Sunday, 13 April 2008

Operation Desert Storm - Puerto Madryn

I'm just back from 5 days exploring Puerto Madryn, Peninsula Valdes in beautiful Patagonia with my brother who was visiting Argentina for 2 weeks. The first day of the trip, we rented bikes and headed on a cycle, 16kms out of town to look at sea lions and 16kms back. For people who aren't overly active, it wasn't going to be that easy and in retrospect, given the gale force winds was probably a little ambitious.

After some navigation problems were worked out, we were on our way. The terrain on the way out started on asphalt but eventually became rough with lots of stones, dirt, hills and sand, so wasn't that easy. Also, we hadn't exactly done our homework on the availability of water, so were only able to source a small bottle between us which didn't last very long. Ninelty five minutes later, we arrived at the sea lion reserve and paid the park entrance fee but there wasn't a shop or vending machine in sight - Argh! Cupped hands under the tap in a public toilet was going to have to suffice to quench the thirst. Here's the view of the sea lions which slouch around motionless and make me, the king of couch potatoes look hyper active!

The outbound cycle was with the wind but the journey home was straight into a head wind, with sand blasting into your eyes and where even a downhill stretch took serious pedaling energy. As we set off back to town, I noticed my bro had a puncture so, with wind, fatigue, dehydration, hunger, bad terrain and the hot sun, this was clearly becoming torture session. After 3 hours battling the elements, resorting to lots of walking and a 'pump up the tyre routine' every ten minutes, we were finally back near civilisation and saw a few beach front cafe's with 7UP and Coke signs but this ended up being just a tease, as the cafes were closed - Bloody low season! We were seriously parched and seriously pissed off! Finally we got to a kiosko that was open, but when I asked for a drink, my mouth was so dry and lips were so chapped, I couldn't speak. I reverted to sign language and grunting which was greeted with amusement and puzzlement at the same time. After downing a 1.5 litre bottle of 7UP in about 60 seconds, I was feeling somewhat human again.

Photos: Wee Bro on the Bike

Lessons learnt: 1.) Exercise is WAY overrated. 2.) Sea Lions aren't very exciting creatures and certainly not worth cycling 32kms to see. 3.) Water is precious even from a public toilet!

Tune in next post for Huge Orcas eating seal lions! Is not a joke!


Baino April 14, 2008 4:13 pm  

Kudos to you boys. Had to have a little lie down after reading that! Exhausting it was. BIG effort on those stony roads! Ooh big whales eating big seals, can hardly wait!

Quickroute April 14, 2008 4:40 pm  

Baino: I can safely say if I never have to cycle again, I also have a new appreciation of tarmac roads!

Quickroute April 14, 2008 4:41 pm  

... that should have said -if I never have to cycle again ... it will be fine with me!

Shaunj April 15, 2008 4:44 am  

Hey I love cycling but I lived and breathed every painfull moment of that journey with you.
Urine isn't that bad you know......So I am told

Anonymous,  April 15, 2008 5:44 am  

jeez, don't they have buses over there? :-)Did the seals at least juggle for you?

Nick April 15, 2008 9:05 am  

Sealions are only exciting if they're jumping out of the water to catch fish at the zoo. Otherwise....zzzzz. At least you must be a lot fitter after that gruelling trip. And it looks like an amazing landscape.

Quickroute April 15, 2008 11:32 am  

Shaunj: Public toilet water is not that far off urine!

Conortje: ha ha - no juggling - not even balancing a ball or catching fish - lazy sodded seals!

Nick: Agreed - after a few days of seeing different types of seals lying down it becomes a tad monotonous - but you're right I have to be thankful for losing a few pounds - even if it was water!

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