One Heck Of A Trek by D.Illustrator

I wake up at dawn on New Year’s Day to the sound of the previously set, annoyingly catchy alarm by my dad.

Not knowing it was 2016, I reluctantly got dressed and went downstairs to meet my parents, who were already up,  filled with energy and rearing to go, I on the other hand was exhausted because of the rapid border crossing and city changing all in half a week!

Then I suddenly remembered why I was woken up so early and why my parents had warm clothes, bags and trekking boots on.Today, the first of January 2016 we were going to do an eighteen kilometer trek in Parque Nacional Torres Del Paine.

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So after a ‘filling’ breakfast of a cereal bar, we set off for the middle of nowhere.

Anyway, it took us around two and a half hours to get to Torres and another half an hour because we were stopping to look at guanacos (or ginger llamas as I call them) and ñandus (ostrich like birds) and the occasional hare.

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When we finally paid the entrance fee and got to the start of the trail we commenced our almost vertical ascent.

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After about half a kilometer up, we were already exhausted,but we came across a tree that had abrazamé or hug me on a sign next to it, so I did what I was told.

I suppose it was meant to give energy for the rest of the trek but it didn’t really help.

A little bit further up the line we came across a bush with some berries on it, Victor, the guide,  said that they were edible so I gave them a try.They were nice enough,then Victor said that it’s a calafate berry and rumour has it that if you eat one,it guarantees your return to Patagonia.

That means that I will be writing my own blog in twenty years or so.

So while we were going up the mountain  everything was going fine, a few hard bits here and there but generally it was ok.

We then took a short-ish break at the campamento Chileno and then we continued our trek.

After that rest stop I got a good bit of my energy back and I was leading by a lot all the way up to the last forty five minutes of the hike. That’s when it got hard.

We had to climb and step over boulders in our way. For me that would be still hard on a level surface but when you’re going up a big mountain at the same time it’s extremely hard to keep on going.

I begged Dad to stop for a break so that’s what we did but then a really nice lady from the United States told us “The view point is just after that big rock, we can make it to a big rock” and that’s just what we did.

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We were immensely rewarded by the stunning view of the Torres Del Paine and the almost blinding, brilliant turquoise colour of it’s lake.

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After a twenty minute stay, we started our descent,Victor told us that this was going to be hard on the knees.

I was very slow coming down and Mom kindly stayed with me, helping me down the mountain.

After a while we caught up with Dad and Victor and I was leading for the rest of the trek,well almost,near the end I fell back a bit because my legs couldn’t take any more.

But, I was still the first person to the car. I stayed almost motionless for the rest of the tour except when we got out to look at an amazing waterfall with rainbows and everything.

After that Victor brought us back to our cabin apartment thing and I fell into my bed asleep in ten seconds flat.

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Oops!

Ok, we saw many,many penguins on Martillo Island in the Beagle Channel.Three varieties, Magellanic, Gentu and King, sunbathed ,waddled and danced for our cameras.

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We had chosen a tour that pulls ashore beside birds, without disembarking. Darragh, a former Ballygarvan NS Green Schools Committee Member,loves nature and didn’t want to upset the habitat.

It didn’t affect our view or enjoyment and Darragh felt like a better citizen.

Nan made gurgling, cooing sounds and clicked, clicked and clicked.

I’ve always been more interested in the chocolate variety than the animal kind, but I admit they were cute especially the King Penguins.

Enroute, we marvelled at cormorants and sea lions and even I was mightily impressed by the beach master, a leader male seal who theatrically scared off his smaller companions.

I enjoyed the boat trip down the channel dividing Argentina and Chile. Between Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse and Port Williams on the Chilean side, Darragh and I stood on the blustery bow,  doing Titanic ‘I’m the King of the World’ impressions.

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We had borrowed Nan’s prized camera with wide angled lens to record our performance.

Blustery bows,with salty sprays, and expensive lenses is not a match made in heaven.

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Nan came, saw and snatched the wet lens, wiping it dry.

Later,reviewing her prized penguin photography, she spotted a blurry smudge centre stage.

She checked the camera, immediately identifying a scratch or stain.

Oops!

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It’s beginning to look not like Christmas by (D. Illustrator)

Christmas spirit just isn’t coming to us this year, it`s thirty degrees outside and we`re struggling to get out of the apartment at all. There’s hardly any air left and you can feel the heat evaporating from the street. I still can’t believe that it’s going to be hotter and more humid when we go to Iguazù this weekend.

