Argentina
Argentina

Curious what backpackers do in Argentina? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

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  • Day31

    Puerto Madryn, Argentina

    February 3 in Argentina

    Well, I’m feeling a lot better and ready to participate more fully in our off-the-ship activities! It’s funny, though, the medicinal alcohol consumption was so helpful. And, as Jeff mentioned, having a butler supplying anything you might need certainly softens the fact that you’re not feeling 100%. In addition to whatever I asked for, he always managed to bring “just one more thing” that he was sure would make me feel better. He really is like a mother!
    We had our first stop in Argentina after being told not to wear anything that has “Falkland Islands” on it. 35 years has not wiped away the bad feelings of the conflicts that occurred during the early 80’s. We are still in the Patagonia region of South America.
    Puerto Madryn is a resort town that primarily serves people from Buenos Aires with 3 flights per week. They are quite eco-conscious and have a nice center that explains about how they are protecting their marine life. There are penguins, sea lions and right whales here. In certain areas, you might also see Orca whales. As I mentioned, this is a beach resort, and on this particular Saturday, the beach was packed with people! And so many people swimming in the ocean-I have to say that these are hearty souls because the ocean temperature is 60 degrees!
    The terrain is quite a bit like the desert Southwest in the US. Dry, scrubby plants are indicative of the hot, dry climate here and dust is everywhere. All daily use water is brought in. The descriptions of the snakes and tarantulas caused me some trepidation when stepping out of the bus.
    We visited a sheep farm and, since we are in the land of the “gaucho”, got to see gauchos in both their traditional dress and modern dress. We saw a sheep get sheared, which is a fascinating process that I had never experienced before. With practiced shearing, the wool comes off in one intact piece that was huge and hard to believe it all came off one sheep!
    Tomorrow we are flying inland to see Iguazu Falls on an overnight trip.
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  • Day47

    The Final Day in The Big Apple

    June 13 in Argentina

    They say that all good things must eventually come to an end. This trip was most certainly a "good thing", but now the time has come for it to draw to a close. The weather in Buenos Aires is now cold and grey - a far cry from the hot and sunny days we experienced in Peru at the start of the adventure. We do not need any reminder that winter is now truly with us and that those sunny days are just a memory.

    This morning we took a final walk around this city, passing by the famous Casa Rosada on our way to the docklands region. The last time I walked this route the sun was shining brightly and the streets were thronged with people. This time the winter chill has kept the crowds out of sight. Those few that have braved the elements are bundled into winter gear and thick coats. The docklands which were previously alive with so many people were almost deserted. Maybe this is another message that the time is right for us to return home.

    Tomorrow we leave the hotel in the wee small hours of the morning to begin the long journey back home to Melbourne. Paul and I have been going over some of the highlights of the past 5 weeks. It truly has been full of so many sights and experiences that I think it has exceeded all of our expectations. It is probably unlikely that I will ever return to South America, but I am so glad that I had this opportunity to share this trip with so many wonderful companions.

    Now I am ready to go home and take a well earned break before the next adventure on the Compostela de Santiago.
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  • Day34

    Well today had just about everything. It began with a 4 am alarm and an early morning dash through the back streets of Arequipa to beat the blockade around the city by striking workers. It certainly was an interesting way to start a new adventure. At one stage the road was blocked by a large rock in the middle, but our driver managed to wriggle the bus around it.

    Then we entered the tiny check in area of Arequipa airport to find it in a state of complete chaos. The check in queues stretched as far as we could see. If that wasn't bad enough , the departure time for our flight was actually brought forward by 25 minutes.

    After eventually boarding our flight to Lima we arrived at the Lima airport just in time for a full blown fire alert, with sirens, flashing lights and an immediate full evacuation of the terminal buildings. For some time we stood on the tarmac, surrounded by fire and emergency personnel. It was one of those moments.

    One thing we did notice and appreciate was the extra oxygen in our air. After spending the past three weeks cycling, trekking and living between 3000 and 5000 metres, it was a real delight to be able to exert ourselves without having to gasp for air.

