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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Mountains, Whales and Cookies


First I want to apologize to all of you. I have been absent for a while and this post will be more of an explanation as to why and will be more like a diary type of post. I have been extremely busy and have actually felt a bit overwhelmed.

I do have a new client called La Anonima. They are THE supermarket chain that covers the south of Argentina. They loved our cookies and they wanted to start introducing them to the rest of the country.

I went on a trip to the south of Argentina to visit some of the stores and see firsthand how the cookies were doing on the supermarket shelves of La Anonima. I Also wanted to kick myself for forgetting my camera at home. You will see why later on.

The first cities I went to where Trelew and Pto Madryn. My hotel was actually in Trelew which made sense to my tourist agent since it was closer to the airport. However, it is such a small city and it did not look like it had much of a tourist trade going on. Bottom line was that I did not like my hotel very much. The city itself was clean and orderly. The people were really nice. They had these car park attendants that gave out receipts and they were actually cheerful and chatty. Every time I parked my car I got into a brief, nice conversation...for example:

me: Good morning. How much do I owe you?
car park girl: Oh, hi! It's 50 cents per hour. Are you a tourist?
me: No, I am just a big fan of Avis.

me: Okay, yes, I am a tourist from Buenos Aires, but I am actually an American.
girl: Oh, you come from such a lovely place. Why did you come to live here?
me: Argentina has its charms too.

And speaking of one of those charms... I received compliments from two different women. This has never happened to me in Argentina and it really surprised me. One woman was working the gift shop in the dinosaur museum and the other one was a flight attendant. I was obviously flattered but mostly pleasantly surprised. Both of them really liked my hat and they were both very attractive. I am happily married but it's nice to get little comments like those.

Anyway, Trelew does have a very nice paleontology museum called MEF. In the future I would stop by the museum from the airport and then schlep 56 kilometers to Pto Madryn and stay there. Again the town was small but the hotels looked nice and there where a bunch of restaurants. In Trelew, at 2pm the place emptied out. Everyone would go home for lunch basically. The few restaurants I saw where mostly empty. After eating at one I could understand why. Anyway, back to Pto Madryn. After checking out the local supermarket I decided to drive over to one of the beaches. It was a terribly windy day so when I finally pulled the car up to a beach there was one other car there. About 50 meters from the shore was an old boat wreck; about 10 meters from the shore was a whale! This is the part where I really was kicking myself for not bringing my camera. It was actually swimming down the shore. After it left the other people got in their car and drove off. As soon as they did I noticed that the whale was actually turning around and was coming back. I could have pulled up a beach-chair and just waited despite the rather nasty wind. The flying sand was pricking at me as if the wind actually picked up little sewing needles and they were flying into me sharp end first. I didn't care though because right in front of me was a WHALE. I have never seen a whale in person before and I was entranced. I want to come back and bring my whole family to see them. Also, off in the distance I could see other whales jumping out of the water and splashing around. I so wanted to go on a whale watching tour but that wind was just relentless.

I drove back to Trelew cursing that wind that was now rocking my car making it difficult to drive. I just had to ask a local about the wind and they said that even though the area is known to be windy this was an exceptionally windy day. I spent the rest of the night watching TV in my crummy hotel room.

The next day I went to Ushuaia. I had originally been there in 2000 as part of my honeymoon trip and the place has grown. It was actually difficult to find a parking space. The hotel was very nice and very new (Lennox Hotel). The view from the breakfast area was just stunning and it is right in the middle of town so you can walk everywhere.

I did not have much time for sightseeing though. I was busy visiting with my new clients, seeing our products displayed, giving their employees information about us and the cookies. Now I am putting it all together in a report that I am going to share with the buyer back in BsAs. Actually when I got back I started receiving calls from some more new businesses that want to be clients. I am also organizing a stand in Casa FOA for a couple of events, not for the whole event. I was also meeting with some Coffee Store locations that want to continue buying from us in spite of what had happened previously. I was also writing or answering questions in Spanish for Clarin. They are going to do another piece on us and the reporter just had to have it yesterday. I have a million other things that I could write about but those are just part of my to-do list and would make for very boring reading.

In the end I learned a lot about my new client and scoped out some future vacation trips. Not a bad way to make a living visiting with whales and having breakfast while looking at the majestic snow capped Andes. Next time I will have my camera with me.
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