Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Our last two destinations have been the grand finale to a wonderful trip. The Iguacu Falls, from both the Argentinian and Brasilian sides, far exceeded our imaginings. Even though Marie and I had seen photos of them nothing we'd seen had prepared us for their thundering majestic reality, and the huge area they command – they are awe inspiring. We also visited a Bird Park on the Brasilian side of the Falls, where we were taken by the toucans, and fell in love with gorgeous red ibis. As for the butterflies and hummingbirds – every colour you can imagine – and a turquoise one fell in love with Marie and did a dance around her, obviously seeking her attention! It was so hot on the Brasil side, and we marvelled that we'd been paddling in brash ice a week previously. Our kayak guide on Polar Pioneer told us he'd paddled all along the top of the falls - how scarey that would be!!! (Marie says - 'not for her' - I wonder why!)
We stayed at a very charming and delightful B&B in Iguacu City, called The Secret Garden. Our host was John Fernandes who made our visit there memorable. We would thoroughly recommend this as a wonderfully restful and well appointed haven.
We've been back in Buenos Aires now for 4 days. We've been enchanted with the Boca area, seen some stunning tango dancing, done a citywide familiarization tour, another tour to the Delta (River Plate) and Tigre areas, and been to a Sunday market in San Telmo – taking up at least 10 blocks plus one plaza, seen a stirring, vibrant and very noisy street parade (they don't do things by halves here), and thorough enjoyed drinking and eating. It's all been great fun! And yes, we've been shopping, a little bit here and there, and probably the other place too. Staying at the America del Sur Hostel in San Telmo, and getting to mix with other travellers, young and old, from many parts of the world, has been the best accommodation decision for us here. The staff are amazingly friendly, right from the minute you step through the only one year old plate glass doors. Our 3rd floor room does front the very narrow street though, and the traffic just doesn't seem to stop – trucks, buses, carts, people – it's all happening out there.
Been at Buenos Aires a few days now. What a huge busy city. The Argentinans seem to be a happy lot, loud and demonstrative and enjoy life.
Have done a few touristy things like a city tour which gave us an overall look around the city, beautiful suburbs and the slums. There are a lot of them (bit of an eye opener for me) with the tour ending up at La Boca (Jillian and I actually went back there for a day, as it's fascinating with its brightly painted buildings, stalls, cafes and of course tango dancing. The next day saw us doing the Parana River/Rio de la Plata Delta Tour by boat. The Delta is made up of 5000+ waterways, the current delta population being 3000 residents. Lovely lovely homes on an equally beautiful waterway (especially so as it was a hot day).
Yesterday (Sunday) Defensa Street, located near us, closed up for the Sunday market day. People everywhere of course and hundreds and hundreds of stalls (we certainly seemed to go through the pesos). We were lucky to catch up with a street parade finishing off the market day. A lot of bongo drums, dancing, girls with feather headdresses and a wide range of costumes.
I forgot to mention Iguazu! I was fascinated by the power and force of the many falls. I got saturated when our boat went right under the falls, nosing right up to the cliffs - and all the time trying to take photos. Jillian was laughing her head off.
I also forgot to mention the Bird Park - we've done such a lot. I loved the birds, especially the devil-in-their-eye toucans. I was disappointed that a macaw never sat on my shoulder, as we'd been told "take your earrings out or the macaw will take them out for you".
Our last day here and I am sure we can spend a few more pesos. Maybe try out the tango dancing.
JILLIAN - again - Tuesday morning
We came unstuck with our plans yesterday. We'd intended to visit a milonga tango dancing gathering, where everyone and anyone goes to just enjoy tango. However, we'd planned a quick visit/tour to some outlet factories, to look for a handbag for me, and shoes. It took forever; and longer, so long that the tango event was over. I just couldn't find a bag to my liking, and ended up feeling knackered and rather fedup. The tour guide pointed us in the direction of Florida (street) after about 3 hours (groan), and I found just the right bag, almost by chance! And then we walked many blocks back to America del Sur, where we spent a delightful evening with some new Swiss friends, enjoying each others experiences.
That's all for now. It's a holiday here and we've been told nothing is open, but we're off to check out a cafe, and find an ATM for pesos for our account here. Chao for now.
What's next? Hmmmm - been looking at northern Argentina and Chile; at the salt deserts; at La Salta. Looks absolutely gorgeous. Bought a beautifully presented book of photos of up there ........... :-)