Sunday, January 13, 2008

Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate in Argentina

Magical Realism- is not just a genre of Latin American literature. It could be a visual experience too ! This is what i felt, standing before the magical beauty of Glacier Perito Moreno. Was it magic? ..a dream ? ... an optical illusion? or real? I could not be sure. My eyes were moist with the misty with the white and blue, soft and frozen snow. My mind did not trust my eyes. My heart stopped its beat. I was swept off my feet. My soul took refuge in the heavenly abode of the glacial ambience. The only part which was conscious and did its duty.. my fingers... kept clicking and pictures. Welcome to view them in my photo album
I was stunned and overwhelmed by the majestic sight of Perito Moreno Glacier on 8 jan 2007. I had seen pictures and a movie about it and was expecting something. But what I saw was more than I ever imagined.

The Glacier stands majestically with its 50 metres height, like a wall, on the waters of Argentina lake. It is held on two sides by the snow-clad mountains. The area of the glacier is 250 square kilometres. There are many glaciers in the world, some bigger than Perito Moreno. What makes it distinct is its easy access at an altitude of just 1000 metres and pleasant climatic conditions surrounded by lush green scenery.

From time to time, pieces of the glacier fall with thunderous sound causing a kind of tidal wave in the lake. The pieces float on the lake moved by the winds.

After the admiration from a distance and close up views from the boat, the climax came with the walk on the glacier. The guides took us for about a kilometre over the glacier. It was my first ice walk with crampons ( ice spikes) fitted to my shoes. During the walk, one comes across a number of tunnels, cave-like openings and streams of water rushing into the holes of the glacier. One is scared of the possibility of the surface caving in and an ice burial.

The Argentina Lake, which is 100 kms long and 5 kms wide starts from the Glacier and stretches upto the small town of El Calafate, from where the tours to Glacier are organised. I stayed in the Design Suites Hotel, which has fantastic view of the lake. El Calafate is a typical Patagonian region marked by barren lands and merciless fierce cold winds. Cattle ranches and sheep farms are the only activities.
The little village of El Calafate, with a population of just 16000 residents, has 8000 hotel rooms and hosts 400,000 visitors every year. It has a modern airport, a nine-hole golf course and plenty of restaurants serving Cordero- sheep meat which is barbecued in Asadors (open pits).

The most memorable aspect of the glacier is the bluish hue, shining and reflecting the sunlight. It has inspired a local poet to write a poem called as " El Azul " - The Blue.
Here are some excerpts of the poem..

Azul..glacial, arriesgo una palabra

glacial como alma de los hombres

glacial como la mole que lo mece

O simplemente El Azul....

1 comment:

Asian Indian said...

Florentino's Character seems to be a perfect blend of Pragmatism and Romance!! Truly Latino.