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January 21st 2009
Published: September 30th 2017
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I always try and use up a tube of toothpaste to the point where there is just enough to get me through a trip, so that I carry as little weight as possible. I estimated incorrectly and ended up running out, and had to buy another tube. I thought the calamine lotion was quite expensive, at $7 CAD, but it was a necessity with all these bug bites!
Geo: -25.6836, -54.4757

I slept in until 9 AM, until the bug bites became so itchy that I woke up. Coming here without bug spray was a definite mistake - I supposed I could have bought some after I started getting all these bug bites, but it would be pointless. I already have 20-30 bites on my lower legs alone; what's another 10 or 20 of them going to do? I don't even bother applying calamine lotion to the individual bites - I simply slather it all over my legs and arms because it's faster, because it would take too long to dab a little bit on so many bites.

Breakfast with Joris - when I told him that I was doing a canopy tour today, simply because I had nothing else to do, he laughed "That's so Canadian - non-stop travel, never stopping to rest!" This made me remember those famous Molson's commercials with Joe Canadian - I AM CANADIAN!!! For those who have never seen the commercial:

Joris definitely has a point, but I'd go crazy just sitting around all day long, doing nothing. The tour didn't depart until 14:00, so I killed a few hours at the internet cafe,

I had seen cheap food advertised at the bus station and grabbed a chorizo with salad. The giant dry bun dwarfed what little sausage that was given, and the salad was fairly crappy - served with a flavourless salad dressing, it was onions, mushy tomatoes, and a ton of shredded carrots. I felt like Bugs Bunny after nibbling on so much of it!
blogging and surfing. Shaun, the California guy who entertained us last night with his pronunciation of floedebolle, was having a quick lunch before leaving for Paraguay. He's just finished his master's degree in math, and is taking a break before deciding if he will start working or continue with his Ph. D. His trip is 8 months in total, with two in South America, and the rest in Asia and Eastern Europe.

Off to the tour - a taxi was sent for me, and as I approached the car, I caught a glimpse of a very cute brunette in the back seat ... Spanish, perhaps? It ended up being a mother and daughter, and my eyes lit-up when they told me they were from the Canary Islands! Finally - there ARE Spanish women in Argentina!!! At that moment, I was overjoyed that I didn't sit around doing nothing all day, and instead went on this tour ... I'm always looking for opportunities to practice my Spanish, after all!

The pair are from Candelaria in Tenerife, the last Canary Island that I visited last winter. The lovely Nora has been living in the UK for about year, working and studying English -

Our tour guide pointed out a local variety of poison ivy. But then we all went "WTF?" when he rubbed it all over his finger to show us the effects.
I am happy to say that her English hadn't improved to the point where she lost her ultra-cute Spanish accent 😊 She's now returning to the Canary Islands to find work, and if none is available, she may have to move to mainland Spain. I don't know what she will do if nothing is available there.

I decided that upon returning to Canada, I will petition the Canadian government to create a program to promote an international work exchange with Spain. Spanish women must be given the opportunity to earn a living! I volunteer to move to Spain to interview the hotties ... uh ... I mean ... potential wives ... uh ... potential employees, to determine their suitability for employment in Canada.

Not one to do such things half-assed, they would be exhaustive interviews, involving real-world social situations, such as long walks on a moonlit beach, or perhaps romantic candle-lit dinners with string quartets playing in the background. Of course, this would only be to ensure that Canada admitted the most beautiful ... uh ... I mean ... most qualified, Spanish women. I only volunteer my time to serve my country - I AM CANADIAN, after all!

The taxi dropped

One of several types of traps we were shown - this one was designed to catch birds. I used my engineering background to figure out modifications necessary to make this suitable for capturing a Spanish senorita. The principle would be the same, as it's already almost big enough to accommodate a senorita. Or two. Maybe even three.
us off at the start of the canopy tour, which started with a short hike through the jungle, with explanations of the local flora and fauna, and demonstrations of traps employed by the Guarani. The Guarani are a South American indigenous people that are spread over parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

The zip lines were still a short hike away - I really regretted not wearing my quick-dry shirt, as my t-shirt was soaked with sweat. I was getting quite dehydrated from the heat, but it was mostly due to me drooling over Nora 😊 There wasn't much to the canopy tour - the first part was a scramble up a rock face.

From there, we took the first zip line, then climbed a ladder to the second, and final zip line. It was alright, but nothing special - the one Tam and I did in Honduras was definitely better (see blog entry entitled " Why would you need to wear sunscreen in the disco?" http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/pwong/cruise_2006/1198784400/tpod.html) But today's canopy tour was still enjoyable, as there was a Spanish hottie amongst us 😊

The rappelling was the most difficult, but best part - it looks so easy when it's done

A butterfly that looks more like a leaf.
in the movies, where they drop 10 feet at a time. It's definitely not as easy as that for a beginner! The guides kept giving me instructions in Spanish because they knew I spoke it - but the problem was that I wasn't understanding much of it, as I was too busy concentrating on what I was doing.

