Buenos Aires, Iguazu and Rio

Posted at 23:49:59, 18/12/2004

Sunday 12th December 2004, 7:15pm, Portal del Sur Hostel, Buenos Aires

I had a supposedly early night on Friday, which still involved staying up chatting in the hostel until 3am! Yesterday Lorna and I did a bit more shopping (I don't think either of us has done so much shopping in our lives!) and visited a few of the plazas in this area of the city. We went up the "English Tower" - a small copy of Big Ben.

Lorna wanted to go out on the gay scene again, with a guy who we met last time. I decided to go out with a load of people from the hostel instead and ended up at the South American Music Conference - a huge dance night down by the docks with loads of famous South American and International DJs like Judge Jules and Pete Tong. It went on until 7am, but I was quite pleased to make it until 5:30am without falling asleep on my feet!

This afternoon we went to the lovely area of San Telmo where there is an antique and crafts market every Sunday. Yesterday I randomly met Richard, who I hung out with in Santiago, while walking down the street and today we met Amy in San Telmo, who we haven't seen since Cusco... bloody Gingo Trail :-P

Tuesday 14th December 2004, 7:50pm, Hostel Inn, Puerta de Iguazu

Yesterday I managed to do the last bit of Buenos Aires Christmas shopping... its now almost done, which is quite a relief. I enjoy buying stuff, both for myself and for other people, as my overdraft will testify; but its still hard work trying to think of what to get people. One of the problems has been the large amount of excellent local arts and crafts in Peru and Bolivia, which I didn't buy because I didn't want to carry stuff arounf for two months.

Yesterday we got the bus to Puerto de Iguazu on my first "Coche Cama" - buses with seats that go almost completely back. The hostel here is excellent, with a huge communal area filled with sofas and tables and a large outdoor swimming pool! We decided a place with a pool was essential when we got off the bus in the scorching afternoon sun - even hotter than Buenos Aires.

Thursday 16th December 2004, 5pm, Fox de Iguacu bus station, Brazil

The Iguazu falls were amazing yesterday. We had great weather all day, which was good because we get very wet! The park is really well set-up, with good paths and a small gauge railway for the lazy people! We walked to below the waterfalls, which was awesome. The platforms go to within a few meters of one of the main falls, so you get totally soaked from the spray. There's also a free boat onto an island in the center of the river, where you can see more of the falls, which must be about 2 miles wide and are broken into many smaller torrents surrounded by steep vegetated cliffs.

There's also a walkway that goes along the top of the falls, and a few minutes up the trainline is another walkway. This leads across the huge, slow flowing river upstream from the falls, at the end is a massive U-shaped waterfall, where about a third of the river's flow boils down into a massive cauldron filled with billowing white mist. A stunning place.

I discovered a disaster this morning! I seem to have lost the bag with all my camera films in it, probably while in El Calafate. I've phoned two hostels so far with no luck, and if they don't turn up then it means that the only photos I will have are those from California, Lorna's one disposible camera and the film I just finished. It will be hugely disappointing and annoying if I don't get the opportunity to show people some of the incredible places that I've been and there's always some photos that remind you of places, people or situations that you'd comletely forgotten about.

We crossed into Brazil this morning, in the midst of a tropical rainstorm! We're now waiting for the bus that will take us to Rio de Janeiro for the last stop of the trip. Scarily enough I'll be home in a week!

Saturday 18th December 2004, 1:15pm, The beach! Rio de Janeiro

The bus journey yesterday turned into by far the worst one of the trip and the bus itself was the most uncomfortable one since we left Bolivia. First the air conditioning broke down, which made for a very sweaty journey, then we got stuck in traffic near Sao Paulo before the bus broke down! We waited for ages, thinking that they were sending a replacement bus; all of a sudden our bus drove off, leaving us and three or four other people to chase it down the street! We thought we were finally sorted and heading for Rio when the bus got stopped by the police so that they could search the bags of all the Brazilians who'd brought stuff from Paraguay. We finally rolled up in Rio at 11pm, 7 hours late.

We got a taxi to Patricia's house, a friend from uni who neither of us have seen for nearly two years. She lives in a great flat where we're staying until we fly home on Wednesday. Life is pretty good now as we've been lying on the beach all day, playing in the surf, sunbather and playing cards and paddle-ball :-D

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