A Travellerspoint blog

October 2007


Heat and falling water

rain 30 °C
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Arrived in Puerto Iguazu, and were met by extreme heat - lovely! The town was a decent little place, and we found an appartment for $20, which was ok.

At one point, we were walking back from town, and the road was being resurfaced near our place. They had simply poured liquid tar on the road. Alan foolishly decided he could cross it in flip-flops, which was a total failure. The flip-flops got stuck in the tar, broke, and left him walking barefoot across tar. His feet were completely black afterwards, resurfaced like the road - it was starting to look like he would never need shoes again, as he had built in rubber soles...


Luckily, the hotel owner had some cleaning spirits which got rid of the tar - relief.

For a few days it rained really hard. We stayed in doors mostly, watched the rugby final (SHIT). Luckily, the weather did clear up a bit so we could go to the falls - we did the Brazilian side. And they were truly amazing. Huge falls, in the shape of a half moon - apparantly around 2-3 km across. The falls are made up of at least 275 seperate cascades, som up to 82 meters in height. They are much larger than for example Niagara in North America. At first entry, we got a great look at one side of the falls.



Next, we walked along a path through the jungle, here we saw some coatis - nose bears I call them. Really cute.


Also, there were a ton of cool bugs, in all shapes and colours.







At the end of the path, we arrived at the Devil's throat - the largest single fall here. It was huge, we got soaked by the spray and the sound was deafening. Very humbling experience.







After this great trip, on the 23rd we caught a bus on to Salta.

Posted by monkyhands 14:37 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Buenos Aires again

Short stopover

sunny 20 °C
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So from Villa General Belgrano, we went back to the lovely city of Buenos Aires. Had a few things to sort out here. Alan went to a dentist 'cause his tooth was hurting a lot - she said he had an infection, gave him antibiotics and stuffed the hole with cotton wool... Told him to change this "plug" a few times a day, and then come back when the infection was gone to get a "conductor" installed (don't know what this involves as she spoke no English, and my Spanish vobaulary regarding dentistry is very limited - best guess: root canal - OUCH).

Next day, we went back to the cool Bond Street arcade, so Alan could get the tattoo finished off. The guy managed to do the whole Buddha over again, but still some touches missing. Anyway, the colours looked great. In the mean time, I hung around and took some snaps around the arcade and the surrounding area...






Then, on the 18th, we caught a night bus up to Iguazu.

Posted by monkyhands 14:24 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)


Spas and ballade in Villa General Belgrano

semi-overcast 13 °C
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So, we went to Villa General Belgrano, a small town near Cordoba, for the Oktoberfest. The town was apparantly settled by German survivors from a sunken warship - the Admiral Graf Spee. They built a village of red-roofed, wood-frame homes, micro breweries and pastry and chocolate shops. Today, the village survives on a steady flow of tourists with an appetite for German delicacies like apple strudel, leberwurst and spätzle. Oktoberfest here is hailed as the third-most important Oktoberfest site after Munich and Blumenau in Brazil.

Anyway, it was certainly great fun. We checked in and had a look round town.


Then we went off to the beer fest, and tested all the beers... Found a favorite stand called Antares, which had an excellent red beer for me, and a dark beer that Alan liked.


We bought ourselves some beer mugs, and Alan even got a strap to hang it round his neck, so it wouldn't get lost. We are lots of bratwurst and apfel strudel.


There were bands performing - some German and central European ones, but also some from Lebanon and Syria (?). It was all very entertaining, especially the dancing.



Later on, it all got a bit crazy - there were som many people, especially on saturday. Everyone was so drunk and acting crazy. People were falling asleep on the tables, drinking beer bongs or climbing trees.




After that, I don't remember much, and I can barely tell the days apart :) It all got a bit tilted and blurry...


Unfortunately, we don't have pictures of all the best stuff - too drunk to take pictures I guess. Jay got some more shots, maybe he will upload them to Facebook, I hope... Otherwise, that is about it. On monday we headed back to Buenos Aires.

Posted by monkyhands 16:01 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Buenos Aires - More European than Europe itself

... or so the Portenos like to think :)

sunny 14 °C
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On October 2nd, LADE managed to get us transferred to an Aerolineas Argentinas flight, and we made it to Buenos Aires by 2pm. We checked into a shithole of a hotel (that's the risk of booking online I guess, they don't tend to mention the damp in the walls, the spongy matresses or the cockroaches in the fridge). At least it was cheap, and as it was a bit out of town, the area was really cheap as well, for food and the like, which is a great advantage as Buenos Aires as such really isn't very cheap at all.

On the 3rd, we went out to the Indian embassy here in Buenos Aires, to drop off our passports for visas to India. They said it would take till Tuesday to get them done. We then went for a long walk all around Buenos Aires, taking in the colonial buildings and wide boulevards (the city really does look like Madrid, although a run down Madrid).







Also adding to the feel of the place, is the fact that Buenos Aires is dotted with cool murals and graffitti.



