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Aspects of Digital Photography focusing on the Fuji X-Pro1, X-T1, X-E1/E2 and X100s - photographer, reviews, samples and more ... | http://www.tomen.de
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ARGENTINA - CHILE: Picking up the pieces | Michael McQueen

ARGENTINA - CHILE: Picking up the pieces | Michael McQueen | Fuji X-Pro1 | Scoop.it


After fighting a cold in Bariloche I fled south hoping to put some serious miles on my motorbike and really get stuck into Patagonia. I re-entered Chile at Futalefew and started my journey on the Carretera Austral, a very well known road for cyclist and motorcyclist. Just after crossing the border I entered the unpredictable environment of Patagonia. It rained, it was windy, it was cold. I found the road to be absolutely terrible, it was like riding on a dried up river bed where some sections the rocks the road was made of were bigger than my head. I persevered and made it to a small road side town La Junta. My boots were full of water, I was cold, wet and shaken to my bones from the road.. I checked into a hotel and the day was over......

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Mate, Vino, Bife, Dale - The Porteños of Buenos Aires | Adrian Seah

Mate, Vino, Bife, Dale - The Porteños of Buenos Aires | Adrian Seah | Fuji X-Pro1 | Scoop.it

A hint as to the origins of the inhabitants of Buenos Aires lies in the collective name they have chosen to call themselves, Porteños, orPeople of the Port. The population is largely comprised of immigrants from Europe, primarily Italy and Spain who arrived by boat in the late 19th century and early 20th century when the Argentine government went so far as to subsidise boat journeys in order to populate the growing city in The New World. The difficult economic climate at the time in Europe fed the exodus. The dominant culture today remains distinctly European.

¡Dale! punctuates sentences between the rapid-fire exchange between 2 Porteños lamenting the price of bread or the inconsiderate neighbours with their noisy asado party the night before. Much like ‘OK’ in English, it is unique to Argentines, part of a rather large repertoire of lunfardo that characterises the Argentine version of Spanish, Castellano.

 

Nearly 2 months living in the city gave me a small peek into the lives of Porteños, living today in a climate of high inflation and questionable governance meant that Porteños are by necessity, resilient and adaptable. I personally found them more introverted than their Brazilian neighbours up north, but possess the same kindness and hospitality below the sometimes indifferent outer façade. I’ve been stopped by old ladies on the street for a chat and struck up conversations with random people genuinely curious about what a couple of foreign looking visitors with a smattering of Spanish might be doing in their city, what we think of Argentines in general, and everyone seemed to have an opinion on la presidente Christina Kirchner, mostly unpublishable. Almost without exception, everyone loves a good maté (a ubiquitous tea like drink that is an institution unto itself), a good Argentine steak and a glass of Malbec from Mendoza.

 

Dinner for Porteños is a fantastically late affair, we were often the first ones at our local Parilla at 8.45pm, when the chef was still having his mate before the dinner crowd and the waiters were still milling around and setting up tables. 9.30-10pm on a weekday would be typical Argentine and 11-11.30pm on weekends de rigueur. Our untrained bellies could not keep up and we often capitulated by 8pm or so, racked with pangs of hunger, although towards the end of our time in Buenos Aires, we had sufficiently adapted to the Porteño way of doing things and managed a semi-respectable 9pm, which no longer elicited a ‘Muy temprano!’ (Very early!) from the waiters when we sat down.

 

Strangely, I found them, in that sense, quite similar to the Chinese, who might not be the most friendly people outwardly but if you manage to peel back a couple of the outer layers, you might just be surprised by how hospitable they really are.

 

Mate, Vino, Bife, Dale.

 

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Seeking Fitz Roy amongst the clouds in El Chaltén, Patagonia | Adrian Seah

Seeking Fitz Roy amongst the clouds in El Chaltén, Patagonia | Adrian Seah | Fuji X-Pro1 | Scoop.it


A fine shroud of dust hung in the air in front of me, drifting slowing to one side and catching the late morning sun in its ethereal cloud. The trees on either side of the path were absolutely still, with nary a hint of breeze in the air, which was still cool from the night. Trudging ahead on the path, not quite certain if we were headed in the right direction, I stopped to admire the view and tranquility. Surely this had to be the right path, it did fork about half an hour ago but the other path seemed so unlikely, it did not look like it had had much traffic recently, with some of the undergrowth starting to creep towards the centre of the dirt track.


We had to be on the right track.

 

With 2 hours of walking behind us, and another 2 more before we reached our goal of Laguna de los tres, at the foot of Cerro Fitz Roy. Apart from a couple of hikers heaving massive backpacks headed the other way, we had not encountered anyone else on the hike so far. They must have been returning from an overnight stay at a refugio somewhere ahead. The coolness of the air betrayed the heat that would come later on, in any case, I was not complaining, according to the park rangers, we were fantastically lucky with the weather, it could just as easily have been raining or Cerro Fitz Roy could have been blanketed with cloud, as the name Chaltén, or ‘smoking mountain’ implied. But for the moment, the skies were all clear and Fitz Roy beckoned.

 

We forged on.

 

We had started our hike from the little mountain village of El Chaltén, deep in Argentinian Patagonia and the hiking capital of Argentina. Set at the foot of both Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy, El Chaltén is a rustic base for the many hikers and climbers that come from far and wide. The final hour of the hike was by far the most challenging, with a forty-five degree climb up a dusty trail and loose stones and rocks constantly slowing our progress. It has been awhile since we last hiked and it is evident in our ever slowing pace. Hikers coming back the other way were ever encouraging. “¡Un poquito más!” (Just a little bit more!) The vista finally opened up and stole our collective breaths away. Set before the sheer granite shard of Cerro Fitz Roy, reputedly successfully climbed by only one person per year, lay the turquoise coloured glacial lake, Laguna de los tres. It seemed almost artificial in its perfection. Our tired legs were temporarily forgotten as we stood in awe, taking in the view, until we remembered that we had to make our way back the same way we came.

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