This blog is posted mostly everyday when we take a break from our usual retired Life as former full-time RVer's and travel overseas.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Leaving on a Jet Plane, Going Home Again - November 16, 2016

The weather forecast for Iguazu Falls today, I expect it isn't all that different from Retama. This is a travel day, or maybe I should say, 28 hours of travel , since we leave our hotel this morning a 10 am and don't arrive home until 11 am tomorrow morning since Argentina is 3 hours ahead of Texas. It is going to be a long trip. Half of that will be in the air, the rest is getting to and from airports or waiting for flights.

Absolutely no problem with any of the viruses that have been in the news. Any signs we saw seemed to indicate there was no danger from them in that location, but since my knowledge of Spanish is limited mainly to one syllable words, I could be mistaken in my interpretation. No Hablo Espanol Bob.

I suspect all y'all are hoping this is the last selfie I'll be posting, and unless I forget and post another one, it is. And to go out with a bang, it is a double selfie with Denise and Ron, who were on the trip in the background. They were Canadians, but were traveling incognito, having removed the dozens of Canadian flag emblems that would have normally adorned every piece of gear and article of clothing they had. They must have also taken US English language lessons prior to the tour because I don't recall hearing a single "eh" from them the entire trip. Two nicer people you will never meet.

Buenos Aires from the air.

A Buenos Aires slum. We arrived at one airport and are leaving from another on the opposite side of town. Because of the length of time between flights and the fact some of the people were staying over in Buenos Aires, we stopped at the hotel we had stayed at during our two previous times in BA. We would only be there for an hour and a half before heading to the international airport, but the wifi at hotel was great, and I was able to upload the blog posts for the previous four days. As for Linda, she enjoyed two chicken empenadas while I was engaged in blogging. Woe to the poor blogger who toils away informing and entertaining with tales of travel to foreign climes while his lovely companion enjoys the pleasures of self same distant land. Maybe I should call that "Ode to an Argentine Urge". Poet Bob.

Evita Peron may be long gone, but Peronists keep her memory alive. As Annie said, people either think she was a great person, or they think the opposite. As more and more facts are uncovered about her the pendulum swings back and forth. So it is with leaders everywhere. Wonder if anything can trump how the US pendulum is swinging now? Punster Bob.

So, what is a Pringle can photo doing on the blog? It's Linda's fault. Actually it was a very good fault. She put some toilet paper in the bottom and some toilet paper in the top. No, it is not a pee can for emergencies on the plane. Disclaimer entered because with her Appalachian hill girl background. It was to protect my hearing aids when I sleep during the overnight flight. And she got to eat the pringles! Super Smart Linda.

No more flights on LAN/LATAM. This was the view out my window as we waited for takeoff. Yes, you heard that right. After having a center seat with Linda in the aisle and someone always in the seat on the other side of me on the previous 9 flights, I finally got a break. This flight, on a 777, was only two thirds full. We were in row 44, the next to last row. Just before takeoff a flight attendent asked if we wanted to move to the two seats in row 43 on the left side. Quick as a mongoose I was over a bewildered Linda and in that window seat. Once recovered, she moved the aisle seat beside me. I have to believe this was just another of those special things that happened to us this trip because of Annie's good karma. Very Happy Bob.

Buenos Aires from the air, we are on our way home. What grand time we had, and we are already planning our next trip, just waiting to get back to Texas to commit to it. One of the first orders of business is going to be learning how to make empenadas that taste like the ones we have been experiencing. Soon we will be exiting the plane and looking for Dianne and Roger's big smiles. Travelling is fun, but so is being home with friends. Life is good indeed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

More of Iguazu Falls - November 15, 2016

Interesting sign on the window of our bus this morning. We never have the same bus day after day. No one in the group knew what it meant. "No Human Trafficking". Wonder if it is on any of the buses in the US?

While waiting in line to board the train that would take us deep into the park, this butterfly landed on my watch. It stayed there for the longest time while it's proboscis continually moved around on the stainless steel part of the watch band. There wasn't any water there so it must have found a butterfly gold mine of salt.

This a yacutinga. The lodge we stayed in the last two nights was named after this bird. They are quite rare, Annie saying this was the first one she had ever seen in the wild. Guess it was our lucky day. Casino Bound Bob, not.

If this is a relatively uncrowded time of the year I feel sorry for the people who visit the park during the high season. We were always able to eventually get to the perfect spot to take a photo, even if I don't always post them.

And there were times when the perfect spot, at least in my mind, was devoid of people.

As ive said before, the falls are just that, falls, many, many falls as that extremely wide river plunges into a gorge around a horseshoe shaped rim. I guess the best description is many separate falls of various heights and water volume in the shape of a fish hook.

More falls.

And more falls.

An even more falls.

She did it.

I did it.

It was far wetter than it looks.

You can get pretty close to some of the falls on the catwalks.

Lunch time. Our last empenadas. At least till we get back to Retama.

The means of transportation for our afternoon fun.

On board and ready to go.

Where we are going is in the background.

With video camera in hand I was ready.

And in we go. Not just once but several times. With seats right at the front of the boat we were the first ones in. Awesome is the best word to use. Linda held her nose the first time. The second time she just screamed. Who says only teens can have fun.

After it was over Linda said she now understood what drenched to the bone meant. Everything not in the waterproof bag was soaked, including the pesos she had in her pocket.

I've been remiss in not posting a toucan photo. No more.

Linda at tri-country overlook just a 100 meters from our hotel. She's standing in Argentina, Brazil is across the river to the right and Paraguay is across the river to the left. We didn't get to Paraguay this trip, but we love South America so much, who knows what the future holds.