    We finally got back in the building in time to board our flight to Iguassu. The flight travels over some of the most incredible barren landscapes you could see anywhere (see the images). Most of the plane was filled with Japanese and Koreans whose behaviour was dreadful. Every time the stewards asked people to return to their seats because of turbulence, the aisles were full of these people wandering and stumbling all over the place. You would think they had never been on a plane before.

    We finally landed in Iguassu in Brazil just after dark, only to find only 1 immigration desk open resulting in a very long wait time. When we finally reached the primitive baggage collection area we were relieved to find all our luggage, but many other people from other groups were not so lucky. Apparently many bags went somewhere else. That was a problem we could well do without.

    We left the terminal and were relieved to find a new guide and luxury bus waiting for us. We were also bemused to see the first rain we had seen since leaving Melbourne. After first crossing the border into Argentina we took a short 30 min bus ride to the best hotel, right next to the famous waterfalls - surely one of the natural wonders of the world.

    We are now all safely ensconced in the lovely Melia Hotel, right next to Iguassu Falls in Argentina. The rooms are sheer luxury and the free dinner they provided for us (because we are the famous Ghostriders) was divine. It's a pity that we could not spend more time here.

    Tomorrow we tour the falls from both the Argentina and Brazil sides.

    We were warned not to leave our hotel windows open because the monkeys will enter our room and steal our stuff. We really are a long way from Peru now.
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  • Day40

    It's not easy waking up at 1.00 am. But when your flight is scheduled at 4.50 am in the morning, that is what you have to do. When the alarm sounded it would have been so easy to just switch it off and ignore it. If I did that I knew that the consequences would have been even more dire than our missing the ferry yesterday.

    I rolled out of bed, jammed my luggage closed and made my way down to the foyer. The hotel was situated within the airport precinct, but outside it was dark, cold and deserted. It felt a little strange to have now separated from the rest of the group. From now on it would be just Paul and me.

    At 2.00 am our taxi arrived and we jammed our luggage and ourselves aboard for the short trip to the terminal building. The driver was interested in where we were from (in fact this is the most commonly asked question) and told us that he would like to bring his family to Australia. Since he had previously spent two years in the USA his English was very good. In fact he seemed like just the sort of person who would be an asset to our country.

    We gave him a modest tip for his service and he was genuinely thankful. It was a good way to start the day. When the time came to check in for our flight (it was the first of the day), we were happy to see that very few were lined up in the queue. To our great relief this meant that the flight was only very lightly booked and there were dozens of empty seats throughout the plane. If only all flights were like this.... I propped my head against the window and managed to sleep for almost the entire flight.

    A couple of hours later we were descending to land at Salta Airport. It was still pitch dark outside and the plane braked to an abrupt stop on the short runway. It did not take long for our luggage to join us and we exited the terminal to find a driver waiting for us. We knew it was for us because he had the name "HARRY DAWSON" proudly printed on a piece of cardboard.

    Soon we were making our way along the quiet streets to our hotel. Although we were extremely early, the hotel managed to find an empty room for us to rest in. We also sneaked our way to the breakfast room to take advantage of the breakfast buffet. In the overall scheme of things, I am sure this is classed a "minor sin".

    Paul and I then decided to explore the city. Our initial impressions were very favourable. The streets were clean, the shops modern and the air was fresh. At 1200 metres elevation Salta is nowhere near as high as we were a couple of weeks earlier and we relished the cool, clean air of the early morning.

    We arrived at the central plaza just in time to hear the music playing. We were soon joined by a large marching band that proudly welcomed us to their city. I assumed that they had heard we were coming and had been patiently waiting to perform for us. Their gesture was surely appreciated.

    Later in the day we were treated to a half day bus tour of the city. We were the only English speaking people on board and the monotone drone of the guide/driver soon had me on another trip altogether - to the wonderful Land of Nod. It was most relaxing.

