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I hope bugs hate Campsuds more than they like toothpaste...

ARGENTINA | Friday, 12 September 2008 | Views [695] | Comments [4]

So it took me a whole 8 hours of traveling to Miami for me to be glad I´d overpacked and brought lots of soap; I had an eight hour layover and my bag was covered in toothpaste because the pressure had magically unscrewed the cap.  Orange, sticky, everywhere.  I don´t know if I was more annoyed that the goo was all over the place and impossible to fully clean, or that half of my toothpaste was gone and lord only knew where I´d find some more Aquafresh, Crest, or Colgate - anything minty that seemed like it would do the trick, really.  Oh well, my first test in patience.

Eighteen hours later I met up with Jen at the Buenos Aires airport, where I´d spent seven hours sitting next to two sportscasters from ESPN and Fox Sports both drenched in Aqua di Gio.  Didn´t expect that.  Made it into the city, and after frantically getting off of the public bus once we saw our street pass by, realized we´d gotten off at the 3800 block when our hostel was in the 900s.  Our first long walk of the trip.

The next few days were spent checking out the various neighborhoods of the city.  I´d heard many people liken B.A. to Paris - a very European South American city, and while each turn seemed to expose a building more extravagant than the last, the grafiti, garbage, and overall rundown look of the city seemed to steal away all of its archetectural glory.  Although there were many cool areas and things to see, after catching a very Argentine soccer game when the weather was in the high 30sF - we decided it was time to go on our way to somewhere warmer.  Besides, we did not go on this trip to catch a cold.

Next we headed north up to the magical Iguazu Falls on the border of Paraguay and Brasil where, after an 18 hour bus ride, dirty and grumpy, we hopped on the wrong bus and ended up at the Falls with all of our belongings.  Although not ideal, seeing our first glimpse of sunshine since we´d arrived perked us right up and we spent the day hiking around the beautiful Iguazu.  (Unfortunately, everytime I try to plug my camera into this computer it disables the mouse for an hour, so I cant get pictures up now but promise to later.)  

Anywho, our sunshine ran out by the next day which suprisingly ended up being a blessing in disguise.  Because of the rain, an Israeli we´d met decided not to go to the Brazilian side of the falls after his German friend left him early in the morning.  (The German, Hubert(pronounced OOH-berrT), left in a huff the night before when he was unimpressed by our attempt to play poker with uncooked bowtie noodles.)  Anyhow, with the rain and this Israeli at our disposal, we ended up spending the day running around the quaint town of Iguazu in search of a store that was open, and had our Israeli friend barbeque us the most phenomenal steak I´ve ever had.  Unfortunately since Argentines in Iguazu apparently siesta from 1230-4pm, by the time we had our steak and Malbec ready we had 10 minutes to down in before running to catch our next bus.  Although rushed, it was honestly the best meal I´ve ever had. 

Still delirious from our steaks, we headed southwest to Mendoza, Argentina´s wine region.  Five ham and cheese sandwiches later, we arrived in Mendoza, only to be greeted at the bus terminal by a teenage boy who conviced us to stay at his pop´s hostel instead of the one we´d booked.  What can I say, he got us at the ¨free wine 24 hours a day.¨

Only in Mendoza do you get a hostel with a bed, breakfast, ping pong, a pool and wine 24/7 for $9/day. 

(Oh, and a quick note about ham and cheese sandwiches in Argentina: its all they eat.  Example, on our bus they handed out lunch - a plate with ham and cheese on wheat, a triple decker ham and cheese on white, and ham and cheese on a hamburger bun.  That´s for one person.  For dinner: two ham and cheese sandwiches.  The best beef in the world and all they eat is ham and cheese.  Really?!???)

I digress.

Although the hostel in Mendoza was really homey and laid back compared to the party-hostel we´d stayed at in Buenos Aires, unfortunately wine was not all it came with, as the next day when we took a bicycle wine tasting tour in Mendoza´s vineyards I realized I´d been attacked by something sleeping in my bed - apparently inclusive in the hostel price.  While the wine tour was fabulous, sipping on Malbec, Cabernet, tasting chocolate and olive oil, by the end of it I was quite uncomfortable.  Not only was the left side of my face swelling up from two dime-sized bites on my cheek, but my ear was double the size, and I had a bump on my collarbone imitating my shoulder - kind of matching the large bump near my ankle I´ve had since Boston.  My bum was also rather sore because of the bicycles, and three days later it still is..  Now don´t get me wrong, I´m not complaining about drinking wine in Argentina, I guess I just find it funny that they think it´s a good idea to do it on bicycles on a busy road in a country with the second most automobile related deaths in the world.  Oh well, apparently I thought it was a good idea too because I did it nonetheless.

