07.25.2008 - 07.28.2008
Ok, so I will try and be serious. In this post we have Iguazu falls, Salta, and Tucuman in Argentina.
So I think I left off saying I went from Buenos Aires (BA for short) to Iguazu Falls. I stayed at this huge hostel with like 175 beds or something like this. Place was nuts, I havent seen a clean or as organized place ever. I later learned that this may not be as good as you think. When you stay in a super large place like this, you get a real international crowd, but its honestly cooler when you stay in some place where they dont speak english and you can converse with them and learn all about their country.
When I first got to Puerto Iguazu (name of the town), I went around town with this jewish girl from NYC who was super sheltered, and was OCD about getting yellow fever. It was funny. Any mosquitoes that were around, shed go nuts with the bug spray. The other girl was this Canadian ginger girl Catherine. So we went around town and then went to this cool point where its the junction of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. It was really beautiful there. When I left BA I was really hungover, and you can never really get a good sleep on the busses, so I took a nap there at sunset. They had a ferry to Paraguay we were going to take for a dollar, but we got there late and it was the last and we would have gotten stuck. Oh well, Paraguay will have to wait till next time.
From this vantage point, standing in Argentina I threw rocks at Paraguay and Brazil, hence trashing three countries at the same time. Quite an achievement. I can cross that off the "to do" list... lol.
The computers here have terrible monitors, so this looks bad but im sure it will look better on your comps. Brazil is on the right, and Paraguay on the left.
From there proceeded to eat about 6 pounds of grassfed steak at the all you can eat and drink dinner at the hostel. Made a lot of cool friends there, and had a good night. There were the guys from spain, the girls from UCLA, the irish guy and dude from Montana. I was supposed to do this tour thing, the "grand adventure" the next day in the morning, but it was pouring buckets so I went in the afternoon, but in the process got kicked out of the hostel because I didnt have a reservation. I found some no name hostel, which was interesting (will bring this up later).
Iguazu Falls is awesome. Its really beautiful, and the grand adventure is something you for sure have to do if you go. You start off going in some army style (similar to a deuce for all you military types) truck and went through the jungle. Then you get in this boat, and you go to both halves of the falls (there are two sections) for photographs, then you put your stuff in these waterproof bags and then you actually go under the waterfall. The boats arent that impressive, but they have twin 250 hp outboard motors which they need because the currents are absolutely nuts. When your under the waterfall your literally a foot and a half from the rocks behind the waterfall. I dont know how they dont kill people, but they dont. We had a rowdy crowd, and after egging the pilot on by chanting "duchas, duchas, duchas!!!" (duchas = shower), he really had a go at it. Then you walk around the park, and they have various lookout points, with the upper lookouts literally above the point where the water goes over the edge (SWEET!).
The falls are famous as well. They were in the new Indiana Jones, Moonraker (james bond), the new Miami Vice, amongst others.
The falls are shared between Brazil and Argentina. The Argentinian side is the best, but the Brazillian side (directly across) has a good overall perspective. When I went to catch the bus to the falls from town, I was late and hopped into a bus that was leaving the station. Turns out I went to Brazil by accident, but then got back on track. To go to Brazil is $130 for a visa, dollars I cant afford. I was going to go to Rio from Argentina with these Dutch people I met on the bus, but for one week in Brazil its not worth it. If you go on the Brazillian embassys website they say its because thats the price Brazillians have to pay to go to the US. Thats a load of crap. The real reason is because the president of Brazil and Bolivia are best buds. Evo Morales (president of Bolivia) instated a $100 visa for Americans, and in turn Luiz Lula de Silva (president of Brazil) made it $130. There was always a visa for Americans in Brazil, but never so high.
I ran into the girls from UCLA when I went in, and they gave me their rain ponchos (score). I took a picture modeling in it, and however dashing I looked in it I just think this one does the job.
This is as close as I could get to the Brazillian side without selling my shirt
This is one of the boats heading into the waterfall
Maybe this shows it better
This pic was taken from the other side (san miguel side)
This guy was having a good time
View from the top
One more from the top
Ok, so when I spent the night in the no name hostel I met this Irish guy who was hitting on the girl who worked there, but he spoke no spanish, and she spoke no english. He told me he was there for 9 days (nobody spends more than two or three days in Iguazu) which I thought it was odd. I saw them getting along although they couldnt communicate. It was weird, but I found out the truth from these Irish girls who knew him. It turns out one night he hooked up with the girl from that shabby hotel, and he fell in love with her, and bought her a ring. That guy was crazy.