    Tomorrow morning we once again start early and take a 200 km bus journey to Cafayate. This is a famous region that is located at a significantly higher altitude than the 1200 metre high elevation of Salta. It promises to be a long and interesting day.
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  • Day41

    A Lovely Day in Mexico

    June 7 in Argentina

    Up until now I had never been to Mexico. Along with the Congo, Kazahkstan, Iceland and about 160 other countries I had never had any reason or desire to travel to the land of cacti, sombreros and siestas. You can therefore imagine my surprise when that is exactly where I found myself. Well almost.

    The day began with yet another early start and a long 200 km bus trip to the mysterious sounding Cafayate region of Salta. When putting together this part of the trip, I cannot now recall why I decided to include the Cafayate, other that it probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

    After making our way out of Salta, the bus joined the famous "Route 68", apparently one of the most "iconic" national highways of Argentina. Paul and I were both clutching our passports since we had been warned that, on any national highway, police roadblocks are common and everyone has to produce their identity papers. Neither of us had any wish to be sent to some sort of Argentinian salt mine, so we decided to behave ourselves.

    About two hours later we were leaving the flat plateau and entering into a strange, alien looking landscape of huge twisted and raised tectonic plates. Whole mountains appeared to have been lifted and dumped on their sides. Weird manifestations had been given wonderful names like The Titanic, Amphitheatre, Devil's Throat, Obelisk, etc. This was not what we expected to see. If fact I am not sure what we expected, but it wasn't this. In any case, it really was impressive.

    From time to time the bus stopped to allow us time to take photos of the landscape. Each time this happened three young American girls took the opportunity to do what all young Gen Y people now do - take selfies of themselves in front of each and every interesting place. When they got back on the bus they then spent the next 10 minutes admiring every photo. Sad but true.

    As well as the amazing mountains, there were also numerous cacti scattered across the barren landscape. Apparently it only rains here for about 2 months of the year. The rest of the time it really is as dry as dust. At this time of the year every day is clear and sunny, although the temperatures do plummet to around freezing very soon after sunset. It is actually the perfect time of the year to visit. The air at 1500 metres was clear and fresh and the viewing was excellent.

    We were also warned about the various dangerous creatures that live here in the desert. These include Black Widow spiders, huge tarantulas and rattle snakes. Apparently the huge spiders can sometimes be seen running across the road, maybe with a large rabbit in their mouths. On this day we didn't see any, although I would have loved to.

    After passing through the Cafayate Mountain region we finally reached the lovely little town of Cafayate. To our delight it looked even more Mexican than any town in Mexico possibly could have. With the brightly coloured shops, large central plaza (every town has a plaza) and the blazing blue sky overhead, it really seemed magical.

    Paul and I found a sunny cafe and sat down to enjoy a cup of coffee. A few of the local stray dogs were sleeping in the early afternoon sun, while the rest of the population looked like they had knocked off for the daily siesta. After the early start to our day, a sleep would have been very welcome. In any case, we were both really glad that we had discovered this treasure.

    We wandered back to the bus to face the long journey back to Salta. We followed the same route back, however the changing angle of the sun allowed some better photos to be taken. As the afternoon drew on, the gentle rocking of the slow moving bus rocked just about every one on board into a deep sleep. It had been a lovely day.

    In the evening Paul and I wandered to the centre of Salta in search of dinner. Hundreds of people were happily walking the streets. A few buskers filled the evening air with bright music and many of the old colonial buildings were beautifully lit with feature lighting. We both agreed that this seemed to be quite a lovely place to live. We also agreed that the cold was starting to creep up our legs so we returned to the hotel to thaw out.

    Tomorrow we have a free day to do some more exploration of this fascinating city.
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  • Day42

    We Enjoy a Salta Free Day

    June 8 in Argentina

    After more than a month of quite relentless travelling, I always look forward to the occasional "rest day". It is a blessed relief to not have a tight schedule to adhere to, and it also gives an opportunity to make some inroads into that other pressing task of catching up with laundry.

    Once again I awoke to yet another perfectly clear morning. I really could get used to this climate. With its low humidity and perfectly clear and dry weather, it was absolutely perfect for exploring this delightful city on two feet.

    On our previous walks around the city I was impressed to see that all the stray dogs had been provided with lovely warm coats to wear. With the extremely cold nights that you get at this time of the year, I could appreciate that the dogs must have been grateful. I could also believe that any city that showed such compassion for its stray dogs had a lot going for it.