The final part of the tour was a boat ride down the Iguazu river, to where it intersects with the Parana river. What was the significance of this point? It's a point where you are technically in three different countries at the same time - Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.

This was the end of the tour, and our taxi took us back into town. So funny ... it's true what all my friends say - I should just move to Spain, because the simple act of even meeting a Spanish senorita makes me so happy! Or as Ben would say, giddy like a schoolgirl (see blog entry entitled "Giddy like a schoolgirl" http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/pwong/canaries-2007/1198710660/tpod.html)

As usual, I got nowhere - but I must say like I've said in the past, if I'm going to get turned down, I don't mind if it's done in Spanish,

We scrambled up this face to get to the zipline. Beautiful, no? How could this be made even more beautiful?
or with a Spanish accent. In English I was told, with a giggle, and with that makes-you-weak-in-the-knees-and-makes-you-melt-like-butter-in-the-hot-Spanish-summer-sun accent, "Oh! I think we are very tired this evening!" Ooh ... if I wasn't already sitting, I would've swooned and cracked my skull open on the sidewalk! I told Nora that if she wasn't tired later on, I was staying at the Timbo Posada. Ahh ... Spanish hotties ... you really must meet them to see what all the fuss is about ...

Back to the hostel for a shower, some chillin', some journal writing, and some yogurt for a snack. Joris and the Danish girls were going to a tango show tonight and asked if I wanted to tag along. Even though I'd already seen one in BA, and was hesitant because it was a bad experience in some ways, I figured why the heck not? Though a small part of me wanted to stay behind in the off chance that Nora would show up, and sweep me off my feet ...

A Norwegian couple from Oslo, Lisa and Inar (I hope I'm spelling that correctly), joined us. Even though they have a common origin, Norwegian and Danish are supposedly quite different,

Get a picture of a beautiful Spanish senorita climbing it! And NO, I wasn't being a pervert - I asked if she wanted me to take some photos as she climbed.
making communication between the two languages extremely difficult. But these two had no issues chatting with Camilla and Natascha. Our tango show never happened - it turned out it was only tango music, this evening.

Joris commented "At first, the tango music was a selling point, but now it's a leaving point", referring to how the tango music had gone techno, and was being blasted loudly, drowning out any conversation, despite us asking a couple of times for it to be turned down.

Joris is from Amsterdam, and we chatted about how great his city was, and the common misconceptions that many people have about it. He once told some foreigners that he didn't do any drugs, and was met with disbelief - "You don't do drugs??? But it's SO available there!" That's the beauty of Amsterdam - the choice exists, and there is a certain degree of tolerance found there.

Lisa had a moment of panic, telling Joris and I "Oops! Are we interrupting a double date?" I explained that both girls had boyfriends, and were quite young. Joris quipped "I WISH it was a double date!" Ahh ... good times, good times! We left as soon as we were done

The view from the first zipline.
eating, as it was too hot and too loud to be sitting there. Only one thing would cool us down - gelato!!!

The Danish girls had earlier raved about one particular gelato shop - it did not disappoint. We all ended up getting huge, 1/4 kg containers, packed full of gelato. Floedebolle is officially my new favourite word - I can't even remember what we said, but many floedebolle jokes were made. Apparently, they come with every serving of ice cream in Norway. I'm sorry - it may be a funny word, but it sounds so ugly! I think the only way to make it sound beautiful would be to have a beautiful Spanish senorita say it. Where's Nora when you need her?

Back to the hostel for a quick beer - last night, there was a big BBQ, and now there was a big empanada party. Talk about fast friends! South American culture is so different from North American culture - though hardly any of these people knew each other before coming here, and though from all over (mostly Argentina, but also Spain, Germany, and probably a few other countries), they've become fast friends.

Though I didn't get into

There was an Italian Argentinean guy on the tour who looked a lot like Rambo - he asked me to take a photo and email it to him later. I never got his email, so I'm afraid that he will hunt me down and skin me alive. And this goes without saying, but ... Nora climbing a rockface is hot, and Rambo ziplining is not.
bed until well after midnight, they were only starting to eat the empanadas when I returned to my room. I'm used to eating late while in Spain, but I haven't really gotten accustomed to doing it here. Perhaps it's because with so many lovely ladies in Spain to distract me, I never realize when I'm hungry!

