The next day we headed to the border. The chilean side was easy getting into argentina seemed to be more of a problem this time around. The police in chile and straight and you won’t try and screw you and you can’t pay them off. Argentina police are complete opposite, they don’t make a lot so they are corrupt and they will try and screw tourists but you can pay them off if you get in a sketchy situation. Once we got to the argentina border they suspected we were carrying drugs on us. They split mack and I up and questioned us, searched our whole van very throughly (more like tossed all our stuff out and let us clean it up) with three other officers. They didn’t speak English which made it tough but we knew they were looking for drugs. I made sure to keep my eyes on all the officers as they were searching. I’ve heard many stories of officers planting drugs and then asking for money to buy your way out of getting arrested. At first mack and I thought it was funny cause we didn’t have drugs on us and we knew they were just wasting there time looking through the van cause they wouldn’t find anything but once they didn’t find anything the mood changed a little. The officer who suspected it was a little guy (probably a rookie) that just wanted to impress his boss. He was frustrated and started yelling at me in spanish and all I could say in spanish was ‘no drugs’ and ‘I don’t understand’ he searched us and kept us there for over an hour. I’m sure the guy felt pretty defeated. All he wanted to do was put two canadians in jail and get on the front page of the argentine newspaper. He let us go and didn’t ask for any money from us, this we were happy about. What we weren’t happy about was getting held up for so long for nothing and also the fact that all our stuff was now scattered through out the van.
We had a lot more driving ahead of us, we arrived in El chalten later that day. El chalten is hard core hiker central. A lot of backpackers all there for the trails and the views. It was a beautiful little town and the next morning mack and I went for a little hike to a view point overlooking the town and surrounding mountains. I also paid a hostel a buck to take a shower (best dollar I’ve ever spent!) It was the first real shower which included hot water I’ve had since we’ve started this 12 days ago, previous to this it was just lakes and rivers.
Next stop for us was el calafate, 220km south. The attraction here is the massive glaciers and ice fields that are nearby. We went to the most famous one, glaciar Perito Moreno and it was amazing. Its 35km in length, 5km wide and 60 meters high. What is cool about this glaciar is that it’s advancing instead of receding. It moves up to 2 meters a day and is constantly dropping chunks of ice which keeps things exciting when you’re standing there watching and hearing crashes all around you ever minute or so. It was incredible to see and the pictures don’t do justice.
After checking out what the town of El calafate has to offer we hit the road and headed for Puerto Natales in chile. I’m currently sitting at the bar with a beer in hand and ready for our last four days with the van. We are heading to Torres del Paine next and then to our final destination of punta arenas. Will update soon