Saturday, February 22, 2014

South America & Falklands - part twenty

A little under two days’ sailing from the Falklands is Puerto Madryn in the Argentine Patagonia. I have a quiet walk along the beach and promenade as vacationers enjoy summer’s last weeks.

Two more days - and some preliminary packing - up the coast is Buenos Aires.

An electronic chart in one of Minerva’s lounges marks the end of the voyage. 8,397 nautical miles (15,551 kilometres or 9,663 miles).

Argentina’s inflation rate is one of the world’s highest - unofficial figures suggest about 25% a year - and economic protests regularly clog the streets. But there’s always a reminder of how much better the Falklands would be under Argentina. In the central Plaza de Mayo, war veterans have set up camp.

Could this veteran be the soldier manning the anti-aircraft gun or trudging beside Jubilee Villas in Ushuaia’s war memorial pictures?

Enough. There are better things to end on. In a shop window are portraits of Argentina’s Pope Francis and a very young Maradona.

I stop at a pulpería, a kind of tavern with roots in the country’s gaucho culture.

Bread is delivered by bike.

A man reads in front of his shop. 

And Buenos Aires, which makes Toronto look provincial (if, by contrast, supremely livable), has some stunning deco. I must return.

By the way, I haven't finished the biography of Bolívar, nor completed Che's The Motorcycle Diaries.  But, in seven weeks of travelling, I must have had over a hundred meals with Bud and Marcelyn on a ship where you can eat when and with whom you want. I enjoyed them all.

Some days later: a final shot of the Andes - which I followed from northern Venezuela to southern Chile and Argentina - taken while flying home.