Friday, April 10, 2009

Iguazu Falls

Well im sorry to all for my weak attempt at my previous entry. I realy didnt feel like writing it so it got a little rushed. Just ask me about that part of the trip when you see me and I will tell you all about it. Our layover on Santiago went by prety quick. We got the cheapest meal yet in the food court. It was a little salty but not a bad plate of food. Our bus left arround 10:30 and we were off. I was a little upset that it was a night bus because we were crossing the andes through a very high pass that I wanted to see, but thats not the way it worked out, oh well. We did see a little by moonlight of a big hydro dam and some very very steep roads, but that was about all of it. Again we had a little trouble with our avocatos crossing boarders. Our problem this time is we just couldnt eat them fast enough. So we had to toss two beauties that we had been ripining for a week. Sad day for all. Other than that crossing the boarder was a breeze and we awoke in the Mendoza bus terminal arround 5 in the morning, After hitting 7 hostels with a girl taging along from the bus, we finaly found a room. Of course it was arround 6am, and check in time was 11 so we had some time to kill. So I spent that time sleeping (since I cant seem to on the bus) on 3 bean bag chairs sprawled out across the floor. Good recipe for a sore back. I was awoke by Sage bringing me some breakfast from the kitchen. I quickly wiped the dool from my beard and ate some toast. Sage had already been chatting with an american couple who had come from where we were going so we did a little brain picking then headed to our room.

Later that afternoon we set out for a bit of a walk. We hapened to stumble into a cigar shop that had cards for sale in the window. And actual cards with 52 cards in the deck as apposed to "spanish cards" with 32. So we finaly had cards and we headed to the park to play some games. While playing a some cards Sage spotted a few girls walking by with ice cream. I stare and bikes and Sage stares at ice cream, or mabie it was the girls. Anyway we set out to find some frozen goods for ourselves. We found a nice looking place on the way back to the hostel and had tip top service. This kid was handing out samples of all the special kinds that are not even on the menu yet. And after about 20 minuates of trying flavors and trying to deside between 50 different types we were on our way back to the hostel for dinner. We were a little late by the time we were hungry enough to start thinking about dinner after all that ice cream. And everything was closed so we ended up ordering some pizza, wich arrove in a speedy fasion on the rear of a motorcycle. Luckly we picked a winner from the list and got a pizza that was delicious compared to the other guys at the hostel that were supprised by there entire pizza being covered in a cool layer of shitty ham. That morning we had made plans to hit the town with the two americans. Unfortuanatly they had there passporsts, cash, bank cards and all but one soon to be maxed credit card stolen from the bus station. Right out of her bag while it was on her back! Needless to say they wernt exactly in the mood to party. So Sage and I bought them a litre of beer, sat and drank it with them, then took off with two eatern europeans. Odd few they were.

Out on the main drag of town we sat waiting for a cab, you can usualy see at least three cabs at all times but on this night there were none. The one that finaly stoped, wouldnt allow us in the car and continued to tell us that the taxis were on strike that night. After a little research we learned that someone had shot and killed a taxi driver earlyer that night while robbing him, and that the taxis were not working and had blocked off strees with there cars as a sign of protest. Apparently abuse on taxi drives is quite frequent in Mendoza over the parst few years. We desided that the night was prety much a bust, and as we were heading back to the hostel a man pulled up in a car and asked us were we needed to go. We told him and before we knew it we were off. He was a smart man, whenever the taxis go on strike, he just takes his car out and runs his own little taxi service. Bet he made a bunch of money that night as there were people everywhere trying to get cabs. We got to Villanueva street prety late but there were still alot of people out. We did a loser lap and grabed a table outside of some pub, ordered a torpedo of beer. (big chilled tube that sits on the table and you can pour out your desired amount over the night)
They party a little different in Mendoza than we do in Canada, everyone just kinda sits arround at tables in there little groups and dosent talk to anyone else. So we did just that till we got one of the tool tables and team Canada dominated team Europe. We headed home arround 4am, and the way home worked out even better than the way there. We stoped in a hostel on the street to ask about the cab situation and a guy in there said he was heading that way "ish" and offered us a ride. He had lived in Toronto for 4 years or so and had no trouble helping out his "fellow Canadians".

