Parque Nacional Mburucuyá and around

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May 26th 2009
Published: June 1st 2009
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Since there's not so many Argentines knowing about this park, it didn't surprise me that most people reacted with 'you're going where?' to me explaining my plans of exploring this small park of lively lagunas, palmtrees and difficult roads. Parque Mburucuyá was created out of two former estancias (large farms and their land), holds magnificent animal life and fine scenery sights.
My first stop on the way to the park was Saladas, a town with a bus terminal. Wandering around there, i asked a girl in a ticket office for directions, and if i could leave my backpack there. She looked at my luggage, asked whereever i came from, and upon my reply shouted out 'impossible! And you're here in Saladas! Come in and have mate, you need to tell me all about your life!' That was quite a lot of fun. After the mate, a friend of hers showed me around town, and we went shopping for bombachas, the pants farmers, shepherds and gauchos wear around here (and that i liked a lot for their look and apparent strength). Later that evening, i ended up in the town of Mburucuyá and found a small pension where i talked with seasonal workers, who had a lot more of a travelling mindset then most of the Argentines i meet.
The next day, i set out early to reach the park. There's no public transport, so your options are limited to taking a taxi if you have money, or hitchhiking and walking if you're not sitting on a mountain of pesos. I wanted to see if any of the park rangers living in town could take me along, but they were all taking the weekend off. Starting my walk (it's 20 kms to the park, which is very possible, even though the locals thought i was loco), i got to talk with a man with a pickup, who dropped me off on the road, 4 km further. After some pleasant walking in the sun, i got a second ride, getting me another 3 km further. Then i talked to some people working on the land and walked for one and a half hour to wide open savannah and fields with cows and bulls, before picking up by a man from the pension i stayed at before. We talked about travelling, going off on your own, learning languages and how all that is the finest thing there is, and then i finally ended up at the park.
In Parque Mburucuyá, there's not a lot of walking to do, there's 4km of trail in total. Nevertheless, these hold fine sights of typical corrientes landscapes, with huge palmtrees, marshy lakes full of birds, and fruit trees everywhere. It has a very secluded feeling though, which makes you feel very much in the middle of nature, even though you're not really supposed to get deeply into it.
On the park's campground, i met a french couple living and travelling around the world in a van. We talked about the joys of a life of travelling and enriching your mind, and how we feel this is one of the prime distinctions between our lives and those of our parents, who still seem to serve a - generelly undefined - goal outside of theirselves and their lives. And about the soft sadness that always seems to hang over them and that makes for one of the most important reasons why we don't feel like taking their road (we is not a general statement here, i've seen plenty of people all to keen to absorb the old structures and premade life-programs of the western world), yet will build our own story, on completely different foundations.
The next morning, i saw an armadillo on my walk, which was sublimely spectacular. It suddenly popped up, looking at me and me looking back. Both not moving and just watching. With the rain softly falling down around us. Later on, i met a family from Buenos Aires on their way to Palmar Grande (an extremely small town that i hadn't seen yet and that i wouldn't mind going to). They took me along on the sand road through the park, which was quite the adventure in itself.
In Palmar Grande, i got informed that the next bus would come in three days, and that the road was damaged by the rain. As for places to spend the night, i got advised to camp on the main square. That sounded like a good plan, but i decided to talk to some more people for more information. That led me into a meeting with Christophe and Andrea - a french-argentine couple and some of the finest persons ever - and their family. I got invited on a birthday party of the one year old Martina, and got offered a bed. Before i knew what was going on, i was making a lemonade with fresh grapefruit from the garden, eating manioc and singing 'cumpleaños feliz'. And so family activities got added to the collection of feelings this trip has held. The next day, 25 de Mayo, Christophe and Andrea gave me a ride to Corrientes, where everyone was out on the riverside and tasty chipa m'boca was served. Politicians were promoting themselves with girls with pompoms and dance tracks with their political program summarized. It's fully ridiculous and sad, but i still caught myself humming 'estamos con Arturo' the next day, as i got on my bus to Misiones.


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