After two weeks of travel, my time in Argentina has come to end for now. Tomorrow I will travel up to Sucre, Bolivia. It promises to be a long day of travel starting early in the morning here in Puerto Iguazú. This causes me to reflect on the last two weeks in Buenos Aires and Iguazú. Argentina has certainly provided a memorable introduction to South America.
Travel in Argentina
The distinctive character of each barrio in Buenos Aires enchanted me. As a result, I spent hours strolling the city streets, drinking coffee, eating empanadas and talking to people. At first glance, Porteños seem to have much of the sociability of southern Europeans. It is therefore hardly surprising that they speak Spanish like Italians. I loved the way they say ‘la playa’ (the beach) with a soft ‘g’ like the French word ‘plage’ with an ‘a’ at the end. Despite myself, I also ended up going on big nights out and walked about ten blocks home on one occasion. Even late at night, it didn’t feel unsafe due to crowds of people in the streets.
Iguazú. Are there words to express the beauty and enormity of the waterfalls? I flew in a helicopter over them on the Brazilian side and took a boat right up to them on the Argentinian side. To be honest, I got so wet that it felt as if I were right under them. It took me two days to get my clothes dry! All in all, I think I preferred the panoramic views on the Brazilian side. They certainly provide the ultimate tourist experience. However, the Argentinian side had more of a national park experience. I will not forget being surrounded by about twelve coatis as I tried to eat an ice cream.
In total, I visited the falls four times and each visit provoked new and different sensations. At all times I was overwhelmed by their beauty and uniqueness. There were moments that I gazed at the eerie fog hanging over the verdant landscape and wondered if I had travelled back to the dawn of time. Where were those dinosaurs hiding?
Staying in families has been interesting. I have talked to someone who met El Che as a young girl and I have understood the importance of Evita for Argentinians. Many regard her as the catalyst for women’s rights and participation, in opposition to the traditional macho society of her time. Not only have I learned a lot of Spanish, I have also started to understand more of the country in which I have been travelling. This, in itself, is perhaps the best reason to travel.
Tomorrow, all things going well, I will be in Sucre, Bolivia. I have to admit that I am a bit nervous about the next three weeks of travel, particularly in Bolivia. Some people seem to love it there while others find it depressing and menacing. For the next week, I will be staying with a family in Sucre and I will experience a new country and culture.
Hopefully, in three weeks’ time, I will return to Argentina as passionate about Bolivia and Chile as I have been about Argentina.
In the meantime, I have the memories…
Make sure to find out what happened next in Sucre