We went to the Recoleta area to see a huge mechanical flower-statue there, which opens in the day and closes its leaves at night. Very cool, never seen anything quite like it.




Then we went to the Recoleta cemetery, where the rich and the famous used to bury their families. It is not really like a cemetery as I picture it, but more like a collection of crypts, some of them huge and extremely decorated and fancy. We sat around and ate strawberries while watching the tour groups. We saw (of course) Evita's grave there.







October 4th, we went shopping. A lot of our clothes are old and worn out by now, so we got some bits to renew our wardrobes. First we went to the pedestrian street of Florida, which is modern and European - and priced like it as well.



Most of the stuff we bought, we found on much cheaper Pueyrredon in the Once area, which is lined with clothing shops selling non-branded clothing. On our walk from one area to another, we came across some sort of demonstration - they are common here, and add to the feeling of Buenos Aires.



On the 5th there was a huge thunderstorm here, the streets flooded and some of the subway lines were closed. We stayed in our area and tried to stay dry.

October 6th, Jay and Milena came into town. All the hotels were full for the weekend, so they crashed in our damp cell of a room. We all went to a feria in the glitzy Recoleta area, which was lovely, as the sun was shining today, and drying all the water from the day before. Stalls selling handicrafts, jewellery, wallets, bags etc.

On October 7th, we went to another feria - this time the weekly antiques fair in San Telmo. Lovely area, with old buildings and cobbled streets.




The stalls sold all sorts of stuff (mostly weird junk). They sold costume jewellery, old siphon bottles, boxes and jars, hats and fur coats - and even old antique syringes (?).





It was another nice day out in Buenos Aires, and various street performers added to the colour and noise of the place - tango dancers, living statues, and even a samba parade.








October 8th, we sorted out some tickets for the bus to Villa General Belgrano, for the Oktoberfest. Also booked a hotel there, at an extortionate price, but everything else was full. Found a cabin which all four of us could share. Jay and Milena went back to her house outside of Bs As, and we went to visit passage called Bond Street, which Milena had mentioned. It is a shopping mall, full of tattoo parlours and shops selling goth and alternative clothing. Cool place. Alan booked an appointment for the next day, to get the mess that the tattoo guy in Mexico city had made.

On October 9th, we went back to Bond Street, and Alan did a sitting of three hours. The guy fixed the lotus and the other flower up, in colour (!), and they came out great. Al made another appointment for next week after the Oktoberfest, to get the rest touched up.

On the 10th, we checked out of the hotel, hung around town and then caught the night bus to Villa General Belgrano.

Posted by monkyhands 17:36 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

El Calafate

Icebergs and glaciers in Southern Patagonia

overcast 5 °C
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On September the 27th, we just waited for our bus in Puerto Madryn. Jay and Milena headed back to Buenos Aires at 3pm, and we caught an all night bus to Rio Gallegos at 6.30 pm.

The 28th, we arrived in Rio Gallegos at 2pm, and then got straight on a bus to El Calafate. It took about 4 ½ hours, and then we went to the Hostel America del Sur and got checked in.

On Saturday the 29th, we went on a boat tour on Lago Argentino, in the Parque Nacional los Glaciares, to see glaciers. This national park, created in 1937, is the second largest in Argentina. Its name refers to the giant ice cap (the biggest outside Antarctica and Greenland) in the Andes range that feeds 47 large glaciers, of which only 13 flow towards the Atlantic Ocean. In other parts of the world, glaciers start at a height of at least 2,500 meters above sea level, but due to the size of the Ice Cap, these glaciers begin at only 1,500 m, sliding down to 200 m, eroding the surface of the mountains that support them.

We went first to a peninsula, from where we did a short walk through a forest, to a smaller lake, Lago Onelli, which is fed by several smaller glaciers.





The lake was completely packed with ice chunks and small icebergs.



After that, we sailed past the smaller, receding Seco glacier and on to the Spegazzini glacier, which is the tallest in the park. Its walls are between 80 an 130 meters tall.



From there, we sailed on to the Upsala glacier (named after the Swedish city), which is the largest in the park, It is around 4 km wide, and really was impressive. The Upsala Glacier is a large valley glacier, which flows out from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. The terminus of the glacier is at Lago Argentino. The Upsala Glacier is well known for its rapid retreat, which many see as evidence for global warming.



Several huge chunks of ice broke off while we were watching, and crashed into the water. The water around the glacier was full of huge icebergs, and we had to manoeuvre between them to get back out. Amazing to see how blue the ice really is, and not white as you’d expect.




It was a grey, cold and rainy day, with grey skies, but it was cheered a bit by several rainbows.



September 30th, we chilled out, and went to watch the Ireland v. Argentina rugby game - which Ireland unfortunately lost.

On October 1st, we went to the airport to catch a flight to Buenos Aires on LADE air. They told us the flight was delayed, and so we waited till around 9pm, when they finally told us it was cancelled. The airline then put us up in a hotel, and said we would be able to get seats on Aerolineas Argentinas the next morning.

Posted by monkyhands 12:23 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

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