Joris came in to say goodbye, and told me that Camilla and Natascha also wanted to do the same. It's been great hanging out with them, as they are genuinely good people. It made me think of an earlie conversation that he and I had. Joris had commented how great the Argentinean guests at the hostel were - on more than one occasion, they've offered up food to him, never wanting anything in return. He seemed quite surprised by the whole thing, but I wasn't - I'm sure a lot of it was cultural, but in general, I've liked doing the whole hostel thing over the years because there seems to be a bit of an unwritten backpacker code. It's a great thing, because it makes you feel like you're part of something bigger, and like there's already a bond established, before even getting to

I know I've said this hundreds, if not thousands of times before - but Spanish women are so naturally beautiful. Here she is, wearing gym clothes and a life jacket, no makeup, and all sweaty and tired after climbing, ziplining, rappeling, and hiking through a rainforest - but she was still gorgeous! And Nora, if you happen to be reading this, I hope you're not embarrassed - beautiful women like you are the reason I have been to Spain 5 times, and the reason I will probably visit Spain another 20 times! And you may notice the goofy expression I have on my face - it's a reflex action I have whenever I am within a few feet of a beautiful Spanish senorita. That goofy expression is on my face 24/7 whenever I am in Spain.
know anyone.

It's the reason why I'll always stop and offer help if I see somebody wearing a massive backpack, staring at a map with a look of bewilderment on their face. It's the reason why I'll give a lost person my map, if I have a reasonable idea of where I'm going. Maybe it's a bit of that whole pay-it-forward idea - when you travel, you'll eventually find yourself in a situation where you need some sort of assistance. It seems like fellow backpackers are always willing to help you out, so when the opportunity presents itself to help another, you'll do the same.

Staying in hostels has never been about the money, per se, though I feel that it's just a place to crash for the night, so why pay extra for a hotel when I don't need it? Plus, anything I save on accommodations might well be blown on a nice meal. But really, it's more about being a part of the backpacker subculture and about the experience.

Additional photos below
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Our boat ride to the confluence of the Iguazu and Parana rivers - Nora was quite nervous about the whole ziplining/rappelling thing, but I reassured her that it was perfectly safe, and there was nothing to be afraid of. Upon getting into the boat I remarked "This boat is much more scarier than what we just did!" - you could see the water through the gaps in the plywood! Nora laughed and smiled - ahhh ... the Spanish smile and laugh ... makes you melt like butter ... And you may have noticed the tattoo on her ankle - I can't be sure, but I think it's an ancient Spanish symbol that means "This girl is hot".

Rambo!!! There were a couple of Argentinean women on the tour who kept laughing at the resemblance, while discreetly trying to take photos of him. Once again - Nora in a boat is hot, Rambo in a boat is not.

Floating down the Iguazu, hoping I don't fall through the plywood floor and drown.

At the point where the Iguazu and Parana meet, there are markers showing each country, decorated in colours matching the flag of each country. Here's Paraguay. And BTW - I need to visit Paraguay one day, because I met a few Paraguayan women on this trip. All I can say is "Paraguayan women are hot, Rambo is not".

The Brazilian side ...

... and the Argentinean side. I don't know if I screwed up the photo, but there's supposed to be a pillar covered with the colours of the Argentinean flag.

Dinne - I ordered the Bife de Chorizo and for the low price, I wasn't expecting very much. Strange - it appeared that the chef had scored the steak in a few spots before grilling it. It didn't seem to affect things too negatively, as the steak was already tough in places, and full of tendons. But still, the steak was perfectly prepared, exactly how I wanted it, and bursting with juice. It's interesting that while you may not get a great cut of meat at a hole-in-the-wall joint here in Argentina, it's usually properly prepared and is rarely over or under-done. The flavour was great, despite the questionable quality of the cut.

I asked for some chimichurri to go with my steak, and having never before tried it, everybody asked me to write down the name so that they could ask for it later. Camilla's proudly displaying her slip of paper, so she'll never have problems with getting chimichurri. Joris also asked me to write it down, cbut it turns out he had earlier heard me talking about my travel blog, and was looking for that web address. This made me wish that for my first trip to Spain, someone had written down "Will you marry me?" for me in Spanish. Things would have been much easier, since I didn't speak a word back then, and never knew how beautiful Spanish women were. Had I known back then, what I know today ... I would have gone to Spain much sooner in life!

If Joris doesn't look too happy here, it's probably because he was pissed off at the loud tango techno music!

Once we walked into the gelato shop, Inar asked me "Do I look like a junkie? Because they keep trying to sell me coke and marijuana!" Maybe it's the beard? I had the same problem here at first, but once I shaved it, there were no more offers.

The banana was phenomenal and the coconut was only OK, though Joris and I agreed that the more you ate of it, the better it tasted. The Ferrero Rocher tasted good, but it didn't actually taste like Ferrero Rocher. I can't believe I ate the whole giant tub!

The bartender would put the 1 L bottles of beer in these styrofoam bullets.

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