Beautiful Argentina and Patagonia

Daily Photo – My Russian Bedmate Is Actually a Nice Guy

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Some of you remember me mentioning Yuri, the Russian guy that ended up being my roommate and tentmate in Argentina. At night, I would practice taking photos of glaciers by setting up my tripod to take photos of his sleeping, huge, naked, white body that was full of cracks and made cleaving sounds. Practice makes perfect.

The first time I met him, he was in his underwear in the first 30 seconds after walking into my room. He didn’t speak any English, nor does one need to in that situation. My other Russian friend dropped him off with a wry smile. I heard him laughing some evil James-Bond-villian-Russian-laugh echo as he went down the hallway. And then Yuri and I were stuck together for the next few weeks. I don’t want to say he smelled bad about 20 KM into the hike, but people from Chernobyl won’t even go near him.

I’ve never had a panic attack in my life, and, in fact, I didn’t really believe in them. That is, until that one night in the low-slung tent with Yuri. We were way deep in Patagonia, about half a km from the first photo you see below. It was freezing cold outside, and the tent was so low that when you turned over, your shoulder rubbed against the top.  It was one of those special tents that mountain climbers use to minimize the whipping wind.  Yuri came to the tent rather late, after drinking yet another bottle of cognac he produced from yet another pocket. He was like a circus clown who could, at any time, produce a sizable bottle of cognac from any given opening. About two minutes after he passed out, the level of toxicity skyrocketed in that little tent. And then I had my first panic attack. I was zipped into this little two-man job with this two-man-sized guy. It was pitch black. I could barely breathe, but I knew that getting outside the tent would give me about 10 minutes of freedom before I froze to death. So, I stayed in the tent and tried to think of little cute kitties or some crap, which totally didn’t work. My mind went into a recursive death-loop where I was sure my re-circulated toxic air was getting me closer to death with each stilted breath. Oh man, I’ll never forget that night.

So, people have always wondered, “What does this Yuri look like?” Well, I’m finally showing my first photo of him… it’s at the bottom of my “Favorites from Argentina” photo set here.

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

And here is Yuri, sober (sort of). One morning we went on another hike down one of the rivers that was fed by a glacier system. We stopped to get some water on the way, and I grabbed a photo of him. I know I know… he’s just a big old Russian teddy bear, right?

High Dynamic Range Photo

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  • casusan

    I remember – and love- all these shots from Argentina Trey – beautiful and makes you want to go visit! And yes, too I remember the stories of Yuri – sooo funny! I always looked forward to your tales of adventure there – and yes, he does look like a big teddy bear! Fun times kinda I am sure!

  • http://c-weltweit.blogspot.com Christina

    Wow! I’m going to fly in 3 days to Argentinia and after that pictures I’m glad to choose this very nice country. ^_^ Thanks for sharing.
    Wish you happy Christmas!
    Nice greetings from Austria
    Christina

  • Simon Morris

    WOW, amazing photos Trey… the rich, deep blues of the glaciers look fabulous! Great story about your friend Yuri, he looks a friendly chap :-)
    Well, it’s 8:30pm here in New Zealand and the scene has been set in our household… carrots and a saucer of milk have been put out for the reindeers, along with a mince pie and glass of brandy for Santa :-) We sense this could be the last time our 7 year old son believes in the magic of Christmas, he’s asked a few testing questions these past few days so we’ll see what happens this time next year!
    Just want to wish Trey, his family and all fellow ‘Stuck in Customs’ readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year… enjoy! :-)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrandybird/sets/72157625495017836/ Andy Bird

    Haha he looks like Santa Claus without the beard – what a jolly chap with incredible superpowers! That ability to infinitely produce fine liquor from thin air is an awesome trait! Great stories too!

    I’m glad you posted these Argentina images. The Iceland ones have been getting alot of mentions on here lately and quite rightly so but these Argentina ones are definitely on a par with them and deserve the attention. I particularly love the low angle one in the river with the menacing mountains looming in the distance between the rocky valley sides – tremendous!

    I echo Simon’s sentiments and wish you all a wonderful Christmas and hope that Santa is good to you all – YES he still exists!

  • Patrick Ahles

    Beautiful pictures of Argentina, Trey! Quite an ordeal there with Yuri… But you managed and are still with us! ;)

    Over here (South part of the Netherlands) we have some 20 cm of snow, and it is still snowing. Life has almost come to a standstill (lots of wimps over here… :P ). Lots of roads are inaccessible, riding my bike is virtually impossible.

    Let me finish by wishing you and everyone here a Merry Christmas (although I’m sure I will be watching this site tomorrow too!).

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/fullcex/ Filip Farag

    Haha, great story! When I scrolled down to finally see Yuri, I thought he will have that evil russian expression. Actually, he seems like a nice guy to me! Any more photos of him? Maybe some candid-cognac shots? :)

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • http://from2withlove.blogspot.com Beta

    Wow! feels like in a different world!

  • http://16x9cinema.com Carl Olson

    Oooh… one of my favorite places. My daughter and son-in-law live in the Patagonia region on the Chile side. It’s extraordinarily beautiful. We’ve been talking a bit about organizing photo trip in the area sometime next year. It’s been a while since I’ve been there and seeing your inspiring photos make me want to go even more – but without poor Yuri in my tent though :)

  • http://www.jemandes.com Eric McGrew

    Hello Trey,
    I’ve heard many good things about your site and with good reason. Carl Olson, my father-in-law, really likes your site. I have to say that I can understand why. Your photos above make me want to go shoot more myself. Patagonia is incredible isn’t it? Your shots are inspiring. If you ever get over to the Chile site let us know. There are so many good places to see and explore that are truly unique.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com Evan Gearing

    Great shots Trey, but I’m not sure I would mention that you took pictures of Yuri’s huge naked body. I think that’s more info than we need to know, hehe. ;-)

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Thanks all!

    Filip – I’ll have to check my archives for some more candid shots of Yuri! :)

    Eric – Welcome – tell Carl thanks for me… good to have you around!

    Evan – Well, the naked bit was so shocking, I could not get it out of my mind. I wish I could force myself to repress certain things.

  • Dad’s Dad

    Great story-love,dad

  • fvc

    Dude – most of these photographs are from the Chilean side…

  • http://timetotakepictures.blogspot.com/ Keith

    I imagined him as much less clean..and with a beard…haha! Merry Christmas everyone!

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Thanks all!

    fvc – no they ain’t. I hiked this thing with a pretty good map… I know every step of it and know where the Chile side is…. that is… unless you are talking about Chile claiming that a lot of this is their land — but I don’t know exactly where the dispute is.. but every map I was looking at said Argentina (including Google Earth)

  • Filippo

    Trey,
    Apart from taking fantastic photos, you are also a very good writer. I like your writing style as much as your photographic skills. I enjoy your blog very much. Keep up the good work and Buon Natale.

  • Z

    Argentina looks stunning. The photos are so vivid.

  • http://www.kelleybard.com Kelley Bard

    Trey,
    Most of your photos are beautiful and almost all of them open my eyes in some way, either to a technique, composition idea or just to a gorgeous view of a place I want to visit. But it’s your Argentina pics which always seem to have that extra something… they are uniformly incredible. Thanks for taking them, and thanks for sharing them with us! I love love love these photos!

  • http://tharunaism.blogspot.com Jack

    Wow your photos are amazing. The detail and colour is… wow. What camera do you use?? This just inspired me to learn more about photography… its like a different world

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