A great end to the day. Especially for Annie as Argentina was handily winning it's World Cup qualifying match. It may not be a jumbo screen, but it didn't matter. Americans have no concept of the intensity with which countries support their national soccer teams. Tomorrow we return to Buenos Aires, thence to take our overnight flight back to the US. Stating it simply, this is the best tour we have ever been on, far exceeding our expectations. Patagonia was beyond anything we had imagined. Never will we think of wind in the same way. But best all was Annie, who somehow worked her magic over and over. I'll probably post a couple of wrap-up posts over the next few days, maybe, and then maybe not. Indecisive Bob.

On to Igassu Falls - November 14, 2016

Early morning on our way to breakast. The question is, what is the woman in the photo doing? Maybe some form of oriental exercise? Actually she is breaking trail so to speak, using her best anti-spiderweb form. The rain forest requires one to move out of their normal comfort zone.

Just a couple of steps further she suddenly stopped. She stooped down and came up with this deceased cicadia in her hand. She won't touch raw meat, but thinks nothing of picking up a huge bug. Just another reason why man will never understand woman. Befuddled Bob.

Breakfast was a lonely affair this morning. But even so, it meant that all the food at the buffet was mine if I wanted, well, except for what Linda took. We are at Yacutinga Lodge and they say the food is gourmet regional cuisine. Whatever they called it, thes r were the best meals we had on the trip, and in the rain forest of all places.

Butterflies were everywhere this morning.

Linda works hard to take these photos. I know I posted a photo of this species a few days ago, but marital bliss oftentimes requires inconveniences for the male mate. Well Trained Bob.

On our walk yesterday morning, some orphan orchids that had fallen from the trees were picked up by our guide. Linda had spied an unusual one, which turned out to be an orchid and cactus whose roots were intertwined. This morning they were to be "planted". Planting meant attaching them to a tree trunk with a narrow piece of nylon stocking. Linda had fun planting her find.

Success. Over time the roots will grab onto the tree and they should live a happy and productive life. It may not look like the kind of orchid and cactus we are familiar with, but that is exactly what they are. Green Thumb Linda.

It was a cramped van leaving the lodge with luggage piled high and filling the aisle, plus every seat was occupied.

A wild papaya along the road. Birds, monkeys, coati and other creatures eat the fruit and then spread the seeds with a natural dose of fertiziler.

Lunch on the ride. Freshly made empenadas, something we are really going to miss. We both just love thee beef ones. Linda especially likes the fact they have pieces of egg white in the filling.

Linda saw a dirt mound in a tree. Luckily the van was stopped for the moment. It turned out to be the nest of the national bird of Argentina with the bird sticking it's head out to see who the paparazzi was.

He roads are of three kinds. The highways and major streets in towns are asphalt. They are very few. Another type of "paved" roads and parking lots are the ones paved witth the local volcanic rock which has a flat surface. Everything else is red dirt. Anything that moves has a reddish tint to it to varying degrees, footwear included.

Woman's restroom at a Shell service station we stopped at for a bano break. Linda couldn't get over how the toilet was at a right angle to how it should be. There was barely enough room for a lady to drop her dainties and perch on her throne. Banging her head on the wall was a coming going experience. The only thing Linda could figure out, was that maybe the door wouldn't have closed if the toilet was oriented in the normal direction. In the end we decided it was just another of the many head shaking mysteries we have enountered in Argentina where things just aren't the way we are accustomed to them being.

Plenty of room here. The purpose of the photo was to show the artistic nature of things in Argentina. Beyond the red and yellow Shell colors on the trim work in the men's retreat, the plastic dissipaters in the urinals were also Shell red. The Argentinians have out sophisticated the French. Art Critic Bob.

We finally made it to the falls. Let's get one thing clear right now. No photo can possibly do justice to the falls, simply because it is literally impossible to see all the falls from one location, they are so massive. There is only one thing that can be experienced everywhere, the sound of the water that never ceases. What follows today and tomorrow is a tiny glimpse at what is here. It truly is a, you need to experience it to appreciate it, kind of place.
Impressed Bob and Linda.

The other thing that is here is people, lots and lots of people. It is hard to imagine what it will be like in high season, come a few months. Most visitors are naturally from Argentina with Brazil second. Overseas visitors come mostly from the US, followed by Great Britain and Europe, though the Chinese have now discovered it and are starting to arrive ever increasing numbers. All the shops take Argentine pesos, Brazilian reales, US dollars and Euros.

Another small section of the falls.

Some sections have more water cascading over them than others.

Coati, they are everywhere. They are nasty wild scavengers that will steal the food right off your table. There are signs that show the terrible wounds they can inflict on your hand with their claws or teeth. The park approaches it as a people problem, not a Coati problem. They were here first and it is up to we humans to avoid them, not the other way around, where the park traps them and relocates them as in the US. Another country that runs their national parks right. And the facilities were also second to none. It's a shame our national parks are so poorly managed.

Taken at the moment we passed the border while the bus drove across a bridge between Brazil and Argentina. If you don't know which side is which, check out their flags.

Photo of a beautiful Brazilian babe in the lobby of our hotel. Maybe not technically corrrect, but she was in Brazil today and she is most definitely a "babe". Appreciative Bob.

Disclaimer: There are only so many photos of the falls I could post before they become meaningless. The best way to appreciate it is to visit it. For those who can't, more photos tomorrow as we spend the day up close and personal with the falls on the Argentine side. All of today's photos were taken from the Brazilian side.