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My plan is to just go to the falls and the national park and spend the rest of my time in the pool. We are very lucky with our accommodation; we managed to book a hotel in BRASIL! I’ve always wanted to go there, and now we are, so I’m very happy. We also get to see both sides of the falls. First we are going to the Brasilian side to see the whole falls from a distance and then we are going over to the Argentinian side to get absolutely soaked and look at it up close. We also got drenched when we went to Africa a year ago and  saw Victoria Falls, we travelled with the wonderful ZAMDA charity and I really enjoyed it.

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Back to the present, today is my second primary school graduation of the year and we are going to that at seven o` clock and probably stay there for much longer than we expect to.

We haven’t had a lot to do for the last couple of days, all we’ve been doing is just going to random museums and pretty much staying in the apartment all the time because it’s too hot to go out.

We occasionally go out for a small coffee though. My Dad and I try to get out of the house to play football but it’s impossible with the weather. I’m getting worried about my dad he has a weird obsession with buses. I think we should send him to a specialist; he keeps on comparing them to dinosaurs.

My dad’s cracking up about leaving Buenos Aires, he really loves it here but we have to move on. Mom, she’s like a mad dog on a leash restless to fly down into the unknown and take lots of pictures, I’m sure she will miss Brother Thomas and her new found friend Maru.

I don’t really mind leaving BA but I will miss all the people we have met on the way such as all my teachers in the school like Angie, Tulio, Ludmila and Sandra and Brother Thomas, all my classmates and Flor who has been very nice to me.I wouldn’t mind going home now but if we do, I`ll kick myself in years to come, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m not willing to miss it.

A key to open the sea

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A magic key to open the sea.

 

A thief who became my friend.

 

Catching a fish that’ll grant you a wish

 

These enchanting concepts come from the writing of the wonderfully creative class 2C in Cardenal Newman, Buenos Aires.

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During November Station Teaching, the class created oral narratives using Rory`s Story Cubes.

The boys loved it, imagining spectacular stories with stunning storylines.

Despite being so young, they really grasped narrative structure, including  settings, problems and resolutions in all their tales.

Even more impressive is that all stories are in English and not their native Spanish.

At the last station, they were dying to write their stories down, reaching for scraps of paper while borrowing pencils to scribble down their ideas.

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Their stories are so good, we`ve decided to put them in a book and donate it to the school library so other Newman boys can enjoy the adventures.

Tomorrow, the last day of school before the summer holidays, we celebrate the Book Launch.

It’s a wonderful achievement to publish your own book, especially when you are only 7 years old. Well done!

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My Ideas - 22

 

 

 

 

Darragh’s BA Likes ‘n Dislikes

 LIKES

5. Playing football in Parque Las Heras with my Dad

.4. Visiting  classmates’ houses on Fridays.

3. Eating delicious school meals.

2. Drawing for the blog.

1 .Reading lots and lots of books.

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DISLIKES

 5.  People in Florida street asking for “CAMBIO” all  the time.

4. Dogs constantly barking.

3. Sirens wailing 24/7.

2.Dog poo everywhere.

1.Cigar smokers.

By the Illustrator

26 November 2015 105232 GMT+1100

SUPERHERO

This week is Maths Week in Ireland so this story is dedicated to Miss Quinn´s 4th Class in Blarney Street , Cork. We had a great skype call  today when they quizzed me about the blog and life in Argentina. Read and enjoy boys!!

SUPERHERO

Dark, in the evening after work, there are crazy long queues in Disco supermarket down the block. Lines that don’t seem to move at all, even at the caja rapidas that limit shoppers to 15 purchases. It took me a while to figure out why; my initial theory disgracefully blamed the old and frail as they’re allowed move up the queue. Standing in the long line, I wished I had gone to a different counter, envying those lined on my left and right. Or even madder, imagined being a superhero that could make queues disappear with my magic eyes.

That is until the penny dropped and I realised to my shame that the fault lay with me and my fellow feather-brained fumblers who hadn´t prepared properly in advance.

Workers at the till are impressive, emitting Zen-like patience with cranky customers who are tired after a long day`s slog. I am fascinated by their mental maths ability, especially rounding up and down.  Argentinian supermarket staff have a tough job because they never have enough small change, so one way to befriend them for life is to hand over the exact cost of your items in notes and coins. They beam at you, impressed that a blow-in would have the guile to understand and possess the necessary coinage to complete this complex task.

