Argentina

Second last stop on my big trip, Argentina was a lovely stop to rest and recharge for the final leg.

Walked the famous streets of Bueno Aires, watched a Tango show, tried their local famous caramel and empanadas and was left amazed by the mighty Iguazu falls.

Enjoy!

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After leaving Chile, we crossed the lovely Andes Mountains before hitting Mendoza, Argentina’s wine city313958_10150863063282470_1827934337_n

MENDOZA

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I don’t have any pictures of Mendoza and took this off the net. It was a sleepy city, and all I recall now was that I ate really sweet yummy grapes in Mendoza.

BUENO AIRES

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Calle Rua Florida!

I recall thinking it felt unreal that I was actually in Bueno Aires.

It was a beautiful city definitely, European Colonial Architecture everywhere.

I’ve heard  it was in its full glory 10 years ago or more.
While I was there, buildings were starting to look tired, train systems and machines were not really working or kept up to date.

Here, the Macdonalds were around $10.00 USD , Burger King went for $15.00 USD. Pretty much the standard price for a meal at the cafes.
Expensive !  Inflation and unemployment rates had been soaring over the years, I wonder how sustainable it will be. Perhaps this has improved today.

Some say Argentinians are arrogant, still living in their heydays and fantasy that they are still in their rich era.
I found them to be quite friendly actually, even striking up a random conversation with a local lady as I sat outside the popular cemetery.

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We stopped in Bueno Aires for about 10 days. We were lucky, the last day spent in BA, the temperature dropped with no warning and it was back to putting on my winter jacket.
I recall walking so much in BA as well, about 3 hours daily. Just walked to each place, that was our daily routine here.

A fruit stall we passed by daily.

528320_10150863066152470_765912262_nAvenida 9 de Julio-At 9 lanes wide, its the widest street in the world

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Coffee, Sandwich, Pastries. Simple yet satisfying enjoyment of life that Argentians love, even on a work/weekday, you would still see so many people out to having their coffee, mate and sweets384338_10150863067447470_700598759_n

San Telmo !
I recall that was a Sunday, it was warm and bustling!
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Mate drink holders205256_10150863071812470_365164648_n544635_10150863069962470_1604080156_n

Puppet show that was all rage way back in our grandparents days.

This guy has a puppet wearing the same clothes as he was and the setting was similar to the real setting behind him. Really nicely Done.548050_10150863072132470_243544574_n

Tango show
I recall someone telling me that he saw this man 10 years ago when he was there.
So, this means this guy has been dancing here weekly for more 10 years already!
Tango actually started out as a dance between two guys back in the days, because it was deemed too sexually dirty for a male and female  to dance together.
I find it a bit strange that they thought like that many years ago but I guess that was just normal back then.

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La boca!
Locals were so poor before during the economy crisis, so they just used whatever paint they could get from the ships at the port nearby and to give their houses a decent facade.
Little did they know it will later become a tourist attraction.
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The sweet you see in almost every local’s hands especially  at bus stops – Alfajor
( sticky caramel sandwiched between two cookies, sometimes coated in chocolate)
Apparently,  Havanna’s the place to get the best ones in town.
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Apparently alfajor aficionados commented it’s really good but I’m only a fan of creamy caramel (think Colombia and chile’s caramel)

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La Americana’s Empanadas, Lonely planet gave them a shout out. So we had to try.
Cheese and Ham was my favorite flavor406140_10150863070517470_907331717_n250830_10150863073427470_184610421_n

They call this the Pink House, aka the President’s place.540831_10150863074587470_1950265457_n

Congress building

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Visited the Recoleta Cemetary.
The statues and extravagance of design and decoration that went into each tomb was just on the next level. It was beautiful, I haven’t seen cemeteries like this before.
Each space (they can get as large as a room size ) is sold like real estate, costing millions. Then you get designers and builders to construct fancy domes, statues and what not.
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This particular statue had my full attention immediately. Its face a depiction of utter despair, hands out in total surrender, crying out for someone. Gripping.531498_10150863077042470_833715569_n

A statue of the deceased. With her favorite dog. Apparently if you rub the dog’s nose, you will get a lot of good luck.

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Looking at the worn nose, I guess many believed the tale.

The cemetary was beside a shopping mall and I recall sitting out on a bench for lunch and this local lady came up and sat with me.

We chatted and I was surprised that I could hold a conversation in Spanish with her. I could understand most of it, which was mainly her asking why I was sitting out there alone, it was dangerous.
She told me Bueno Aires might not seem or feel dangerous but underneath the facade, it could be.

We chatted a bit more and she told me to take care and left.

