A trip from A to Z (part 1)

If anyone ever asks me why I chose my line of work, I shall describe the 20th of January 2007 to them.  I was in western Argentina, studying Jurassic rocks and fossils of the Neuquen Basin with my colleagues Duncan, Steve and Erik, whilst staying in the small town of Zapala.

Zapala, Neuquén province, Patagonia, Argentina.

At 8am, we had breakfast in El Chancho Rengo (The Limping Pig, or The Smart Pig, depending who you ask), then we went off to a Topsy supermarket to buy lunch supplies, including the strangely named Mini Rhodesia biscuits.

Curious chocolate snack items.

Driving out of Zapala we very shortly encountered a family of rheas loitering by the road. Very shortly after encountering us they scarpered into the scrub, but it was cool nonetheless.

This was not the Road to Hell, and none of them were called Chris.

Then we spent all day trying to unravel what Argentina was like around 175 million years ago whilst keeping an eye on the peregrine falcons that kept swooping and swirling around the gorge we were in.

This is not Falco peregrinus cassini.

Heading home again, we spotted a small lagoon with a smattering of flamingos and after them we did flaming go. Duncan was quite adept at herding the 25 or so long-legged pink bastards, but they never flew close enough for a really good photo.

Andean flamingos

Finally, back in Zapala, we went for dinner at ACA, a restaurant attached to a petrol station (possibly the South American cousin of Little Chef), and were served by a glamorous Argentine chiquita as well as a waiter who looked startlingly like Joe Pasquale. What more could anyone ask for from a day?

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