Well, this is a painful blog post to write, and explains why I haven’t updated my blog very frequently…
We headed to the Argentinian border, and for once didn’t have too much trouble crossing! It was my passport they took away, but they were smiling, and just wanted to know if I needed a visa I didn’t have (which I didn’t). Here we are, heading over the border:
Ok great! We exchanged some money with a somewhat dodgy guy at the border, and headed for a town called Corrientes.
As we were waiting at traffic lights, some thieves smashed the back window of our car, and grabbed our belongings. They made off on motorbikes. We lost all of our money. The irony is that usually we’re poor climbing bums, but we had an awful lot of money with us on this trip, as we needed to buy various items en route, and need to keep 6 people going for two months. I mean we lost an unimaginable quantity of money…
We also lost basically all of our electronics, radios, ipads, sat phones, computers, all of Max’s clothes, you name it. We submitted a police report, but it’s extremely unlikely we’ll ever see any of our things again.
So were stuck in a town, without a penny to our collective names. The ATMs in Argentina only allow 2000 pesos to be withdrawn, per card, per day (108 pounds) and we need 10-15 thousand pounds to complete our journey. Mine was the only credit card that worked, so we didn’t get put to work in the kitchen of our hotel to pay our debts! I tried to get emergency funds from Barclays, but they told me that in order for that to happen, they’d have to cancel my card. No way!! That was the only card we had!! I tried to wire money to myself, resulting in Santander blocking my card. I asked Mum and Dad to send me some money via Western Union, and after some faffing with their ridiculous website, and a delay while the entirety of Argentina go to bed for four hours in the middle of the day (see earlier rants on siestas!) they managed to send me some. Ironically, even the restaurants we tried to go to were closed for siesta!! How does that work?!
We left Corrientes as fast as we could the following day, and drove to Salta, where we are now.
We’re licking our wounds, replacing what we can, and heading for the mountains tomorrow. The cities are driving us up the wall, and it’s clear that what we need to do is leave it all behind and disappear. We’ll be gone for a couple of weeks, first acclimatising, then climbing four 6000 metre mountains up here. The map on the main page should allow you to toggle between Conway, Max, me, Pedro etc. so you can follow your favourite climber!
Despite all that happened, we’re in good spirits. Nobody got hurt, and tomorrow, the open road and the mountains!