We have guanacos!
We first spy these Andean camelids in Argentina’s Patagonian expanse, their llama-meets-camel figures at the roadside, along the fences, around the bends, and here, they manifest out of nowhere, suddenly, bam!, Emerril-style, we are in guanaco country!
And, it is awesome!
These beasts are cute and furry and tall and fuzzy and everywhere, long eyelashes and camel coats dotting the arid green, babies in the midst, hardly perturbed by our presence, and on the contrary, it seems this species–almost driven to extinction–is as prevalent as cows on BLM land in Utah.
We are in animal love, faces press on the plexiglass-shatter-with-hammer bus windows all the way to the entrance, where alas, we trade in animal awe for park awe, corralled through Torres del Paine’s mandatory–and, actually, well executed–round up of $40 entrance fee plus five-minute video on Leave No Trace and please, don’t burn down the park.
This means, you, Israelis, for the Park remembers your comrade who just last year, neglects to obey the rules and decides to spark his stove off-trail for a midday pot of tea, and whoosh! the wind catches the flame and sends half of this majestic park aflame.
And, here you are in throngs, fresh out of the army with a bit of a chip on your shoulders, and as much as I try not to stereotype, lets just say that of all the nationalities present in this little room, one more than another tends to err on the side of rude and entitled, shocking even the Americans, and we should know, for we suffer from the horrid international reputation of the BDA.
These guanacos, I’m sure, are lucky to be alive, and we are doubly lucky to see them here at all.