(Mis)adventurous driveApril 14, 2016 in Argentina
Thursday started out fine - as in no more rain and thunderstorms. We were on the road before 9 for a long drive to what we thought was going to be three days all inclusive in a lodge in the Iberá wetlands. We picked up a policeman hitchhiker at one of the checkpoints and had an interesting chat with him about usual Argentine topics - football and politics - but also guns, drug smuggling, crime and Scotland (he wants to visit).
Unfortunately due to a big communication error between us & the travel agency, we drove to the wrong lodge. And not just a little bit wrong, 170km on unpaved mud roads wrong. We got lost on the way (before realising we were in the wrong place), eventually found the 'lodge' in the middle of nowhere - only to find it padlocked shut. It had closed 2 weeks before we were told by a local farmer. We only realised the mistake by hunting through the paperwork and finding the hotel voucher. On the way back to the main road our 4x4 got stuck in the mud. Completely.
We tried various methods to extricate it for about an hour. Eventually we gave up and walked back to ask the same local woman at her farm for help. She roped in her daughter, Rosa and walked back with us barefoot through the mud, cow and sheep poo.
Bless their kind hearts, these two phenomenal women & a couple of farm guys, helped us push and shovel the car out. At one point the wheels span, completely covering them in mud & cow poo, to our mortification. Clare got off with only a light splattering. We were justifiably in awe of those fabulous women who had the brains & did most of the work to get us out. Muchas gracias to them. Lisa dug out several hundred pesos of gratitude to give them and they were so muddy that the señora gestured to tuck it into her bra!
The sun was beginning to set and we only had a 1/4 tank of diesel by this point so we had to drive to the nearest town (70km) back along the mud road. All made more tricky by having filthy windows as we had run out of water in our windscreen reservoir.
Five police checkpoints later we found petrol & a pretty dingy hotel to stay the night. When we went to find somewhere to eat TripAdvisor failed us so we had to keep walking around. Then when we got back to the hotel the room key snapped in the door - just to top off the day.
This morning we were on the road before 8 and drove the 2 & a half hours down the correct mud road to the right lodge. All is well in the world now, but we were both pretty alarmed at points yesterday when we realised we were stuck in the wrong place in remote Argentinean farm country, running out of petrol as we'd had to drive so much further than expected when we got lost. But thanks to kind folk we are fine. And thanks to Clare's mum, having given us many packets of wet wipes which we have been carrying around for 2 months, we survived a cow poo mud splashing. The car however is now more brown than silver.
The lodge is lovely. It is situated on the edge of the wetlands. There are lots of birds. We are also the only guests! We saw deer, herons, road runners & capybara on the way, which look like massive, Labrador-sized guinea pigs, or small hippos, very calmly trundling across the road. There were also several herds of cows being herded along by gauchos on horseback. All very atmospheric.
Now we are going to lie by our exclusive pool after our first three course meal of the trip and our first proper lunch in four days.Read more