    After breakfast Paul and I headed back to the central plaza. It seems that any exploration of a colonial city must always start with the plaza as that is where all the action always seems to take place. We had heard that the Museum of High Altitude Archaeology had a fascinating exhibit of an Incan mummy and we both wanted to see it. Unfortunately so did about 200 local school children who were already lined up at the entrance. Judging by their behaviour it was evident that most of them must have been fed copious amounts of red cordial before the excursion. Or maybe they just didn't get out much.

    Whatever the reason for their exuberance, we decided that it might be a good idea to come back later in the day. Hopefully the kids might have left by then. We walked through the city to the base of the nearby San Bernando Hill. This small mountain dominates the landscape of Salta and has a modern cable car to take visitors to the summit.

    We went to the ticket office and were delighted to see that there was a special rate for "elderly" travellers. After carrying my senior's card all over South America, now it was finally time to make it pay. And it did. The elderly price was about half the price for "normal" people, so sometimes being ancient really does have its own perks.

    Thus equipped with our special elderly tickets we staggered to the nearest gondola and made our way to the summit. The views down over the city were superb and the neat rectangular layout of the streets was clearly evident. Unfortunately the glorious views at the top of the mountain were offset by the extremely loud music that was blasting from the cable car station. After a brief stay we climbed on board for the downward trip back to the town.

    On our way back to the plaza we found ourselves in a group of high school students. Judging by the nice clothes and makeup they were wearing and the impressive smart phones they were carrying, we got the impression that the town was relatively quite prosperous. We have not seen a single beggar or homeless person since we arrived here and the modern shops and dozens of classy eateries all seem to be doing a very healthy trade.

    Back at the museum the rowdy schoolchildren were nowhere in sight. I walked to the counter and proudly produced my elderly card to get another discount. It didn't work here. Only locals get the lower rate. At least I tried.

    The main exhibit in the museum is an incredibly well preserved mummy that was found on the top of a 6700 metre volcano. I guess it must have been a bit disappointing when the first modern climbing team reached the summit, only to discover that the Incans had been there over 500 years earlier. Not only had they climbed just about every major summit,but had done so without oxygen, modern gear, climbing boots, etc. They had also carried enormous amounts of artefacts to the snow covered peaks and dug excavations to bury their preserved offerings to Patchamama. It was an amazing feat.

    The mummies that have been discovered on the highest peaks are mostly of young children which had bee specially chosen because of their perfect beauty. They were amazingly preserved and the one in the museum at Salta really did look like she was just sleeping. Not only was the body almost unmarked, but the clothing and other items were as pristine as the day she was buried. It really was quite touching to see her beautiful face and the sensitive way her body had been arranged. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any pictures in the museum, but maybe that was not such a bad thing. Perhaps the sleeping child mummy was entitled to some dignity.

    Apparently the Incans did not look on it as a human sacrifice. They believed that they were taking the special chosen one to the highest place where she would be close to heaven and would be able to see out over all the surrounding region. I could not help but wonder if the body should not have been left in peace where she had been placed all those years ago.

    After our time at the museum it was almost time for afternoon siesta. After all , when in Salta, do as the Saltanas do, or something like that. It was a habit that I could easily grow accustomed to.

    Much later in the afternoon Paul and I ventured out for a lovely coffee at a nearby coffee shop and then made our way back to the plaza. Where else would we go ? A gaucho band was getting ready to play. We had arrived just in time for some free lively entertainment. The sun was dipping behind the colonial buildings and the chill was already coming into the air. A lovely dog was enjoying being patted by those listening to the band. It obviously enjoyed the attention and its warm coat would ensure it did not suffer too much when the temperature dropped. Young lovers sat on the seats and cuddled. Everyone seemed genuinely happy. It had been another typical day in Salta.

