In Los Antiguos:
We meet our roommate in the dorm at Hospedaja Parrillo from Israel...he´d come up from El Chalten by bus which arr at 10 pm last nite (and left this morning from here at 9 am to go back). He was also looking to go to Chile and try his luck hitching the Austral Hwy. We got info from our nice Hospedaje owner and also at the tourist office which was very surprisingly open. Nothing else is open so we got some sweets, bread, etc at a panaderia and then went to the only restaurant open for tea/coffee (all they were serving now - 11:30am!). On our way back to the hostel we stopped at the tourist office again and told her our decision to go via taxi to Chile.
Prior to this, the info we got was that there are no buses to Chile on Sundays but also the ferries that go across the lake depart at 8 am. only every weekday except Wednesdays and 3 pm on Sundays. Our plans are getting more complicated by the minute but we forge ahead once we discover that there is an ATM in Chile Chico (none of us has any Chilean $$ and the area we intend traveling in is very remote, thus no real access to $$)!
The nice lady in the tourist office said she would call and arrange a taxi to pick us up at the hospedaje and it shouldn´t be more than 15p! Great! We get to the hospedaje and the taxi is waiting but we decide to buy our bus tickets to El Chalten for the 16th now so as to get good seats. Hoping into the taxi half hour later the driver asks where to...the border, we say. Well, there´s the border where we ck out of Argentina and then there's the distance (nomansland) to Chile and Chile Chico. I asked how much for each...10p to Aduana where we check out of Argentine and 35p to entry into Chile which the driver says is 8 km. I explain this to the rest and we agree to the 35p price to the enrty into Chile.
Once we have been stamped out of Chile (very simple), the driver goes maybe 2 km more and stops. The border, he can´t go any further! ¨You owe 35p plus 12p for waiting!´ Understand, he has driven maybe 6 km total and we never expected him to show before we even arrived at the hospedaje! We we put up a stink and he eliminated the 12p but we still had 6 km to go to the chk into Chile and then find another taxi onward into Chile Chico! We were prepared for some difficulties being Sunday but....
We noticed at the Chile aduana that as we were preparing to leave, a minibus pulled up behind our taxi and it had a sign on it saying in big letters, Los Antiguos/Chile Chico. I was a bit distressed and commented that we had been given poor info about the buses on Sundays by the lady in the tourist office. Mari and Bon both jumped on my case saying that I had no proof that this was a bus going to Chile Chico, etc.!!!
Well, when we began our hike to the Chile check in 6 km away, this minibus passed and I vigorously waved them down. Luckily, the driver stopped and for 20p each we got our ride into Chile Chico. We had forgotten that the Chileans confiscate all fruit and nuts, dried as well as fresh so at emigration Bon lost her cherries (over 1/2 kilo) and she and I ate her 2 apples...Mari almost lost her almonds again but was able to stuff alot into her pockets while they weren´t looking.
Once in Chile Chico we discovered the ATM was out of order and just about everything was closed! Now we were faced w/ a problem since they would not take US $$$, only Chilean and Argentinian pesos. Also, the ferry office was closed til 3 and we found out that there was a rodeo in town and the ferry leaving at 3 was full and possibly the one tomor would be as well if we didn`t get our tickets asap when they opened. Fortunately, outside the ferry office I met a Canadian gal who was travelling as well and tho from Quebec, she also spoke English. She was nice enuf to exchg dollars for Chilean $$ enuf for me and Bon & Mari later got $$ from an internet place which only had enuf for them. We'll see about Jake, maybe the market will open later!?
Got ferry tickets anyway, so step by step...
Bon, Mari, and Jake go to rodeo...see pics.