Mucho Cool

El Calafate

The road to El Calafate cuts a long, gray swath through a cold, windy, desolate desert. Once likely a funky little backpacker/climber village, the town itself is quickly becoming more like an Aspen with chi-chi shops, expensive hotels, overpriced chocolate boutiques, and a casino. We, of course, managed to find a very simple and relatively inexpensive hosteleria and then set out to find a comparable meal.

So we head out to dinner, in search of a basic meal at a reasonable price, and stumble upon an all-you-can-eat parrillla (think enormous slabs of beef, and sometimes pork, roasting over hot coals and a burly guy with machete-sized knife and often a saw standing by to hack off a hunk of whatever you want). There’s a long buffet table full of all sorts of salads, many with heavy emphasis on the mayo; cold sliced meats; cheeses; fried calamari; marinated octopus; egg rolls (yes, egg rolls); and desserts. The place is packed with locals (a good sign) and a fair number of Argentine tourists.

We slowly realize that we’re the youngest ones seated and that we’re amidst what feels like the Early Bird dinner stop on a bingo junket to Reno. People are jostling for position in the buffet line before heading over to The Meat. Then they request their favorite cut and the butcher/cook/parrilla dude lops off a gigantic slab o’ beef — a small portion weighing about a kilo.

Again, the average patron is not a professional athlete bulking up–they are a 70-something, out-of-shape tourist–but they are equally as aggressive and as committed to protein loading.

Periodically, we would hear the clatter of a plate hitting the ground. We wouldn’t see much of a commotion until a white-haired head would pop up and a few others would assist the elderly eater to her feet. “No, no, I’m fine,” we would imagine her saying, “just get me a fresh plate and don’t lose my place in the parrilla line.”

Perito Moreno

Perito MorenoA bus and boat ride from El Calafate brought us to one of the most spectacular — and certainly the coolest — things we have seen in all our years of travel. While most of the planet’s glaciers are receding at an alarming rate, Perito Moreno continues to advance at the rate of about two meters a day. At 30 kilometers long, 5 kilometers wide, and 60 meters high, it is a truly awesome sight accompanied by the thunderous sound of enormous ice walls calving off into the water.


6 thoughts on “Mucho Cool

  1. hola ninos, can read but can’t see photos or open links – the other 3 worked just fine..

    loved the book, H! all doggies good in their permanent homes, love, LK

  2. WOW….e learned from our Alaskan trip, that the Bluer the ice? The COLDER the ice in that area is….

    Beautiful, didn’t expect to see that in Chile…Maybe they are hiding some Vodka in that ice???

  3. Normally giant slabs of meat take me to a wonderfully primal place in my psyche but the Thai movie channel showed Hannibal Rising last night. Pass the plate of veggies please. cc

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *