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From: Tan Wee Cheng <>
About internet startups in the shadow of giant glaciers: TWC in EL Calafate
Fri 25-Feb-2000 22:33

Dear All,

I am now in El Calafate, a small town by the banks of beautiful Lago Argentino, situated at where the dry arid Patagonian desert meets the high snow-capped Andes. I arrived in El Calafate yesterday after an hour's flight from Ushuaia and a subsequent 4 hour bus ride across the Patagonian plains. El Calafate is the base for visits to the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier. Pinkish flamingoes nest on the shores of the lake and tourism supports a local economy that previously hardly extends beyond sheep-herding.

Together with a group of Israelis, Americans, French, Aussies and Argentinians, I visited what is one of the few constantly advancing glaciers in the world.  This enormous glacier, 60m high and 6km wide at the point where it touches the crystal-clear waters of Lago Argentino (one of Argentina's largest lakes).  From that point, it stretches 250km into the high Andes.  This spectacular glacier is a living creature of sorts, moving slowly forward, and one could hear the cracking of ice and pressure
generated by its unstoppable advance.  From time to time, parts of the glacier - some the size of small houses or ships - broke off, falling into the otherwise calm waters, creating huge waves in the lake.

We had lunch in a safe distance (32 people were killed between 1966 and 1988 by widely scattered pieces of falling ice) observing the glaciers.  Casual conversations revealed that at least two in the group are involved in internet startups or related businesses.  Hmm... what a coincidence in the wilderness of Patagonia.  The valley roared with the bursting of ice and rocks while I pondered over the longevity of the cyber-bubble...

OK.  Have to go for dinner now.  The road to the glaciers today were littered with carassess of dead hares - killed by the morning traffic, with vultures and eagles enjoying the feast of nature.  What a pity - I will dream of barbecue rabbit tonight...

Tomorrow, I will cross the border into Chile, to the town of Puerto Natales, base for the Torres del Paine National Park.

Take care and yes, pray for my lottery.


Wee Cheng

Flat, boundless Patagonia

Once you get a drunken gaucho on the saddle, he won't fall off and his horse will get him home.

Bruce Chatwin, In Patagonia


Patriotism: A school in El Calafate reminds one of Argentine claims over Malvinas/Falklands.
Deserted Patagonia.
Forgotten Patagonia.
Gauchos... the cowboys of Argentina
Like a typical Bruce Chatwin photo...

The youngest gaucho was bright red in his face, propping himself against the bar on his elbows.  His friends watched to see if his legs would hold.  All had knives stuck into their waistbands.

Bruce Chatwin, In Patagonia

An isolated farmstead in Patagonia. Argentina has the best beef in the world! Lago Argentino... peacefulness.
Different Views of Perito Moreno Glacier.
At the Glacier: Want to have a picnic here ?
This glacier is 6km long, 60m high, and 14km direct deepness, and it extends inwards for 250km, forming the 3rd largest icebody in the world, the Patagonian Icecap.
The collapse of the ice - watch it!