did to the Incas. One of the reasons they liked to say was these people were barbaric and uncivilized. But what is civilization? Wearing clothes, shoes, eating processed food, drinking alcohol, talking about dieting are considered as civilization? And the lives the yamanas had with ancient wisdom was uncivilized? Receiving a different kind of ‘education’ from the ancestors learning about how to survive in a harsh environment was not civilized? Building architecture in a way that that would survive the earthquake (like the slanting architecture in Machu Picchu) was not civilized? What is civilization? We always tend to think that we are progressing because our technology is ‘advancing’ and we think we can cure many incurable diseases nowadays and do we think we are civilized but have we ever thought that the essence of life is to live with nature and not against it? Have we ever thought that we can never conquer the nature? We have to learn about it and live with it. We are from nature and thus we are part of it and therefore we have to respect it. Problems we are facing nowadays are problems we created in the past because we didn’t respect the nature.
Ok. Back to the empty mussel shells which triggered my thoughts about the yamanas and all that about civilization.
The bus took us to another photogenic place. The trees were bent because of the strong wind but they didn’t break. They formed very beautiful shapes. The local people called them flag trees because they looked like flags.
We then went to a museum called Harberton. The museum displayed bones of different marine animals, different species of dolphins, penguins, the common penguins we saw in Ushuaia were called Magellanic penguins.
The whole area including the museum belonged to a rich family in Argentina. An American woman married to the descendant of this family and opened this museum. She loved studying bones.
We then took a boat to the penguin island. That was the highlight of the day. We were very close to the penguins. The guide told us not to touch the penguins so I didn’t.
I saw baby penguins with brown fur. So cute.
We saw king penguins as well. The tour guide and even the guide at the museum said that it was not common to see king penguins in this area. They only visited this place. They didn’t have their nests here. I was very fortunate. When I was in the Galápagos, we saw everything too – flamingoes, penguins, sharks, turtles, etc.
The penguins build their nests at the places where they are born. What if our environment changes so much that their birthplace is gone? I can’t imagine…
They stay with one spouse for life too.
I love penguins because of that! 🙂
As we walked back to the boat, I saw a penguin standing very close to me so I asked a guy to take a photo of me and the penguin. He took one. I wanted to take another one. I stretched out my right hand with my fingers pointing at the penguin. As I was looking at the camera, the penguin bit me. It happened so quickly. No warning sign. Nothing. The penguin just got mad or thought my finger was food probably. It shocked me. I of course screamed. It hurt a little bit only as penguins didn’t have any teeth. That was good. I only had a scratch on my finger. The guy who helped me take the photo asked me if I was ok. Yes I was and it was a fun experience for me too. Haha. The guy took the photo after I got bitten by the penguin.
I still love them. 🙂
The weather changed. It started to rain as we walked back. It was windy and cold.
We went back to the boat. This island was also privately owned by the same rich family. A private natural reserve.
After the walk, I went back to the hostel. It was an easy walk on the island and very touristy but I liked it. 🙂
I didn’t do much for the rest of the day, just some chores. I checked the last minute deal to Antarctica. It was still too expensive for me so I decided not to go. I decided to take two more boat trips tomorrow 🙂 and then leave the country.
27-29 January 2013
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