Argentina part 1: Puerto Iguazu and Rosario

So I left Brazil with a tear in my eye having had such an awesome time there and meeting so many cool people.   But as I crossed the bridge to Argentina I was filled with excitement having heard so much about what was lying ahead.  My first stop was the border town of Puerto Iguazu and I was expecting it to be similar to the Brazilien Foz do Iguassu, which I had just left and was lying about 500m behind me across the Rio Iguaza, but the differences were immediately apparent.  I should have really known better; having had the rivalries between the two countries explained to me by several Brazilians, and being aware of the strong national identity each country holds, but I guess I was just used to the trip between England and Wales where you just get a few more words on road signs….

One of the big differences I noticed was the food.  I don’t want to offend any Argentinians but I thought the food was better and more varied in Brazil, and other than steak Argentinian food has a lot left to be desired.  Not enough vegetables (yes Mum, I know, you probably never thought you’d hear those words from me).

But one difference I did like was the language; I was finally able to communicate (well, kind-of) without using only facial expressions and hand movements.   To embrace this and further enhance my linguistic abilities I purchased a rather large ‘pocket’ dictionary which I set about reading. Starting with ‘B’ (few Spanish words begin with B because the use ‘V’ instead) I soon realised this wasn’t an effective way of learning as you forget everything straight away.  Oh well, I’d have to do it the long hard way of attempting to speak whenever I could and hitting Rosetta Stone up when I had spare time.  I soon decided decided learning Spanish was one of my new ‘travel goals’ having already completed goal no.1: Become Divemaster.

I spent a couple of lazy days in Puerto Iguazu with the highlight being a rendezvous night out with Crag and Paola at the one and only local night club: Cuba Libre (for New Mills people think Stax but with loads of beautiful Argentian women…).  But then it was time to move on and with apparently not much happening in the North East of the country Crag, Paola and I headed for Argentina’s 3rd city: Rosario.  This was the first of my ‘long’ bus rides, and I was slightly daunted by the 20 hours I was to spend on the bus.  I shouldn’t have worried though, as it was the best bus journey ever!  Two films (in English, including the stupendously good ‘Whatever Works’ with Larry David) followed by a lovely steak stew with rice, and a seat that went back about 60 degrees meant the time flew by and when we arrived in Rosario at 10am I was ready to do some sightseeing.

So we spent the day looking around Rosario which was bloody freezing thanks to a Southerly wind from the Antarctic.  Rosario was Che Gueverra’s birth place so there were a few sights to see in relation to him.  Other than that we were pointed in the direction of a phallic monument built to honour the Argentian flag designer and the fact the flag was first raised nearby in 1812 (following Argentian independence from the Spanish in 1810) and a Contemporary Art exhibition in a building that appeared to be luminously painted converted gas storage cylinders.  Contemporary art exhibition was too nice a description for what awaited us:  a computer screen showing lots of sick video clips from the internet;  a man eating another man’s brain; a room full of large full body portraits of semi-naked transexuals; and a few other things that in no way could have been classified as art, or the least bit interesting.  Quite simply, it was terrible.  But there was some cool graffiti outside which I got some good snaps of (in no way connected to the exhibition, I hasten to add).

Monumento Nacional a la Bandera (Flag monument), you can go to the top and get a view of the city:

Murial at La Plaza de Cooperacion de Rosario (square devoted to Che):

Luminously painted gas cylinders, home of Rosario’s Contemporary *cough* Art Gallery:

Graffitti, better than the gallery:

Woz, does this remind you of someone?

Rosario was a nice little place which I expect would blossom in summer when you can enjoy scorching afternoons on riverside beaches, but with the biting wind and prospect of Buenos Aires 4 hours to the south east I felt a day was enough and decided to leave the next day.  Not before Crag and I almost killed ourselves at a ‘Tenedor Libre’ (literally ‘Free fork’, translated as ‘All you can eat’). When travelling,  skipping meals is a regular occurrence and you are frequently feeling hungry, so a chance to fill your boots is nothing to be scoffed at.  But on this occasion we probably went a bit over the top (Crag had 5 desserts) and I was unable to twist my body sideways as it was so full.

This place was massive and there was sooooooo much food:

Meat:

I was going to include Buenos Aires in this post but I realise my ramblings have taken me past the ‘bothered to read’ limit so will save that for another post 🙂

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. mum
    Oct 04, 2011 @ 10:04:12

    looking forward to part 2 – this part of the trip sounds a bit cold and not so exciting as Brazil, am I right? . Eloquent blog though. Dad and I have just spent 4 really hot days in Teignmouth – warmer than Argentina I expect. Everyone asking after you and some keeping up with your facebook. Ollie, Eva, Millie and Rosie are beautiful ( all the new grandchildren) – Charlie and Bella lovely – we had lunch will all the boothies to celebrate Wendy’s birthday – brill

    Reply

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