We are now in Puerto Madryn, Argentina! Let me fill you in on everything since the last time we wrote in Foz Do Iguacu.
We crossed the Argentina border in a local bus, which was actually very easy and about 50 times cheaper than the alternative of taking a taxi. The next day we visited the Argentina side of Iguazu Falls, it was a MUCH better experience than in Brazil. There is about three different trails, each about 1.4km long. All the tourists were spread out throughout all the different trails so it made it much easier to take photos and enjoy in peace. We did all of the trails and our favourite was the ‘Devils Throat’ which took us to the top of a very narrow waterfall – so much water and so powerful!
The same day as the Falls we caught a night bus to Buenos Aires (19 hours.) Luckily we splurged for the ‘cama’ option type of bus which is supposed to be like the middle-class option. It was the best bus I’ve ever been on in my whole life! The seats we huge and reclined very far. They served us dinner, wine, and then breakfast the next day. We were actually able to get some sleep on this bus.
We arrived at the Retiro bus terminal in Buenos Aires around 1pm on November 9. The area was quite rough with rubbish everywhere and even the locals wearing their backpacks on their fronts (to prevent pick-pockets.) I had researched before-hand and knew that the train station was only a block away from the bus terminal and then our hostel was only four stops on the train away (we want to save money whenever possible by taking public transit instead of taxis which are comparable in price to Canada or Australia.) We struggled for a while to figure out the card we had to buy for the train and where to go but eventually made our way to the hostel.
The hostel we chose in Buenos Aires was the Milhouse Hipo which is rated as one of the top 10 party hostels in the world. We stayed in a dorm room and met two American guys and an English guy. That night we went out partying with them and had a great time, I really regretted that decision the next morning when I had an awful hangover.
Even with my hangover, we got up and joined a walking tour provided by the hostel. We were taken to the area of San Telmo which is an area of Buenos Aires with the most history. We were told about the dictatorship in the 70’s and all the people that went “missing”. We also learned about Argentina’s colonisation and some of the political things going on in the country at the moment. Argentina is quite the political country, there are protests everyday and some protests that remain for years. We saw first hand a group of mothers protesting the ignorance of the government towards finding the people that are still missing from the dictatorship (their children) as well as trialling the people responsible. These women are all quite old now but come to the city’s central square every Thursday at 3:30 to protest. They read the names of the people still missing on a megaphone and many people join them in their walk. This tradition has been going on for 45+ years.
The following day we did another walking tour, this time in the area of La Boca. La Boca is very neat looking with all the houses painted bright colours. There were people dancing the tango in the streets and tons of food stalls and restaurants. Tango was created in La Boca! This is also the neighboured of the football (soccer) stadium which we also walked by.
That night we got a real taste of Argentinian culture when we attended a world famous show which began in Argentina called Fuerza Bruta. The guys from our hostel recommended we come with them as they had heard it was amazing! In my opinion, it was basically a mix between Cirque du Soleil, contemporary art, and political theatre. There were people flying from the ceiling, a massive pool with girls swimming above our heads that lowered to the point the audience could touch the bottom of the pool, and percussion music. I’m not exactly sure what the message was as it probably means something different to each individual, but to me it seemed to be about the struggles of the working class and the extra oppression towards women.
The next day we checked out of our hostel and then took a 19 hour bus to Puerto Madryn. Puerto Madryn is in Southern Argentina (Patagonia) on the Atlantic Coast. Here we hope to see some wildlife here before we leave to Rio Gallegos and then Puerto Natales where we will set off for the Torres del Plaine five day trek!