    Tomorrow we head further north to the very top of Argentina. Another chapter of our adventure is about to unfold.
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  • Day46

    A Visit to Evita Duarte

    June 12 in Argentina

    I guess it had to happen sooner or later. Ever since we had arrived in Lima about 5 weeks ago, we had not experienced a single wet day. Not a single one. Not on any day of cycling. Not on any day of trekking to Machu Picchu. Not ever. In fact, on most days, we did not even see a cloud. It was uncanny.

    It was only a matter of time before that incredible run of good fortune had to come to a close. That day was today. Paul and I had previously decided to revisit the Recoleta Cemetery and the famous La Boca region of the city, however when I looked out of my window early in the morning I was not rewarded with the normal view of cloudless blue skies. In fact the sky had clouded over and I could even see that the streets six floors below me were a little shiny with recent rain.

    In some respects I was not disappointed. Rain is a normal part of life (especially for a cyclist) and it really would have been almost paranormal to complete the entire trip without so much as a drop from the heavens. I looked for my winter clothes and prepared to leave the hotel, but heard a noise from the streets near the Obelisk. It was a demonstration about to begin. Since I had a grandstand view of the proceedings, I decided to watch.

    In a few minutes a convoy of police vehicles had arrived and disgorged a line of riot police. Soon the police greatly outnumbered the small band of protesters. The protesters did their best to maintain the rage, but it soon ran out of steam and the small band dispersed quietly. The traffic in the streets quickly returned to normal.

    Since the Recoleta district was not too far from our hotel, Paul and I decided to walk. At that time the rain was not much more than a fine drizzle, although it was sufficient to dampen our trousers and shoes. Soon we were wandering the famous cemetery, which is the final resting place of hundreds of Buenos Aires richest and most powerful citizens. The most famous occupant is Evita Peron (Duarte) whose dark mausoleum is still visited by hundreds of people every day. Although she died way back in 1952, aged only 33, her legend has not diminished with the passage of time.

    Paul and I spent some time wandering the macabre streets of the dead, however the rain started falling more heavily and it was beginning to creep into my clothing. It was time to find our way back to our hotel to warm up and dry out.

    In the early afternoon the skies had lightened a little, the rain had stopped and the sun even peeped out a couple of times. We decided to visit La Boca district. This district is one of the more seedy parts of Buenos Aires, but is popular among tourists for its brightly coloured buildings, mostly constructed out of corrugated iron sheeting. Apparently these were originally constructed by the fishermen of the city out of cast off materials.

    The hotel concierge had warned us about walking to La Boca, as the surrounding streets are deemed to be unsafe for tourists. We decided to take a taxi instead. After a few minutes of erratic driving by the taxi man, we began to think that it would have been safer to take our chances with the local muggers. After whizzing through numerous red lights and narrowly missing a group of pedestrians on a pedestrian crossing, we somehow survived to reach La Boca.

    We found that the morning rain had somehow dampened down the spirits of the famous Caminita St. Most of the stalls were closed, the cafes were empty and the place looked even more down at heel than usual. Nevertheless we sat down to a lunch of empanadas and then spent an hour or so wandering the alleyways. Another hair raising taxi ride took us back to the centre of town.

    By that time the temperature had dropped and the wind chill made the place absolutely freezing. It really felt like a bleak winter's day in Melbourne. At least it would help prepare us for the weather we were likely to expect when we step out of the plane at Tullamarine in three day's time.
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  • Day37

    A Day of Leisure in BA

    June 3 in Argentina

    Anyone who knows me would appreciate that I am usually an early riser, in fact for most of the past four weeks I have getting up between 4.30 and 5.00 am. I think I lost the ability to sleep in once I passed the age of 21. You can therefore imagine my great surprise when I was disturbed from a complicated dream by a large bang outside my hotel room door. It took my eyes some time for my eyes to focus, and my brain a lot longer to emerge from its nocturnal confusion. I struggled to check my watch. Surely it cannot really be 9.10 am ??? Actually it was. Apparently all the excitement of those long legged tango dancers the previous evening had left me so exhausted that I had slept for over 9 hours. Absolutely unprecedented.