But, presenting them with a 100 peso note, sets them off, they quickly assess what they have in the till and then ask you for random amounts to help them round off the figures and come back with the cash. `Can you give me a 20 and 3 pesos, or if not maybe a 5 and 2 peso coin,`they plead.
If this digital dexterity proves fruitless, they ask a few questions which I never understand then finally let out a long sigh, sit back in resignation and hit the buzzer with lights. The next part, I know because I’ve experienced it too many times. Big, bright lights flash over-head and a supervisor is summoned to go to a far-off safe to find change for the birdbrain at the till. The queue behind me moans and glares while I stand for ages, embarrassed waiting for my saviour to come with the coins.
But, you live and learn and I now head to the supermarket fully prepared, estimating the bill as I stroll the aisles. Calculating the cost as I stand in line, I hand over the exact amount to my smiling friend at the till. Armed with wads of notes and hefty pocketfuls of shrapnel, I am an Argentinian Super (market) Hero using magic maths eyes to help fumblers see the Disco light!!

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Darragh’s Top 5 Children’s Books So Far Down South

Recommend a book for Darragh, youngest member of 3gosouth, seen here cycling to photograph sealions in Patagonia.

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Hi, I’m Darragh. I’m twelve years old. I’m 3gosouth`s illustrator and I love drawing. I hope you’re all  enjoying my pictures.

I love reading, too, and am looking for your suggestions for books to read. Leave a comment below with a suggested book for me, please.

Right now, I`m reading `Mockingjay ( The Hunger Games·#3) by Suzanne Collins. I’ve read 16 1/2 other books since I arrived in Buenos Aires and here`s  my Top 5 List.

Top 5 List

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Cay by Theodore Taylor

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas  by John Boyne

A Twist of Gold by Michael Morpugo

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For the record, here are the others I`ve read since going south.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2)      Suzanne Collins

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole     Sue Townsend

Kensuke`s Kingdom      Michael Morpugo

The Elephant in the Garden     Michael Morpugo

Robinson Crusoe     Daniel Defoe

The 12th Of July by Joan Lingard

Danny The Champion Of The World    Roald Dahl ( for a second time)

Buddy Nigel Hinton

The Maleficient Seven   Derek Landy ( for a second time)

Artemis Fowl  Eoin Colfer

Walkabout  James Vance Marshall

I only read half of this book, I couldn’t be bothered reading the rest of it because I wasn’t really into it.

The Eagle Of The Ninth      Rosemary Sutcliff

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Monday in the life of the illustrator

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I wake up a little after dawn. Of course I haven’t woken myself up; nearby, my mother’s voice is calling me into consciousness. I immediately wash up in the bathroom to clear the great amount of sleep in me. I’m extra tired today after an exhausting weekend and an asado in Flor’s house. The outing in Tigre was fantastic. I was stuffed to high heaven with all kinds of meat and looked at the multiple rowing clubs along the river. It seemed like there was a club for every country; French, American, Swiss and English clubs were just a few of them. I reluctantly change into the many layers of sports clothes that I have to wear today and slowly make it to the breakfast table. It’s the usual meal; porridge with sugar with a glass of milk. I eat it slowly but am prompted on by my father who never fails to be early for the combi. I give my teeth a quick swipe and go down the elevator and step into the fresh morning air.

My father and I walk in a friendly silence until we reach Avenue Libertadores. We are only halfway there when the flow of cars stops. We quicken our pace and by the time we reach the road we only have ten seconds to cross. We decide to risk it and we sprint at the pedestrian crossing. We just about make it. We are out of breath! We then complete the journey to the location where we get the combi and after a couple of invigorating minutes reading the final chapters of The Hunger Games, the combi comes to collect us. I am greeted by a friendly, “hola hola” from the bus driver.

After the sleepy bus journey we reach the school ready to start a full-scheduled day. It starts off with a quick assembly and then rolls into a physical education session. My classmates and I do multiple laps of the pitch and then we have a short game of rugby, where I surprisingly play well enough.When all our energy is spent we go inside to finish off a DIY kite project. I’m looking forward to the day we get to fly them because this project has been going on since I came to the school two months ago. I think it’ll be worth it in the end.

After art we have Somos Uno, or, ‘We Are One’ class, where we are put into groups for helping people who are sad or lonely on the yard at break time. After that class I struggle to get through an all Spanish social studies lesson. I count down the minutes to break while I try to make out what the teacher is saying. I’m getting nowhere though.

