Day 1 Saturday 5th April. Melbourne to Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is some 12, 000kms from Melbourne , some 15 hours flying time and 3 air terminal changes . Andrew, Noah and Angus collected us at 7.00am for our trip to the airport and departure for Sydney 9.00am. Going through scanners Bill needed to go through twice for what reason no one could say. Emptying his pockets of small change, wallet, watch etc on the other side small change around $2 missing. This was some sort of omen of things to come. Our flight to Sydney was quite uneventful, disembarking in Sydney, finding our way to International terminal for check in and boarding pass then onto customs area and everyone who is anyone wanting to see our passport and boarding pass. Going through customs, Bill again required to go through twice donot know why, this time loosing his glasses found many hours later by me in BA (Buenos Aires) No sooner had we taken off, water was bought around to every one. A few hours later Shepherds pie was the only choice and as far as airways food goes it was quite tasty.
After a sleep for some 3 or 4 hours it was time for more food this time a snack and wine for Bill and Coffee for me. Since we had crossed the Intrnational Dateline and it was now Saturday morning , breakfast came at around 7.00 am (9.00pm Melb time) In between Bill watched a couple of movies, I read and did Sudoko as my screen was not working, I swapped seats with Bill and watched The Railwayman an excellect film. Arriving in Santiago I was quite disappointed with t
he Air International Air terminal we have better ones in our capital cities. After a 2 hour wait we boarded our plane f
or more drinks and snacks and 1.5 hour flight to BA.Yest another country so more passport presentations and it was time to collect luggage but for us on, y 1 bag had arrived. After much looking we finally presented ourselves to attendant and more searching but no bag. The attendant made out claim slip andsuggested it would be on the next flight in around o.30pm that night with the comment this often happens with Qantas and Santiago. Fortjneately there were others on our tour and had seen our plight and when we finally arrived at the meeting place tne tour guide was most helpful checking with LAN Airways that the claim had been processed and we had the correct paperwork. Onto our hotel and to meet the tour manager and a small get together for allon the tour by 9.30pm fell into bed exhausted. Riccardo the tour manager and the hotel took ownership of finding oir luggage.
Day 2 Sunday 5th April Buenos Aires.
We slept fitfully, woken several times during the night with a noisy air conditioner. No luggage, all we know is it made it to Santiago. Bill has been lent a jacket as apart from jeans and shirt undies and socks he has 1 extra pair of undies that I carried in our back pack, and there is a threat of rain. We have no local currency, we had thought we would be able to get some at the airport but other things happening missed that opportunity. Our guide has suggested not to worry about money as we will not need on this part and do not try to change anything you have in shops or streets the black market is notorius and Argentina has the worst corruption of all the Latin American countries. Today we visited an Argentine Ranch,we were greeted with orange juice, wine and empanadas.(similar to a saosa but not spicy also similar to a pasgie but smaller). The ranch very touristy but the old homestead was interesting with many artifacts inside and the gardens around the homestead were well kep and lovely.. Lunch was an Argentine BBQ where salads are served and eaten then comes the meat cooked slowly over hot coals on what looked like an old cyclone farm gate. South americans use a lot of salt and although the sirloin steak, chicken sausages and lamb were tender and delicious a little to salty for my taste.
Next we were treated to a show of Tango dancing, Adgentine music and singing then it was time for the gauchos (cowboys) to do there act with their horses. Arriving back at the hotel in time for a short rest before dinner at the Tango Club and more Tango dancing. To much food today breakfast a huge lunch and then an evening meal whew!!
Day 3 Monday 7th April Buenos Aires.
Can you believe it the first stop today was a cemetry. This cemetry is the oldest BA established in 1822 the oldest grave 1823 was of a woman whose husband was a famous general but there was absolutely no mention of his wife name only her date or birth and death and the generals name.The cemetry was mausoleum style in little named streets 5.5 acres of them. Only the very wealthy are buried here in plot about the lenght of coffin square but very deep some Re holding up to 12 next of kin, the most recent death on display and others underneath. Should family fall onto hard times they can sell the plot but must remove all who are buried and the mausoleum top to another cemetery. Eva Peron is buried here but outside her families plot. Next was a visit to a Bario, Evoca the oldest lart of BA the original town settlement, narrown cobblestoned street, quaint little houses, English aand Spanish in style some well cared for and brightly painted others run down. One street is all Souvenir shops a lovely sofy leather jacket a ailable for $300US including 21% gst cheap in our terms but when the average wage is $800US per month I guess it is relative. Next we headed for the oldest restaurant in BA. Via the newest part of the city which is reclaimed around the old port, many old storage buildings, gutted and refurbished in to apartments and very expensive, a bit like Docklands.The Tortoni cafe opened in 1858 exactly where it stands today but of course refurbished many times with gorgeous stained glass ceiling erected in 1880. Lunch cknsisted og terrible breads, several kinds of sausages (salami style), olives and tasteless soapy cheese. With 80% of the population Roman Catholic around 60% practicing we visited the Cathedral an unusual building from the front looks like like the front of an office block with 12 pillars out the front, inside beaufiful mosaic tiled floor, painted ceilings, stained glass windows, highly decorated alcoves in memory of forefathers of the country, including San Martin who rresponsible for gaining independence from Spain in 1822 of Argentina, Chile and Peru. The afternoon was free so Bill &I went shopping for Jeans and shirt finally purchased what we needed at Levi Jeans for $140US including 21% gst quite cheap for us but for Argentinians earning $800USer month the average wage they are probably not that cheap. Tonight we had the choice of 3 retaurants to choose from for dinner. The restaurant we cjose was very nice but we were the only ones to choose it so were on our own, we thought the tour guide could have told us and gone where some of the others were. We really can't complain as Riccardo and hotel are bending over backwards to help us search for our luggage.
Day 4 Tuesday 8th April Buenos Aires to Igassau Falls.
Up at 5.30am packed, showered and ready for breakfast and ready to leave for the airport by 7.00am. Although the plane was over half an hour late we were still able to walk out to the Devils Throat at the top of the falls which is on the Argentina side. A Train ride through the jungle (rainforest) a 1km walk alkm g a board walk crossingthe 3 rivers that come in from Paraguay, Argentina & Brazil to form the falls. Ihave never seen such wide fast moving rivers such as these. The sound of the water crashing down over the edge was deafening creating a misty spray as it went. The volume of wated spilling over at present is 0.8million megaLI
tres a secon
d and can reach up to 1.5million megalitres a second. The water does produce electricity for some 13 power stations. We returned to train like drowned rats little did we know what was to come. We left Argentina crossing into Brazil more passport showing and form filling out before movingonto the Cataratus Hotel inside the Igassu National Park. The hotel is a beautiful Colonialn style rabbit warren of a building, beautifully apponted exterior with shops and gardens our home for the nexrt 2 nights. Still no word on our luggage but we do not expect to see it until Rio De Janeiro.
PICTURE IGASSAU FALLS FRLM OUR HOTEL