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Published: January 18th 2011
When you cross the border from Holland to Belgium you immediately notice you are in another country. The houses, the food and the people are different. It is the same when you cross the border between Brazil and Argentina. It is just a short drive from Foz do Iguaçu to the border of Argentina. At the Brazilian side you have to get out of the bus. Backpack on, backpack of, find passport, get an exit stamp, bus gone. Take next bus. Two klilometers further at the Argentinian side the same procedure. This time the bus waited.
´Billetas, billetas para los cataracts´, shouts the young woman at the counter of the busstation, when she sees us arriving.
´Dos para los cataracts por favor´, we say in our best Spanish, but soon we have to give up and we ask if she can speak English: ¿Habla Inglese?
´A little´ she says, but her English is really good.
´How is it possible most Argentinians speak English and the Brazilians do not?´, I ask surprised.
´Well its is here quite touristic´, she says.
´Well, Brazil is also touristic.´
´Maybe they are more nationalistic then us. I do not know. Billetas, billetas para
The waterfalls in Puerto Iguazu are the same as the ones in Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil, but still there is a difference. The Brazilian waterfalls are a mega spectacle, a big show; here in Argentina it is more natural. You see lots of animals like Coati´s, Vultures and Tuchans. We see even a hummingbird. There are billboards with explanations in Spanish, Portuguese and English. And it is cheaper and not so crowdy. We make a boattrip over the river. It looks like the Amazone with all those big trees around.
Puerto Iguazu is full of backpackers, hostels, guesthouses, restaurants and little bars. It is cosy. When we sit at one of the terraces a group of ´Hells Angels´ join in. They put their massive motors in front of the terrace. When they lift their helmets we see they are my age. They look like they have good jobs in normal life. Fathers ask if they may make a picture of their kids on their motors. No problem. Then a man on a little scooter comes along. He looks at the motors, stops and walks on to the ´Hells Angels´. He begins a big story. We
do not understand what he is talking about, but we see the ´Hells Angels´smiling, as if they listen to a little kid. We have a bed in a dorm of Pop Guesthouse Natura. The atmosphere is nice, but it is far too hot in the dorm. So in the night we pitch our tent in the garden. Worse is that our video camera has been stolen. All movies from Africa are gone. You may not curse on a travelblog.
The old woman at the Residencial Misiomes Hotel in Posadas is talking in rapid Spanish to me. I try to interrupt her to say that I do not understand Spanish. Finally I succeed: ´No entiendo Espagnol´, I say in my best Spanish. Or is it Italian? She looks at me for a moment and says witout blinking: ´Entiende muy bien´ (you understand it very well) and on she goes.
Posadas lies 5 hours with the bus to the South of Puerto Iguazu. There is not so much to do here, but we like the atmosphere. It has a charming centre around Plaza do 9 Julio with nice terraces where old men drink their (delicious!) coffee reading their ´La Nacion´.
It is as if we are in a book of Gabriel García Márquez or in a movie of Pedro Almodóvar. The ornaments of Christmas are still there. They cannot get enough of it. There are European style restaurants with nice paintings, like from Diego Riviera. On the Plaza there is a fountain. Actually it is a raft of fountains directly out of the pavement. All at a sudden they begin to spout and as if by a wonder no one can understand fully they stop again. Children play with the water. Mothers tear at their kids when they become too wet, meanwhile becoming the victims of the unforseen water themselves. Fathers push their kids into the fountains. One boy is fighting with the fountains. He treat them with karate kicks and indeed the water gives way, coming up at other spots. Some boys and girls have collected plastic bottles and fill them with the fountainwater. We think they are going to sell it. Good business. But no, they pour it over their bodies to become still wetter. We look at it while we wait for the bus to Buenos Aires.
Did you ever get whisky in a bus? And
champain? We got it. In the bus of company ´Rio Uruquay´to Buenos Aires. It is the nightbus and it takes about 15 hours. But that is no problem at all. You get a dinner and after all that wine, whisky and champain you just have to push a button and you go completely horizontally.
After 16 hours you awake in Buenos Aires. Remember the name ´Rio Uruquay´. Good Company.
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