Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Neuquen Mendoza February 6 - 9

Tuesday - arrived in Mendoza last evening afater a 13 hrs bus drive. Nice bus and we had business class seats (cama) with Airline type food, but it is still a long drive. Landscape looks very much the same dry and small bushes )18 inch) growing and then cattle and sheep, they need many acres to survive. From Puerto Madryn down South and again up to almost Mendoza the same anf very flat, the roads don´t go in the Andes. Have not seen any green fields with grass, except just before Mendoza when everything changed and all you see is fruit trees and wine. Staying in a great hotel in the middle of the city, and the restaurants around look great and there is one every 50 feet.

We also spent two nights in Neuquen where we visited the dinosaur museum. The largest flesh eating dinosaur in the world lays here exposed, almost all bones are intact.
We assumed it would be easy to find a tour for the Sunday we spent in town, but this (large) town is no tourist town. After much looking and trying to contact guides,  names we received from the tourist info office, no one answered. We finally found a fixed fare taxi (Remisse) and he toke us on the 200km round trip to the site for US$ 70. It was a nice 4 hour trip and a great experience. The driver did not speak english but we managed very well with our spanish. Pictures to come when we are back.

Links and Info copied from the web:

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Giganotosaurus CAROLINII
The "CAROLINII", considered the largest carnivorous dinosaur in the world, surpasses the famous Tyranosaurus Rex in size. It was discovered in July, 1993, by Rubén Darío Carolini, present Director of the Villa El Chocón Municipal Museum, in a former lagoon located 18 km to the South of Villa El Chocón.
80% of the fossil material of this specimen has been rescued and is preserved in optimum condition. This carnivore, with reduced fore limbs, biped gait and with three toes in each leg, would measure 13.5 m of length and its hip could reach 4.6 m. It is estimated that it would weigh 9,500 kg when it was alive. Its head would measure 2 m and its longest tooth, 21 cm. This specimen belongs to the Mid Cretaceous from the Mesozoic Era and it dwelled the Plaza Huincul area 90 million years ago.

Dinosaur Bones in Patagonia

Patagonia became world-famous after the first dinosaur in South America was discovered here in 1883. Within Patagonia, Neuquén has gained the honour of being nicknamed "The Valley of Dinosaurs", thanks to the large number of findings. Other territories rich in dinosaur bones are the Gobi Desert in China and the western region of the United States. Patagonia is the richest-known dinosaur area in the Southern hemisphere.

Read more at Suite101:

 Dinosaur Museums in Neuquén, Argentina: Museums in Patagonia Display Dinosaur Bones and Fossils http://argentina-travel.suite101.com/article.cfm/dinosaur_museums_in_neuquen_argentina#ixzz0f2t8TpwR

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