Sunday, January 25, 2009

Puerto Ibanez: Rodeos, Fiestas, and Out of Chile: Jan 24 – 25

Saturday I rode to down the Carretera Austral to Puerto Ibanez, where I had heard about a fiesta. Adam was nowhere to be seen or heard from, although I eventually got an email from him after I had left.

Puerto Ibanez is a little town on Lake General Carrera with the incredible normal population of 700. The river, laden with silt, comes into the lake there and you can see the difference it makes in the water.

The town consists of a few dirt roads, and a couple of stores and hostels. It’s basically dirt poor. However the hostel where I stayed was a beehive of activity. In fact, they moved one of the family out of his bedroom so they could rent it out to me. The owner and I got to be great friends (he told me he was going to get a motorcycle some day, too.) As you can see, definitely a resort quality place.

The owners daughters also thought my motorcycle was extremely cool, and promptly proceeded to take it over for their very own.

The fiesta was kind of a one event rodeo: Wild bronc riding. It went on all day, brought in participants and audience from both Chile and Argentina, and was a lot of fun.

The Argentine gauchos are known for their horsemanship, and they certainly diplayed it.

That night there was a big dance/fiesta. Two of the three bands that were playing were staying at my hostel, and the music started there long before the real party started.

The fiesta itself drew in everyone of all ages from the area. It didn’t really get going until about 11:00, and I understand ended about 5. I conked out about 3:00 and went back to the hostel. . When I got up to go the bathroom at 7:45 am people were still partying in the living room. They were also still going at 10 am when I finally got up. These people do know how to party!

The next day, once I had recovered, I took the ferry from Puerto Ibanez to Chile Chico. I then crossed over into Argentina and rode to Perito Moreno for the night, where I was greeted bhy the shock of southern Argentinea prices in the high season. About three times what I was used to paying! Nonetheless, I found adequate shelter for the night and planned to ride in the morning down Ruta 40, reported to be one of the most challenging in Patagonia, to Calafate.

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