    I quickly showered, got dressed and went to the breakfast room. Only three of my fellow travellers were still there. Apparently the rest had already breakfasted and disappeared out int the city. A look out the front door showed that it was to be yet another perfect day. If this weather could hold for just one more day we would be able to take enormous pride in the fact that the entire trip had been spent without a drop of rain during the day time.

    I decided that I would spend the day doing what I often do in cities that I do not know well. I would just walk the streets and see where my feet took me. I was also hoping to get another memory card for my camera since my previous one had failed the day before.

    When I asked the concierge where I might be able to buy such a card, he rolled his eyes. "But today is Sunday", he said, as if that explained everything. I looked at him. "Everything is closed today", he added, in case I was a bit slow.

    When I left the hotel I soon saw what he meant. The streets were deserted. Almost no walkers and even fewer cars. It was quite eerie. All the shops were closed and covered by grates or shutters. At least it was easy to cross the road. I could have just walked down the centre of the road.

    I set off looking for any sign of life. My circuitous route took me finally back to the main avenue of the city, the mighty Avenida 9 de Julio. This enormous avenue is over 140 m across and was named after the date that Argentina obtained its independence. I had to admit that, in the brilliant late autumn sunshine, it really did look superb.

    Without having any other real aim in mind I gradually worked my way towards the waterside. The old harbour area has now been converted into a trendy waterfront entertainment precinct, filled with cafes and outdoor eateries. As the day wore on, gradually more people started to emerge and wander the waterfront paths. I found a nice place to have lunch while where I could watch the world pass me by just outside.

    This also gave me a great chance to think back over the past few weeks and evaluate how the trip had gone. At the end of every trip it is easy to reassess and think where things could have been improved. In this case I came to the decision that there was virtually nothing that I would wish to do differently. We had all shared an incredible experience together and everyone had cooperated brilliantly to make sure that it was a fantastic success. In a couple of days the group will all go their separate ways but I know that the time we spent together in this incredible continent will remain with us for ever.

    I decided to cross over the far side of the waterfront to take advantage of the warm sunshine on that side. I had not walked far before I stumbled upon a large concrete area which had been taken over by a large crowd of testosterone charged teenage boys on special trials bikes. Each lad took the centre stage for a few seconds to demonstrate his latest tricks. One by one they performed impressive jumps, mono wheeled riding and all sorts of quite clever tricks. A few teenage girls looked on, waiting to be impressed by the next performance. I had to admit that it really was interesting.

    As I made my way back towards the hotel I could not help but notice how much Buenos Aires really does remind me of Paris. Not only are many of the public buildings and apartment buildings built in the classic French style, but even the gardens and street lights look like they could have come straight out of a French planning guide.

    I detoured back around the Casa Rosada (the official office of the Argentine President) and more famously known as being the place where Evita addressed her adoring masses in the plaza. Soon I found myself in the middle of a huge street celebration. To my surprise it was celebration of all things Russian. Russian dancing, clothing, food, travel and music. The streets were full of Russians. I wasn't expecting that, but that is sort of what South America is all about. It is certainly never boring.

    I have a simple way of numerically classifying how much I like any particular city. I simply ask myself how long I would be prepared to live there if I had to. While some cities, like Juliaca in Peru would get a 1 day rating, I think I could give Lima and Cusco a one month score. On the other hand I really think that Buenos Aires would rightly earn a 1 year score. It is a lovely city with a lot going for it. The streets are generally clean, the parks are amazing, the shops modern and even the traffic flows freely. Because the city plan is largely based on a square grid , it is very easy to find your way around. As well as all that - you can even flush your toilet paper down the toilet. What else could you ask for ?

    Tomorrow we rise early for the final leg of our adventure - the journey across the Rio de La Plata to nearby Uruguay.
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  • Day45

    Hello Obelisco

    June 11 in Argentina

    After so many unforgettable memories and experiences, our time in South America is drawing to a close. After our short time in Salta we had both grown very fond of the place, however we are now reaching the stage where our thoughts are inevitably turning towards home.

    This morning we packed our bags for the second last time. We had been told that our transfer would collect us from our hotel at 7.00 am and that is exactly what happened. A talkative lady walked boldly into the foyer of the hotel and called our names. She introduced herself as Natalie. Or at least that's what I think she said. We have now had so many different guides and drivers that I am starting to get my Jaecos, Raouls and Natalies all mixed together.