Yesterday we arrived in Salta, a colonial town in the north central part of Argentina.  The weather of course is crappy because I think clouds and rain follow us, but it allowed us to spend the day/evening with a Division II Argentine soccer team, which was interesting to say the least.  (I guess there are six divisions, so I guess the second division is pretty good??)  Undersexed and over zealous I think they paid the two of us a little too much attention, but it made for good laughs nonetheless.  Today we´re kind of hanging out and I may check out the Chabad this evening before hittng up the apparently happening Salta night life.  After that, we´re skipping most of the rest of Argentina´s bigger cities in order to get up to Bolivia quicker.  Cities are just cities after all, and Bolivia´s weak currency and beautiful scenery is supposed to be pretty spectactular, wo we´re pretty stoked to get into the more rugged outdoors.

I itch like hell and I´m hoping my blood doesn´t taste as good in Bolivia, but overall we´re having a really good time.  Sick of ham and cheese, but I´m guessing we´ll be missing them once we head up into Bolivia where they don´t even have safe drinking water. 

But hey, I´m not complaining ;)

 

Comments

1

Sarrrrraaaa!!!! (Mommmmz!!!!!)
Jill and I are sitting on my couch and we just read your fabulously written blog out loud. Jill just said "she's amazing" and I agree. We miss you terribly, but instead of saying "I wish you were here" I'm actually really glad you're traveling and having a wonderful time (despite all those bug attacks and toothpaste explosions). Keep the blogs coming and send them to Jilsep@gmail.com (cuz she doesnt get brandeis mail anymore). We miss you like the deserts miss the rain...like Regis Philbin misses Kathy Lee...like the US misses a democratic president. So, in sum, we love you and hope you continue to have a great time! ciao bella

  Sara and Jill Sep 13, 2008 2:29 AM

2

Oh man, sounds like you are having a fabulous time...funny how looking back on the trip as much as you'll think about wine and steak, you'll remember, ham and cheese, bugs and toothpaste. I will HAVE to go meet you somewhere, I miss traveling so much and am beyond jealous of you. Good luck in your next adventure and I hope Jen is helping you make friends :)

Love you!

Michelle

  Michelle Sep 13, 2008 3:05 AM

3

Hey Sara!
You're not missing much in American politics! It's getting scarier! Stores have sold out of Sarah Palin's glasses and hairdressers are getting requests for duplicate boufants. Your mom and I thought you needed a dose of American political mania.

We are watching CNN as we read your blog. Which by the way, the blog is much more inetresting. Sounds like you're having a great time, despite gooey toothpaste messes and ham and cheese overload, need a little adventure to keep things interesting right?! Know what bit you yet? Can't wait to see your pictures! And read more about your adventures!!!

Will you please update my email and re-add me to your list, it's beckie.harris@gmail.com

Happy Travels!
Cheers!
Love Beck

  Beckie Harris Sep 13, 2008 3:04 PM

4

Dear bedbug food

Ahh personal hygeine first thing to go overboard lack of paste, chewed and swallowed by various insect forms, hopefully no eggs beneath the epidermis (look for itching and the feeling that someone is drawing a roadmap under the dermis)

Bruce Chatwin In patagonia, the original travel document for the country you are in, at least the southern parts and say hello to all the nazi offspring in paraguay, even a better hiding place than the capitol of argentina- president schroeder I think his name was, emporer for life

meantime, have all your friends register to vote here- if the 18-30s dont do it, they can say hello to the draft to fund the endless war that fuels the war monger economy, by by to abortion choice as the supreme court is packed with fascists like scalia and idiots like thomas, and drill here drill now morons chanting- soon it will be impossible to travel, for the entire world will just assume every american is an asshole like the people governing us are way too many nfl and nascar fans who could not bring themselves to vote for a nigracoloredpersonblack on the last day of eternity, will wrap themselves in the flag and pretend they dont hate their lives so my advice stay away, but have your peers register to vote

  skip Sep 15, 2008 1:14 AM

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