It was good to return to Buenos Aires as we felt a little more prepared after our break in Uruguay.
The catamaran journey back was dull aside from one hilarious moment. As we neared the harbour another high speed ferry was heading out and I immediately guessed that we would ride its wake. We did and our boat was thrown in the air before crashing back down again. This clearly doesn’t happen often judging by the reactions of the other passengers. In fact I doubt they even heard me shout “THATS NOTHING. YOU SHOULD GO TO THAILAND!”
At this point we hoped to return to Uruguay for a few days. In fact the only reason we were heading back to BA was to watch a football game and to collect our large bag, which was being stored by our hostel. But the weather had turned in Uruguay so we sadly scrapped our plans to return.
We celebrated our return with a third visit to the superb Don Ernesto restaurant in San Telmo where we both devoured yet another steak.
(Fantastic place was this…If I am ever rich I will fly here once every month for Bife de Chorizo and Papas Espaniol)
The next day we strolled around San Telmo and enjoyed the Sunday market along with its street performers…
We then moved on to the most amazing book shop I have ever seen. El Ateneo is a converted theatre (somebody is thinking of Wetherspoons in Tunbridge Wells as they read this) and it is a great place to visit.
We returned to our hostel in time to be collected for the football match. River Plate versus Velez Sarsfield. For those that do not know, Argentinian club football has quite a reputation and for many years I have wanted to see one of the big two play. River are one and Boca Juniors are the other. Our flight issues from New Zealand put paid to seeing a Boca game.
Our tour company collected us and a few other tourists from various hostels and then led us into the River stadium around 90 minutes before kick off. Even at this stage the crowd was at least 10,000 and the noise was impressive.
The stand opposite to us clearly housed the most passionate of fans along with this group of fans
The game started with the stadium almost completely filled to its 55,000 capacity and the noise was astounding. The match itself was entertaining though River lost 2-1. The sheer volume of the crowd when River equalised shook the stands. Despite the loss the River fans never once showed anything but support and they got applauded from pitch at the end.
(the obligatory distress flare)
The next day was our last in BA before we set off north by bus. We spent the day strolling the main shopping street and those of Palermo district.
We were sad to be leaving BA. At first it was daunting but that isn’t suprising as Buenos Aires alone has 3 times the population of New Zealand. The city is exciting and feels alive and the people are so friendly. I must admit to not really knowing how they would react upon discovering we are British. But this proved no problem at all. One woman in a Palermo Cafe overheard us telling the waiter we were British. Within 30 seconds she came over to show us her photographs of her trip to London. She was so excited to be speaking to us. It was very touching.
Another woman who we met in the bookshop told us of how she came to the building as a child when it was a cinema and theatre. She was so happy to share her knowledge and it was great to hear such memories.
At 5pm we took a taxi to the bus station to make our way to Iguazu in the far north of the country. Here is located one of the natural wonders of the world, the Iguazu Falls. It’s pronounced Igwasoo if anybody is wondering.
Bus travel in Argentina is considered to be rather good. But we were thinking that 18 hours on any kind of bus can only be so good. The bus terminal itself was a good start though as it was bigger and more slick than any bus terminal we have seen at home. Though the arrivals and departures board seemed to be a little lacking.
We eventually found our way to our platform and awaited the Rio Uruguay Bus Company 18.45 to Iguazu. When it arrived at spot on 18.45 with Iguazu displayed in the window we queued up to deposit our bags. But we were then told this was not our bus and ours would be along shortly (this was relayed in Spanish. I’ve learned more but still deduced what they said with an element of post-conversation dictionary use).
Sure enough another near identical bus arrived after the previous virtually empty bus had left. We climbed on board along with about 8 other passengers. Upon arrival we discovered that both buses were virtually empty for the whole trip and left and arrived at around the same time.
We had gone for the Cama, or Bed class of seat. Immediately it was clear that comfort is rather impressive in Argentina’s coaches. Only three seats per row makes for lots of elbow room and the leg room was sufficient for me to stretch my legs out straight. We had a large pillow and a blanket.
Shortly after departure the films started. A BBC drama about Charles Darwin was played with the sound down and Spanish subtitles. Halfway through this our meal arrived. Some pork roll with potato salad, followed by something a little like cannelloni and then cakes and biscuits.
By this point Darwin had gone mad and his book was published and the viewing moved on to the same awful film I watched on the flight from Auckland. This time with the sound down and Spanish subtitles. My familiarity with the incredibly poor storyline meant that I could follow it and learn a little Spanish at the same time.
Then we got some pink “champagne”. I feel like we should let the Thai transport infrastructure know where they are going wrong. If they spent less on coloured stickers and shunting people between many different vehicles they might be able to provide such in-journey refreshments. That said Claire wanted to tip hers out of the window at 100km per hour as she didn’t like it. There is no pleasing some people. I made her drink it.
The awful film, which is about a bloke and woman who hate each other but become guardians to the their friends baby when the friends die, was shut down prematurely and the lights were turned off. I wish I could remember it’s name to save any of you inadvertently watching it. We slept rather well, and much better than on any long flight.
We arrived in the rain forest heat of Iguazu 18 hours after leaving BA, a journey of 1,000km.