    We bundled our gear into the boot of the waiting car, while Natalie explained that it is illegal to carry luggage in the cabin of the vehicle. It seems a little strange where its common for whole families to crowd on board a single motorbike, for cars to highball down the freeways at 140 kph while the driver is happily chewing on cocoa leaves and for all cars to completely ignore double lines to be so particular about where you can put your suitcase. But of course, this is Argentina.

    We found ourselves at the airport in plenty of time and were quickly checked in. The security scan is cursory at best and soon we were seated on our LATAM flight for the 90 minute trip back to Buenos Aires. This was really the beginning of the long journey back to Australia for Paul and me.

    Ninety minutes (and a couple of sleeps) later our plane bounced to a halt, right on time at the Jorge Newberry Auroparque, situated almost in the centre of Buenos Aires. Once again, everything had gone according to plan. We left the plane and made our way to the baggage collection area. Soon the baggage started arriving. I looked out for my distinctive blue bag. People progressively collected their luggage and departed. Paul and I tried not to get concerned, even when the carousel stopped and the trapdoor locked. In all my travels I have never had my luggage go missing and I really hoped that this would not be the first.

    After about 10 minutes the belts started moving again and, to our eternal relief, both of our cases were aboard. All we needed now was a taxi. That was never going to be a problem since there was a tangle of them all fighting for passengers. We were bundled into one of them and charged 490 pesos (about $30) for the short trip to our hotel.

    The absolute centre of Buenos Aires is marked by a huge obelisk. This is the most distinctive sight of the entire city and our hotel was as close to the obelisk as it is possible to be. At least we would never have trouble finding our way home.

    After three nights in this mighty city our adventure will come to a close.
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  • Day36

    We Explore the Big Apple

    June 2 in Argentina

    Since most of our group will only have two days in the huge city of Buenos Aires I looked for some way to give them the very best introduction to some of the unique sights and experiences this place has to offer. I finally came up with an all day sequence of activities that seemed to encompass the best aspects the "Big Apple".

    At 9.00 am our group was gathered in the foyer waiting for our guide and bus to arrive. Fortunately we did not have to wait long before a young, blonde Argentinian girl walked in the door and introduced herself as Mercedes. "Just like the car", she added.

    We climbed into a very comfortable bus and headed out into the streets of the city. Even though it was a Saturday morning, the traffic was very light and the driver had no trouble making his way from place to place. Over the next 4 hours we were able to experience a wonderful succession of fascinating locations.

    The first of these places was the large manicured parkland, situated quite close to our hotel. Apparently it had been designed by a French architect and this certainly showed in the beautiful layout. Another nearby huge sculpture featured a huge stainless steel flower which apparently opens and closes its steel petals according to the amount of sunlight falling on it.

    The next stop was the somewhat macabre Recoleta Cemetery. The most famous "resident" of this place is of course Evita Peron, however it is well worth visiting for its curiosity value alone. Over the course of over a century, the wealthy and powerful citizens of Buenos Aires had huge mausoleums constructed so that they could be buried in the style to which they had become accustomed during their lifetimes. Many of these structures are massive and even feature multiple levels and basements. The sad thing is that the process of decay is unstoppable and all of these tombs are steadily deteriorating and returning to dust and ashes. Some still contains the fragile remains of flowers that were placed there following the funeral, so many years previously.

    Of course no visit to the Recoleta would be complete without visiting Evita's grave. Every day passionate admirers still adorn her mausoleum with fresh flowers and gifts. Considering she died over 60 years ago, this is quite incredible.

    Unfortunately Evita was not the only dead item in this location. While taking my photos, the memory card in my camera also decided to die. Perhaps it was some sort of curse for poking my head through some of the broken doors to old graves, or maybe it was just bad luck, but the card just failed for no reason and, along with its demise, went all the pictures I had taken that morning. Fortunately I had backed up all the previous images the night before, ,or else I really would have been quite upset.

