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El Dolar Blue. 21.2.15

March 2, 2015

Not Quite so Near Camarones. 21.2.15

There is a pinguino colony 30 kms south of Camarones. This one houses over 9,000 birds, there are larger colonies further north but the info received reckoned, for beauty and closeness to the birds, this one was hard to beat. The drive from Camarone never departs far from the coastline, is once again over barren country but home to many guanaco and rhea families. We even saw  Patagonian hares.The colony itself was out of this world. It is hard not to laugh at the antics of these Magellanic penguins: with their sauntering walk, their heads bowing to one side as if they are trying to understand what you are getting at, their donkey-like braying. The boardwalk visitors use is just the place for many of them to get out of the noon day sun and, looking through the gaps in the boards, you realize you have a living moving mass below you. Will we ever get tired of marvelling at their antics?

So we didn’t get far today, just back a little way from the colony, found a nice bay though a little more exposed than last night.

In Argentina there is this thing called ‘The Blue Dollar” it’s quite interesting. The Argentinian peso has been wobbly for some time. The official rate is about 8.6 pesos to the US$. I’m not 100% sure how this works but the banks won’t give Argentinans American dollars and they need these to buy such things as new cars and other goods. Hence el dolar blue. It’s not a black market, you can sell them to the locals legally, but you have to be sure you are not being scammed. The taxi driver who brought from the airport in BA offered 11 to the $. I changed a bit but knew I could do better. It is possible to get 13 to the US$ and we did that in Trelew of all places. Usually the further from BA the worst rate you get. We went into a drapery to buy a cushion and blanket, I casually asked the owner whether he wanted some dollars. ‘Si Si’ and brought out a wad of pesos. I watched him count it out. The rate was so good I went back later and changed a further $600. People approach you in the streets in BA but it is better to just go into a shop and ask. There is even a web site to tell you the daily rates. So if you are coming to Argentina, bring plenty of US dollars and don’t be scared to ask people if they want to exchange. At 13 to the dollar you are getting 50% more than the official rate, it makes it a cheap holiday.

Another interesting thing: there is a 10% commision charged by the credit companies for retailers when their customers pay by card. I was told, if you pay by cash in pesos you will often get a discount of up to 10%. I tried this at the hotel in Trelew and the young bloke said that if I didn’t need a bill he would give me 10% off. That was OK with me so I rceived a till docket showing my payment instead of a proper account. The ways to save money in this country.

22nd. Puerto Deseado. Travelled a long distance today over good gravel and excellent asphalt roads. After a few easy days we thought it best to get soome kms under the belt. At a camp site here there are a couple of other overlanders: Paula and Jeremy from Scotland & England and Kirsten and Tomas from Germany. What was intriguing was they had ‘Namibia’ written on the sides of their vehicle. It appears their vehicle is registered in Germany but they both work in Namibia. They were astonished to find a Namibian registered vehicle here in Sth America.

From → Patagonia 2015

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