Sunday, 7 August 2011

Day Three: Argentina – A journey to Heaven – Iguaçu, Iguaçu


The sheer size of this forest was impeccable – as far as the eye could see was (what appeared to be) undisturbed plant growth – no borders/ hedges, no squares or rectangles, no buildings or roads. I was in love – the world truly existed. Never in my life had I seen anything so beautifully natural.


We took our time to rise, eat, to pack – to end our first leg of Argentina. In midday heat of 33 degrees we made our way to Buenos Aires domestic airport to fly to Puerto de Iguaçu. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iguazu_Falls

On arriving we discovered that yesterday parts of the airport had been on strike. We had chosen to fly standby – again – and fear was welling in my blood. Standing in (at what first impressions was) a short, efficient queue – slowly developed into my worst nightmare. Within 40 minutes we had moved little less than three metres and suddenly the luggage conveyor belts stopped! 20 minutes later bags were not being checked-in; nothing was moving and our queue was rapidly elongating. The airport luggage team was on strike.

Great – might we miss Christmas in serenity? Might we spend Christmas at the airport – just like the families we left in Paris?

I felt sick and sure I was destined not to have an amazing holiday - how selfish! Then after 90 minutes suddenly the airport was back in full action as though nothing had happened. We ran to the departure gate (grabbing a burger along the way) where the plane was well and truly waiting to take us North – to the meeting points of Paraguay and Brazil.

We soon noticed we were reaching our destination as the carpet beneath us filled a rich green, becoming a thicker cluster of fluff – the Rainforest was below – the sheer size of this forest was impeccable – as far as the eye could see was (what appeared to be) undisturbed plant growth – no borders/ hedges, no squares or rectangles, no buildings or roads. I was in love – the world truly existed. Never in my life had I seen anything so beautifully natural.

As we descended the texture of the forest became clear – trees exposed themselves well above the under foliage; small streams meandered their way through a healthy habitat. The airport emerged within a deep red open space surrounded by a small network of red roads – this was the richness of the location’s soil [one I discovered later would ruin all white clothing – beyond the help of ‘Vanish’!]

The landing and exit from the airport was fast. We were soon on the minibus to Puerto de Iguaçu centre to track down a hostel.

On arriving the town was more than I imagined as a slight tear welled in the corner of my eye – this was one of my childhood dreams being fulfilled.

The mains street was ill formed and side streets simple dirt tracks. The hostels were plentiful here; with many rooms available. We chose Sweet Hostel – purely because it has a reasonably clean bathing pool and seemed quaint. It was the third hostel we’d visited and not necessarily my personal favourite (but it was Lonely Planet’s best pick). The staff were incredibly helpful and made us feel at home instantly. It was basic but ideal for its price AR$120 per night for a double room with private bathroom including air conditioning and breakfast. Amazing for two people – about £10 each – whoop whoop! http://www.hostelsweethostel.com.ar/index_eng.html

The evening was nearing so it was time to explore Puerto de Iguaçu  - first for a few Caipirinha followed by a big piece of steak then more Caipirinha
 – I was determined to have a sore head in the morning. Our first stop was bar/ restaurant Terra – for a wok-style Argentine steak at just AR$59. Then off for drinks further in the town dirt cheap at just AR$10 each (£1.80) made with passion (from the ferocious nature of the cocktail shaking.) Then bed – ready to commence our biggest adventure yet!... http://www.vivatravelguides.com/south-america/argentina/iguazu-falls/puerto-iguazu/puerto-iguazu-restaurants/terra-wok-bar-restaurant/

COSTS:
Bus to domestic airport: AR$17
Bus to Puerto Igauzu: AR$20
Sweet Hostel: AR$120 per night