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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Chile/Argentina - 2 January, 2002

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Campsite, Pucon S3916.857' W07158.685' 243 m
Chile - Argentina border (San Martin) . . . .
Finish Hostel, San Martin, Argentina S4009.475' W07121.567' 650 m 190 km (by bus)

Leg 2 Total:

1,063 km

Leg 1 Total:

9,010 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

10,843 km

 

Weather: Cloudy and cool in the morning.  In the afternoon mostly clear, sunny and hot.  Cool at night.

 

 

Today we head to Argentina.  Priscilla continues to have some problems, so we will leave her here where she will go to the Mercedes shop to get a good fixing.  So we will have to leave her here and travel on public transport.  We spend the early part of the morning packing up the campsite and going into town and running some last minute errands.

 

The bus shows up just before 10 AM (on time according to the original schedule and half an hour late according to the revised schedule told to us by Sarah - not sure which was the true time).  We load up and then the bus heads to the bus termianl to pick up some more passengers.

 

The drive takes almost six hours, much of it on dirt roads.  We have a very pleasant stop at a small inn along a stream, where we are provided with a sandwich and drink.  The border crossing is not too eventful.  Getting stamped out is easy and the entry into Argentina is not much more difficult.  They have a list of the passengers and after a quick look, we are stamped in.  With Jacqui they did need to consult their books to see if she needed a visa or not.

 

We arrived in San Martin just before 6 PM and check into our hostel.  Nothing special, but clean.  We then head into town and have a look around.  It is a very pleasant town - they have kept development under control and it has a nice location on a lake.  They town seems to be full of chocolate and coffee shops - they are everywhere.  But they are very expensive.

 

We have dinner in a pizza place - just about the only reasonable place that we could find open in the town.  We had a very nice waitress and she was telling us a bit about what was happening in Argentina.  It seems most of the troubles and rioting are in the capital and the countryside is quiet.  But she still missed home in Buenos Aires, but could not get a job there.

 

Now a bit of an economic story and some background - a while back Argentina had pegged their currency (the Peso) to the US dollar at a rate of one to one in order to control inflation that was out of control.  The US dollar is now legal tender here.  But they have had further troubles lately due to the strong dollar.  Around this time there was some talk that they would change the peg and devalue the Peso.  Anyway, when it came time to pay the bill, we gave the waitress a US$50 bill.  But she came back and told us that this would not be a good idea - they could only give us change back in Peso at the rate of one to one, but the Peso's new official rate as of today was 1.3 to one.  We found some smaller notes and gave her exact change in US dollars.  We were pleased that she was looking after us.  We noted that tomorrow we would have to do some research and see if we could save some money by changing our dollars into Peso at the new exchange rate.

 

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