From Iguazu I took the 23 hour bus to Salta. Salta is a medium sized city in the north, giving it an Andean feel that you dont get in the rest of Argentina (and I miss from Peru). The town is nice, and when I got there I ran into the French Canadian girl from Iguazu and we walked around the next day a bit. Shes a bit eccentric, and a lil crazy but whatever. She was real good with a map, so it was cool to take a break from figuring out where to go all the time. I have to say it is a lil weird to travel with a girl because everyone, and I mean everyone thinks your dating or hooking up no matter how much you explain that your not. We snuck into this museam which I was told is the most importand in South America, which has these four mummies of sacrificed children. The mummies were preserved because they were buried in the Andes at locations close to 6,000 meters (19,500 feet) in ice. Turns out two werent on display because they were in the laboratory for experiments (oh well). All four had the elongated skulls, the sign of the elite. If you have seen the new Indiana Jones, the shape of the crystal skull is no joke what some look like. The elite deformed the skulls to look like an aliens. Really weird stuff.
I made out with this chick... SIKE!
Me and Catherine in Salta
The full picture of Iglesia de San Fancisco, in my opinion the nicest in Salta
Looking through a waterfall at the top of the Teleferiqo in Salta
Id be lying if I said Id never been there, done that!!!
Im a candy fiend
The next day we went on a tour with what seemed like the whole hostel to Cafayate (cool town to the south). There we went into this canyon area, which was really cool. It was layered and multicolored. Every ten feet or so the layers would shift direction, and sometimes it would make your mind go loose because you couldnt figure out how it looked. This area is famous for different formations in the rocks. You had rocks/mountains that looked like windows, priests, the titanic, turtles, castles, etc.
This was an area called the devils throat
I like how the light was layered through the mountains
For lunch we headed to an authentic Asado (BBQ) joint, and had a unique blend of meats I hadnt had before. You get the whole deal where we went. Intestines, kidneys, liver. I had it all, and it was a lil weird, but hey - when in Rome.
Salta party crew
After lunch we headed to a couple of wineries in the area. Cafayate only produces 3% of Argentinian wine (the other 97% from Mendoza), but Cafayate is special because the grapes are grown at altitude which gives it a unique taste. The most popular is a white called Torrontes.
That night, as a group we got smashed and went to a night club in town and danced the night away. We had to head out though, because the british girls had to make it to a 7:30 tour that morning. We quite literally made it back to the hostel at 7:25 lol. I had to leave a couple hours later, and still out of it I saw Aurelie, this really awesome French girl who I partyed with the night before. When in the taxi I stuck my head out to yell au revoir to her, and my hat flew off my head! The Argentines in Tucuman told me its a tax to pachamama (Andean spirit of mother earth)!
This girl made me lose my hat!
Next day I blew that popsicle stand with Catherine, and we headed to Tucuman. Tucuman is a good city, but there isnt a whole lot to do there. Everywhere you went you could tell the government was trying to bring more tourists which was funny. We really stopped there to break up the bus ride to Cordoba so it wasnt so long. When I was walking around Tucuman I ran into the spanish guys from Iguazu, and they were renting a car. I would have really have liked to party again with those guys, but I decided to stick to the plan and head south. That night we had Asado with a whole group of Argentines on holiday. After we talked anbd then danced to 3 in the morning. I schooled them of what little I knew about McCains military history, the electoral college, and the distribution of political states in the US. They schooled me on the issue the farmers have with the Argentine government over the beef taxes (this post is too long - you should look it up though), cumbia, dulce de leche, and cortetito. Then I had dancing lessons. Its funny because the way to pick up girls in Argentina (at least what they told me) was that you stand in the corner and dance with yourself in small circles. Back home the guy who does this just seems like a creep, or a pervert. I tought them how to let the D slang, fistpump, start the mower, pop bottles, a half assed attempt at the salamander, the finger gun dance, etc. Good times.
Theres apparently a strong G&R following in Tucuman???
I thought the coolest part of Tucuman was San Javier hill where they had this giant Christo.
I never made it to Rio, so I suppose this will have to do!
Im in Cordoba now, which is awesome. I bought a new hat too! Alright, I dont know about you, but im wore out. I need a beer!