Argentina

      Iguazu Falls

 

You forget Niagara Falls when seeing the 350 waterfalls that make up Iguazu Falls cascading between Brazil and Argentina, it is absolutely spectacular and no waterfall will ever compare, we needn't visit another cascade again (unless it's Angel falls of course). The falls can be seen from Brazil to observe at a distance and in Argentina to get up close and wet wet wet as we did by taking a speed boat trip into the mist!

 

Aside from the water some very cute looking but actually very dangerous Coatis roam around the parks as though they own the place. On one incident we witnessed the animal snatching a little kids ice-cream, when the little kid creamed lots of Coatis' ran towards the poor child. Luckily he was unharmed and lifted from the crowd of Coatis by his dad. #hewontfogetthatinahurry (Andy had a flashback of how he was cornered by Canadian geese when he was a toddler and lost his teddy.)

Las tres fronteras in Puerto Iguazu, this plaza faces both the Brazilian and Paraguay frontier over the water. At night there is a spectacular light/water show. 

A few of the highlights were; the Cemetery of Chacarita, bite de lomo (Argentinian tenderloin steak), Tango street dancers and the Bolivian parade which we happily stumbled upon. One of Buenos Aires' largest streets had been closed to make way for a spectacular parade celebrating the Bolivian population in Argentina. It was so huge that we're sure every Bolivian must have participated in the show!

 

It's not a myth - the beef here is incredible! In Argentina they have 2 cows to every person and enough fertile land to feed a quarter of the worlds population (that's what they told us) and they know how to grill their meat... Well at least we thought they all did until on our final night in Buenos Aires Maryam had to send her steak back not once, not twice but four times. In all fairness the waiter took the steak back himself on the fourth attempt as it was basically a plate of raw beef. All good things come to those who wait... then they're too full to eat it.

Observation File

 

People:

Serious with lots of political views

 

State of WCs:

6/10 Average! Most public WCs have seats but many lack paper

 

Temperature:

16 - 36*c 

 

Our diet:

Steak and Empanadas

 

No. Of bites:

Maryam 4 v 23 Andy

 

Distinctive elements:

Platform shoes, 'Dead' dogs in the centre of roads, brick towers in Córdoba

 

New tricks:

Exchanging Dollars on the 'blue' market 

 

Wildlife spotted:

Butterflies (tis the season), coatis, lizards, mosquitos

Lizard
Lizard
Iguazu close
Iguazu close
Coatis
Coatis
Iquazu_plaza
Iquazu_plaza
The_original_thinker
The_original_thinker
Boca
Boca
Cemetary
Cemetary
Cultural centre
Cultural centre
      Buenos Aires

 

"Cambio! Cambio! Cambio!" OK, before we go into what a vibrant place Buenos Aires is, we must let you in on a widely known secret about the Argentinian Peso. When entering the country you must come equipped with US Dollars - as much as you can carry! Inflation in the country is at an all time high and the peso's value is crashing and as a result Argentinians are wanting to get hold of a more secure currency - Dollars! With this is mind, you can exchange your money on the 'Dolar Blue' market for 1.5 times the value that you would get in an official bureau de change. Just head to Florida Street and listen for the calls of "Cambio! Cambio!" and be ready to barter. You can find the current daily rate on Twitter and don't be afraid of being taken into a dark room or exchanging wads of cash on the street, it's safe and everyone does it - including the locals!

 

Every neighbourhood in Buenos Aires is different and unique but La Boca is exceptional. The area was founded by Italian immigrants and contains an array of multicoloured buildings, markets, street entertainers and plenty of love for the Pope and Diego Maradona!

Tango dancing Andy
Tango dancing Andy
Bolivian parade
Bolivian parade
Bolivian parade2
Bolivian parade2
Eiffel_wheel
Eiffel_wheel
cordoba courts
cordoba courts
      Cordoba 
 

Córdoba reminded us of Manchester - a young and vibrant city formed of a mixture of historical and contemporary architecture and inundated by students. The city has a strong colonial heritage but was later modernised by the introduction of regular city blocks, brick residential towers and most recently modern buildings of the highest quality. With a vast array of attractions, including a 100 year old iron Ferris wheel designed by Gustave Eiffel, entertainment never wained!

brick_1
brick_1
brick_2
brick_2
brick_3
brick_3
      Salta + Jujuy

 

Salta was full of tales but in the interest of keeping this blog relatively short we'll focus on 3 stories...

 

Who needs an alarm when you get woken up by an earthquake?! It registered 6.0 on the Richter scale but it really didn't feel that strong, especially as every time a truck passed the hostel the windows vibrated more than when the earthquake struck! It turns out there are an average of 2 earthquakes a week in Argentina which we had no idea about before our departure (#schoolboyerror). At least we will be moving on to Chile soon where there's never any earthquakes...

salta_canyan
salta_canyan

Andy's birthday occurred when we were in Salta (hip hip hooray!). Cake and half a cow's worth of steak was eaten (standard Andy) in order to celebrate but more surprisingly there was also some smoking, wine drinking and cocaine to mark the occasion! OK, that may have been a little bit of a lie... The smoking was second hand, the wine was only drunk by Maryam (we were at the Cafayate wineries south of Salta) and coca leaves (which are used to make cocaine) were sucked to alleviate altitude sickness. Bet you all thought he had finally cracked after 29 years!

 

There is a tradition at the city's university that when a student graduates they must 'celebrate' by being covered in anything from paint through to feathers by their friends and family. As if this wasn't enough, they must then walk around the city all day holding a placard stating what they had just majored in. We happened to see one poor soul who as you can see from the photo was a bit of a state!

Crew_in_Jujuy
Crew_in_Jujuy
Ranj_in_Jujuy
Ranj_in_Jujuy

We hired a car for our last 2 days and headed north to visit Tilcara, Humahuaca and Purmamarca. The scenery was absolutely incredible and well worth the visit despite our troubles on the final day. Our shiny white Corsa Classic (not the corsa you're thinking of) screamed hire car and the local criminals of Purmamarca knew it. Despite only being away from the car from 45mins we returned to find the boot had been broken into and our rucksacks (yes our big ones) had been stolen. Depending on how you want to look at it we luckily had the majority of our major valuables (cameras, phones, etc) on us however we lost all our clothes bar the ones we were wearing so from a day to day point of view it is a nightmare! 

 

Let's hope there's some decent clothes shops in Chile...

Steak
Steak