    We then proceeded to visit the central plaza, featuring the Casa Rosada. This is the official office of the President of Argentina and was most famous as being the place that Evita addressed her adoring supporters from the balcony.

    Also in this location was the main cathedral of Buenos Aires. We entered just as a mass was taking place. Somehow we seemed to take a wrong turn and sort of got involved in the liturgy, much to the chagrin of the organist and cantor. I had to admit I was more than a little embarrassed, although I did enjoy the amazing acoustics of the place. It took all of my self control not to break out into my famous Benedictine chant of "My Father can play dominoes better than your father".....

    We slowly worked our way out of the city and finally ended up at the town of Tigre (tiger) situated some 35 km from the heart of the city. It was here that we climbed aboard a powerful cruiser and headed off through some of the myriad of channels that make up the river delta. The most amazing feature of this location is that around 4000 people have set up residence here. They have built a kind of hippy world of stilt houses and piers, all steadily sliding back into the mud of the delta. This was an entirely unexpected and fascinating insight int this alternative way of life.

    After returning to our hotel for a rest and a change of clothes it was time for our entertainment for the evening. We had booked a dinner and tango show at the famous El Quarendi. According to my research this is one of the best tango shows in the city. Since I know nothing about the tango, I had no idea what to expect.

    When we arrived at the sumptuous restaurant/theatre we were ushered to the very front table. That was a surprise since I thought we would be given the cheap seats. The waiters started serving various types of wine which was good for the drinkers in our group but not very exciting for me. Since I had idea about the food I decided to just accept the waiters suggestions for each course.

    By 10 pm the final guests had arrived and the music started to begin the tango show. Over the next hour we were entertained with some extreme high speed tango dancing and brilliant music. Since I was at the front, there were times when I could feel the swish from those long fishnet stockinged legs, just a few cm from my face. It was certainly enough to make a simple guy feel all hot and bothered. It was soon clear that the real secret of the tango is that it is really all about sexual excitement and stimulation. Even though it was well past my normal bedtime, I managed to stay awake for the whole show.

    When the show ended and my heartrate started to subside we were told that "our bus was waiting outside". We piled out into the cool night air and laughed about what we had just seen. It was a perfect beginning to our time in this captivating city.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Argentine Republic, Argentinien, Argentina, Argentinië, Agyɛntina, አርጀንቲና, Archentina, الأرجنتين, Arxentina, Arqentina, Аргенціна, Аржентина, Arizantin, আর্জেন্টিনা, ཨར་ཇེན་ཊི་ན།, Arcʼhantina, Yr Ariannin, ཨར་ཇེན་ཊི་ན, Argentina nutome, Αργεντινή, Argentino, Argentiina, آرژانتین, Arjantiin, Argentine, Argentena, Argjentine, An Airgintín, આર્જેન્ટીના, Arjantiniya, ארגנטינה, अर्जेंटीना, Ajantin, Argentína, Արգենտինա, Arjentinia, アルゼンチン共和国, getygu'e, არგენტინა, Ajentina, Аргентина, អារហ្សង់ទីន, ಅರ್ಜೆಂಟೈನಾ, 아르헨티나, ئارجەنتینا, Arghantina, Arigentina, Arizantinɛ, ອາເຈນຕິນາ່, Alijantine, Argentīna, Arzantina, അര്‍ജന്‍റീന, अर्जेंटिना, Arġentina, အာဂျင်တီးနား, Arxentitlān, अर्जेण्टिना, Argentiinu, ଆର୍ଜେଣ୍ଟିନା, Artschenti, Argentyna, Argentin-a, ارجنټاين, Arhintina, Argentinia, Arijantine, अर्जन्टीना, Argintina, Arzantîna, ආර්ජෙන්ටිනාව, Argjentinë, அர்ஜென்டினா, ఆర్జెంటినా, Arjentina, ประเทศอาร์เจนตินา, Arhentina, ʻAsenitina, Arjantin, ئارگېنتىنا, ارجنٹینا, Á Căn Đình (Argentina), Largäntän, ארגענטינע, Orílẹ́ède Agentínà, 阿根廷, i-Argentina

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