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  • Day80

    Argentinian Interlude

    October 29, 2017 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Once we had floated over the Parana River into Argentina at Puerto Iguazu, we laboured up the long steep hill into town, in the heat, with our bags. We only had Paraguayan money, and dollars, and there was no means of exchanging it for Argentinian pesos at the little port where we had landed, so the offer of a taxi was not an option. At the top, we went straight to the nearest Cambio to stand in front of the large fan, then took a taxi to the hotel. Once settled, (and chilled), we walked into town, which we now knew to be quite close by, for lunch. We ate at a self-service buffet restaurant which charged by weight and had a Robert de Niro look-alike waiter who served your drinks and puds. Really good, home made fare, and the most delicious lemon soufflé with passion fruit sauce, which we had again when we visited a second time :)

    In the afternoon, we decided to go over into Brazil, just 30 minutes away by bus. Definitely a wasted trip. There was nothing to see, and by the time we got there, all the shops were closing - we hadn't factored in the time difference between Argentina and Brazil. We were told that the bus back also stopped at the central plaza with a cathedral (as well as at the bus terminal), so we decided to walk there to catch it, so that, in Chris' words, "At least we would have seen something of interest." We marched down the longest central street, in history, ever, in a gathering wind, dry leaves swirling Oz-like around our heads, large drops of rain staining our t shirts. We never visited the church, just a bus stop, where we waited about half an hour for our number - well, at least we got another stamp in our passport. That afternoon and evening, we experienced some real rainforest weather, so to avoid a head to toe soaking, we went straight to an early dinner from Brazil, rather than going back to the hotel.

    Next day was our trip to the Iguazu Falls. Once we arrived at the National Park, we caught the little tourist train to the walkway that takes you to the top of the Falls. Just after the previous load of passengers had disembarked, some wild things came out of the woods and got on - a team of coatis, the South American Raccoons, who kindly swept the carriage for us before our trip. They were everywhere at the park - on and under the cafe tables, scurrying around our feet, or competing for the midges with the capuchin monkey, who was currently on the roof of the drinks bar. The birds were velvety rich, with teddy glass eyes and silk fan crests, and the trees were dressed with spidery, acid-lemon orchids. The cataracts are huge - there are so many falls within the Falls, and so many different levels and directions in which they drop from the massive rocks and cliffs that make up Iguazu, that unless you are in a helicopter, or have a drone, it is impossible to view them as a whole. There are mini forests growing on some of the largest outcrops at the centre of the Falls, yet the tiniest swifts dart in and out of the spray, which often obliterates whole sections of the sight as it drops, and spumes back up to the sky where the condors soar. I imagined the birds living in the smallest holes and caves, under the weight of water, along the river bed. Photographs cannot capture the scale and drama of the scene.

    On our last morning in Puerto Iguazu, we took a walk to the edge of town, to a monument overlooking the Parana, with views of the banks of the other two countries (Brazil and Paraguay), that, along with Argentina, make up the three frontiers on the river. I bought a dinosaur shark tooth pendant from a craft stall to remember the day.
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