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All of a sudden the theme tune for the movie Dances with Wolves plays and the class rushes out onto the yard to try to get a space in the game called ‘Square’ we play every day. I stand back as the stampede of children goes down the stairs because who knows what kind of injuries you’ll get if you get stuck in that mess. After everyone else I take my place in the queue for the game. When my moment of truth comes I step out onto the square in front of me. I last long enough but when the time comes for me to reunite with the back of the line, shouts of ‘Chosa’ fill by ears. Chosa means, ‘to your house’ or ‘go home’. I don’t mind it though because I know that it’s a joke. Then Dances with Wolves plays once again and I go back to class for the second of a double dose of social studies.

After a surprisingly short time, the class ends and I line up to get my lunch. I somehow tell the lady what I would like and I collect a dessert and bring it to my table. After I’m finished, I have a brief chat with my father in a much better mood than in the morning. I have a longer break this time. Today the longer break is inside. Children are scattered across the floor playing with either bottle caps or tennis balls. When Dances with Wolves plays, I go into class to start the English half of the day. After two classes of English, we have religion. There we watch a bit of a movie called, ‘The Mask’. When Dances with Wolves plays this time around, I know that this is the end of the day. I quickly pack up my things and meet up with my dad before getting into the combi. For the journey back to our apartment the rest of the children are hyper, glad that the day is over. When we eventually reach the apartment I flop down on the couch trying to understand the Spanish television program on the television in front of me.

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Be careful out there!

As we put our heads down to sleep at night, the scurrying noise overhead keeps us awake. It’s nothing too sinister, only Fido in the room above, running round. There are dogs in many apartments around us, with grills on balconies so they don’t fall out. Porteños love their pooches and it’s not unusual to see someone being dragged through parks and streets by six or seven bustling breeds. If on rare occasions, there are no  tail-waggers visible, there’s always evidence of their presence.

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Footpaths are dotted with dog droppings. Slippery stools are absolutely everywhere and one needs to tread carefully. But, this is only a secondary hazard because the main danger is the footpath itself. Buenos Aires streets are lethal; so far I’ve seen three people trip and badly hurt themselves on the uneven terrain. Rumour has it that everyone is responsible for the maintenance of the footpath outside their door but I presume it’s the council’s responsibility. Anyway, maintenance standards vary sharply.

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Paths rise, fall, drop off and disappear into deep holes. Many paving slabs are broken, cracked and loose. Some aren’t there at all, leaving booby traps for the uninitiated. When it rains, the water lodges under slabs, rising them up at varying angles, creating a steeple-chase for pedestrians and an unwelcome muddy spray for the poor person behind, as they lift and drop. An Irish friend of mine came a cropper and ended up in the German Hospital in Recoleta. Given my unsteady ankles, I am watchful for every potential Beecher’s Brook as I sidestep puppy poop. Be careful out there!

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Piece of cake

It’s still winter in Argentina, not that you’d know it. The season doesn’t officially change until Spring Day on September 21st but the fresh, sunny weather would put a smile on anyone’s face. The three of us were happy when we awoke early last Sunday morning, Children’s Day, and I was dispatched to get medialunas for breakfast. Dulce de Leche ones, preferably.

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There are three pastry shops within a block of our front door. One is right next door but since the weather was beautiful, I decided to walk round the corner to soak up the Sunday morning vibe. One customer was ahead of me so I browsed the bulging display cabinets. Within minutes the tiny shop was crowded with grannies buying box-loads of pastries. Shelves emptied as trays and trays were handed across the counter. I stood, waiting to be served, taken aback by the frenzy and sheer quantity of pastries purchased. Waves of grannies entered, jostled and were served as I stood gaping, becoming more impatient by the minute. I then noticed that my adversaries were holding numbered tickets. I spotted my mistake, elbowed my way through the hurly-burly to the ticket dispenser and tore off my number, E00.

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I edged back up the flank and positioned myself at the counter, waited, watched and most importantly listened for the next few minutes for my number to be called. Three white-aproned servers shouted numbers seemingly at random: 86, 78, 97. I was confused by my number. Was it cero, cero cero or cien (100)? I tried to listen above the hullabaloo but couldn’t discern any pattern until I heard 11,3,22. I’d missed out again. No longer smiling, I decided to retreat and went to the Disco supermarket across the road. Pastry purchase is a serious business in Buenos Aires.

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