We lazed about the next day and the following day headed to the big park for a picnick. We spent most of the day by the "lake" (concrete hole in the ground full of dirty water) listening to music and relaxing. When we both had to pee realy bad we disided to move. We headed twards the Carosel, it was realy cool. Looked like it was from the 50's, the horses were all beatup along with the few cars and airplane that also spun arround the big center post. The music at this place was terible, it was so loud that it forced us to leave. We began walking back twards the city when we stubled upon the bigest fountain I have ever seen. We then grabed a cab to the top of the park where there is a huge monument that is on the back of there 5 peco bill. It was huge and sat right on the tip top of the highest mountain in mendoza. It was turning dark by the time we left and headed back to the hostel for some Lord of the Rings. That took us till 5am some how, and now a little pissed that we had become completley nocturnal we luckly were woken by the maid at 10 and had our asses kicked out of bed and onto a bus out twards wine country to do a bike tour. We rented some bike from Mr. Hugo and headed out into the counrty side. First we went to the wine museum, where they run a small winery aswell. It was cool to see all there old wine making equipment from way back. They have some of the first wine making equipment where they would just smash it all up with there feet in a stretched out cow hide. After some sips of there finest we took off south twards the olive farm. Sages eyes lit up when she read that on the list. Little did we know it was a 6 km ride down a stupidly busy road to get there. After a little diesel smoke inhalation we got there and got a quick but informative tour of how they make olive oil. Had an olive oil tasting with bread and sundries tomatos, then had our own lunch under an olive tree. About 20 minuates after we finished eating a lady came out and kicked us off the property and told us that we were not allowed to "picnick" there. We left without struggle and headed north now for Trapiche winery. The map that Mr. Hugo gave us was crap, even the cop on the moped couldnt figure it out. Anyway we ended up riding a few Km's to the middle of nowhere and by the time we got to the winery it was closed. Luckly the chocolate factory was still open so we slid in for a tasting. We were expecting a tour but apparently they dont do that, but they did do tastings. This one was a little wired, they give you a shot of chocolate liquer, a little basket of chocolate then give you 4 spoonfulls of random marmolade with nothing to put it on? We packed up the choclate that we couldnt eat (I didnt realy feel like eating and drinking chocolate after riding a bike for an hour) and headed to return the bikes, when we got there it seemed there was a party hapening, so we stayed for a while, and after falling into conversation with a gal that had a little to much to drink and loved vancouver just a little to much, we bailed.

Our bus to Cordoba left that night at 10:30, It was a prety easy 10 hours that put us there arround 8. We spoke with a couple from the Mendoza hostel that were on the same bus as us and they had said that they had some trouble finding a place to stay in Cordoba. This made Sage and I a little nervous so we disided to call arround a bit first to save some taxi time. Luckly the first place we called had room. Out infront of the "Cordoba Backpackers Hostel" there was a strictly motorcycle parking area. I have never seen this many bikes in one place. There was probly 125 bike all packed in to one side of the street, so tightly infact that you had to walk all the way arround the line to cross the road to where our room was. We only had one night in Cordoba with our bus leaving to Iguazu Falls the next day at noon. We did a little sleeping in the morning to catch up for the terrible sleep had in bus seats. We awoke just in time to catch the tour to Che Guevara's house in the town agacent to Cordoba. Apparently the family moved there because of the clean air since he had very bad asthma. It was prety cool to be in his house. They had alot of artifacts including the old Norton that him and his friend took over the Andes.

It was a 20 hour bus ride to where we are now. The longest trip yet, that actualy wasnt that bad. I got a little cramped up, with my legs falling asleep a few times and getting one realy bad charlie horse. We also were worried about getting a room in Iguazu since its Easter weekend and this place is realy busy apparently. But again we got lucky and the first place we went had room. So today we headed out the the park where the falls are, but not to see the falls. Our hostel manager told us that today is the busyest day of the year to see the falls, but there is a nice walk through the jungle where you may catch some wildlife. We desided this was a great idea, and headed off at about 1. Its a quick half hour bus ride to the park gate. We grabed a map and headed into the jungle. The first ant sighting was terifying. This is the jungle! and as we watched a ant the size of my pinky finger eat a big grasshopper, we realized we might be in for some crazy wildlife. We did see alot of wildlife, more butterflys than you can emagine, in all sorts of colours and sizes, lots of birds with huge tails and way to many spiders the size of my hand. The little jungle hike we were on was supposed to lead us to a smaller waterfall with a swimming hole at the bottom. When we got there we were both a little choked. The waterfall looked like me peeing off the roof, and the pool at the bottom was covered in flying red ants! We quickly ate a sandwich and headed for home. Just as we approched the road, we heard a big russle in the bushes and all of a sudden 15 or so ant eatters came barraling accross the trail noses down and digging up whatever they could find to eat. Luckly they crossed the trail right at a sharp tuen so they had to cross it twice. They were just rippin arround, climbing trees and jumping from tree to tree! They didnt seem to mind Sage and I that much and just continuted mulching everybug they could find. Some were almost the size of Dom with other baby ones that could alomst fit in your hand. All sizes seemed to have tails twice the length of there bodys tho. It was our first real forign wildlife sighting since we got here besides the penguins but that was at a reserve. I still didnt get to see any moneys but hopefully that will come soon. We are going to go back tommorow and catch the big falls, hopefully its a little more impresive than the water we saw today. We are going to be here for 2 more days then we are heading back east to Salta where we can head north to Bolivia.

Later Orin.

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