Sunday 18 June 2006

Back in Buenos Aires... in pensive mood

It really is autumn here now. Skies are grey and the temperature has dropped. I switched the heating on for the first time last night; it's been raining. It's a stark contrast with the heat and sunshine of the past couple of weeks in the NW.

My mood is also autumnal. I feel tired now of so much travel, experience and discovery. I've seen and learnt a great deal. My body and mind are telling me now to take a break. With just a week left before I return to London, I'm not sure I feel like taking the intended trip to Iguazú. The other option I've been contemplating is going to Peninsula Valdés, Chubut province, on the Patagonian Atlantic coast to see the endangered Southern Right Wales.

I've taken over 400 pictures now and hope and reckon that there are probably 5 to 10 really good ones that I might be able to exhibit or publish.

Looking at the map of Argentina, curiously I've stuck mostly to the Andes: from Ushuaia through Bariloche, Mendoza up to Humahuaca in the North West. Only Buenos Aires is over on the coastal side. There are so many bits left to fill in: the northern/northwestern/western provinces of Tucumán, Catamarca, La Rioja and San Juan; the central provinces of Córdoba, La Pampa, and the Patagonian Atlantic coast as well as Andean Chubut, which I hopped over flying from El Calafate to Bariloche. I'd also like to climb Aconcagua, the tallest peak in the Americas at just under 7,000m.

The Footprint guide to Argentina reckons a "month is the ideal time to spend in Argentina". Spending nearly 3 months in a country where people live in a thriving, wealthy metropolis or a poor, dusty mining town; whose landscape spreads over high mountains, desert and rainforest; which stretches over 5,000km from North to South, from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Antarctic Circle... well, it seems almost churlish.

It's been amazing and I've left so much more to do.