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Buenos Aires, Argentina

Foz Íguazu

In my extremem ignorance about the falls, I assumed that Foz d´Iguazu literally meant "Iguazu Falls". Turns out this is not the case, it means "End of the Iguazu River", which is the reason the town is 20km or so from the falls. On discovery of this fact I began something of a rant about "biggest tourist attractions in Brazil" and "you could at least put the town near it" etc etc. However, this only highlighted further gaping holes in my local knowledge, namely the existence of the world´s largest dam, and one of the 7 modern wonders of the world, Itaipu. The constuction of this dam in the late 70´s to early 90´s is the reason Foz dÍguazu´s population swelled from 35 to 400 thousand, and that the waterfall is not central to everything that happens there. Even when the 3 gorges dam is completed in China, Itaipu will still produce more electricity than it over the course of a year. All of Paraguay´s and one third of Brazil´s.

Anyway, enough of the history, on the same day we visited the Brazilian side of the falls and did a guided tour of Itaipu, which took us into Paraguay as well. The following day we left Brazil for the Argentinean side of the falls, so got three countries ticked off in 2 days which was nice. The Argentinean side of the falls are much more spectacular than the Brazilian side since you get much closer and can stare into the abyss that is the "Devil´s Throat". We also took a boat ride under some of the falls which was a bit like going on the log flume at Thorpe Park, but got you wetter. Still all in all, a world class tourist attraction.

Buenos Aires

After Iguazu, I spent just over 2 weeks in Buenos Aires. Primarily learning, perfecting and then forgetting a lot of Spanish, but also partying a fair bit. I mean "necessito practico mi Espanol con las Portenas" or something. Anyway, all good fun. Had a class of 6 of us in Spanish, all of whom were starting from scratch. Throughout the week everyone had moments, my favourite of which came from Australian surfer (and professional daydreamer) Troy.

During our "play" we had written starrinng my mate Dan as the taxi driver, and Troy and myself as foreign tourists learning Spanish, we were all set to steal the glory over our fellow classmates, with a well written (comedy sketch about girls in various countries and our taxi driver sleazing on them) and expertly acted scene. However, Troy had other ideas and in act 1 scene 1, he realised that him having only written down his parts of the play, he had no idea when he needed to come in. When, on the third time of asking, "el taxista" said, "HOLA, TROY, DE DANTE ESTES" he finally picked up, but our hopes of amateur-dramatic-pigeon-spanish glory had well and truly gone.

Other noteworthy things about BA (the city not the airline, as one 18 year old numpty couldnt work out from the context) include:

Tango- they love it. Managed to drag Cuffe there to Cafe Tortoni, this great old French cafe place on my last night in the city. Would have been poor form had we not made it.

City of the Dead, Racoleta- where Evita's grave is. No one is buried, all just in houses, with coffins just sat there. Some open. Some in drawers. Lot of cats around. I´m a dogs man myself.

Boca and the Juniors- one of the things I´m never likely to miss is a trip to the local football team. Especially when its Boca Juniors. Saw them and River play (separately, not together unfortunately, missed that by a week), and I´m definitely on the Boca side of the city. The area where the ground is too is full of coloured houses too. Very exciting.

Going out- lots of great clubs in BA, by far the most European city in South America. Lots of attractive girls but everyone refuses to go to clubs before 2.30 or 3 o clock. You can imagine the impact that this timetable had on my midday Spanish classes. We were also there for St Patricks day, and I am now slightly more famous than before as I was filmed on national Argentine tv, drinking, looking uncool waving at the camera, trying to pretend we were all having a great time for Paddy´s day. Yet more fame heading in my direction.

permalink written by  tevans1 on April 1, 2007 from Buenos Aires, Argentina
from the travel blog: Tom's Travels 2007
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