Archive for August, 2010

Tigre, the end

About the last thing I did in Argentina was to take a bicycle tour of Tigre. We took a train, biked around, and then took a boat ride. On the way, there were some fantastic views of the whole city, whose downtown high-rises look splattered against the shoreline.

The boat ride was through the river delta. There was again amazing contrast, this time between the hulking rust of industry and the still-successful amusement park.

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The end in Buenos Aires

After all my sightseeing, I did some sightseeing in Buenos Aires and did a little more tango. I took a few more tango lessons and tried to dance at a milonga, but it was really hard for me to work up the nerve to dance with people. My dance suckiness was compounded by my language barrier, so I only danced with one or two people in both the milongas I went to.

But one of the dances was a joint dance, with music alternating between tango and rock. It turns out that the Argentine dance of “rock” is very similar to swing, though not pure east coast or lindy. (Their floors get so crowded it turns into a slot dance, which I found out only by breaking the customs and annoying people.) It was nice to dance a dance I was good at, but it was frustrating that people don’t change dances every song there. Instead, many people keep a partner for the whole set, and I suspect some of them only dance with the one person they came with (!).

But the sightseeing in Buenos Aires was better than the dancing. I re-loved the architecture

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and saw the crazy suspension bridge (with shape reportedly inspired by a tango lean/lunge sort of thing),

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Mendoza

Getting to Mendoza sucked. See, I had planned my trip to Ibera at the last minute, because I’d hoped to see capybaras at Iguazu. Then, when it came time to get my bus ticket from Ibera to Mendoza, it turned out that because it was a long weekend for Father’s Day and Flag Day, all the buses in that direction were booked. After experiencing some extreme frustration, I eventually went via Buenos Aires (way out of my way), which cost me about 1 day spent only traveling back and forth.

Anyway, once I was in Mendoza, I did a wine tour and a “high Andes tour,” which was really just riding in a van up into the Andes, on a fairly major road to Chile. It was lots of travel, but we stopped and saw incredible things. For instance, sunrise over a lake in the lower Andes.

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The air was really warm at this point, because it was a hot wind coming down out of the mountains, warming as it descended. However, apparently storms always follow that hot wind.

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Iberá: the capybaras

The first glimpse of capybaras we got was from our boat. We saw ones that were far away and active, and close but lazy.

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We also saw capybaras as we walked around the park.

They’re really unafraid until you get within 5 feet or so.

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Iberá: the other critters

After Iguazu, I went to Iberá expressly to see capybaras. Apparently, this wetland is about the only place in Argentina to see them. They were, as expected, the great highlight of my time in Iberá, but I’ll save it for the next post. But before I get into everything, know that I’ve found going through my pictures to be too tiring, so I’m just giving whatever seemed interesting at the moment.

To get to the town I stayed in, I had to take an ancient bus over more than 100 km of unpaved roads. I managed to sleep anyway, but when I looked outside, I saw cool things, like a pair of giant birds. I figured it was an ostrich farm, but apparently they’re rheas. I didn’t get their picture, but I did get a picture of this very bold ovenbird who ate our butter:

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We went out on the lagoon in a little boat like this. It’s almost like looking in a (gender-reversing) mirror.

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From Down Good Blues

“In blues, what is it that we make between our bodies?” Joe: “Sex.”

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From Down Home Blues

Quote of the day: There’s momentum in a single step.

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