I wrapped up and went to look for my friend. It was just nice to chat with a local who was quite helpful with sightseeing tips, and the casual dishing out on all the dangerous situations that could happen to me. I guess it was nicer and quite a lovely surprise I had conversed in Spanish for more than 5 minutes .

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A motor musuem housing vehicles of the past.

And they had an old school vespa scooter
Ancient and out of stock here in Argentina, but aplenty on some of the motorcycles-cluttered streets of Asia.

 

399182_10150863079672470_2054062642_nI found this musuem to be interesting and a nice change to the daily sights 🙂

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Spent a day at San Isidro.

My travel mate used to visit Bueno Aires as his grandparents lived here for a bit about 10 years ago. Revisited places he used to visit, it must have been a really nice experience for him.
Now, I would also love to revisit all the places in Latin America that I’ve been, walk the streets and search for familiar places. Wonder if that would happen one day. I’m so far away.

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They had this old church there as well, was really nice.

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Got back to the city in the late arvo and caught red bull’s race car event by chance.599313_10150863086067470_1083378445_n

It was packed!

Loved how the locals just climb on trees to get to a better spot. Why not? Better view, you get to actually sit and not feel someone else’s breath on your face384209_10150863085787470_158288249_n

And apparently this is a world renown racing champion from France. Can’t remember his name though.292477_10150863086182470_1431132653_n

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Visited a friend and he took us out on his boat to visit the panara river, that bridges out into the Amazon

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Basically, you could boat out to the various eateries on the stilts along the river.

Lunched at one of the food places here. They had awesome Cheese and Ham empanadas! YUMS!553814_10150863085237470_2085732645_n

Tried being the captain. I wasn’t too bad

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Bueno Aires had a china town. Recall having a buffet here. Was so good.
I look so ridiculous in this get up – looking at this picture.
I was dressed like that throughout the trip – The hat I had got in Copacabana Bolivia, Alpaca sweater from La Paz Bolivia and this bag I got in Guatemala?

Guess that was also why I wasn’t robbed as well, I didn’t look like I would rock a Chanel or have a Prada somewhere on me.
I think I only had 2 – 3 tops, one pair of shorts, one pair of leggings, one pair of jeans, a few undies, one nice black dress,  my winter life saving jacket and this alpaca sweater – Ah my simple life.

I recall the family who ran the hostel we stayed at had a party one night. And they partied till 4am or 5am! Including the grand parents! I was kept awake all night and was left quite amazed that they had that energy to do so. Living life to its fullest!

I recall making friends with this hostelmate who used to be an accountant and had been travelling for 8 years. He had mentioned his funds were running low and I asked him why not return to work. He then said he probably couldn’t because he had been out of the industry too long. This made me a little worried about my own situation.
I had been out of college for a year, only waitress-ing then now on this trip. I didn’t have much experience as well.

All along on this trip I had been wondering what to do with my life after the trip ends. I recall sitting at the Ashby station in Berkeley CA wondering, I recall sitting at the beach in the morning alone at Puerto Vallarta Mexico on New Year’s Day wondering.

Now looking back, I shouldn’t have worried so much. Work is always available, if you could make travel your job – fantastic. Otherwise, travel for a bit then go back to the corporate world, push the papers, clock in your time, and when it all doesn’t make sense anymore, then maybe its time to breathe in the air as a wanderer again 🙂

My inner control freak streak – not helpful at all.

IGUAZU

Went on to warmer lands and reached Iguazu falls to visit the legendary falls!
It was raining all day when we got there and thankfully the skies cleared the next day just in time for us to visit 🙂

534973_10150863089892470_362464930_nAnd now!
Iguazu falls, from Argentina’s side.

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I recall it was crowded, not surprising.
I was just walking behind the crowd to get to the devil look out point.
The sound of the water fall was getting louder and suddenly the crowds parted and I was right at the front.

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I still remember that moment clearly, my jaw went slack and literally dropped. I’ve always read in story books where they describe jaw droppings moments and I would be confused as to how your jaw would drop. That situation only belonged to characters in movies or story books.
And here, I had my virgin jaw dropping experience.

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The Iguazu falls was just so mighty. Mightiest thing I’ve ever seen. I didn’t even expect this.

It was so raw, so so raw and oh so powerful.
The currents, the water just rushing down so powerfully.

The mist that was created when the water hit the bottom, the roaring sound of water, the majesty of it all.

I was in awe. And quite dumb struck 🙂

You just have to be there to experience the full extent of it raw power and glory.

So amazing Eleanor Roosevelt commented “Poor Niagara”
The magnificence and grandness of it all, simply breathtaking.
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After the falls, we went to a spot where  I was on Argentina’s land, but had Paraguay on my left and Brazil on my right.

I recall spending another day to visit Paraguay, crossed the borders. It was a bit messy but I got some cheap ear phones there, haha.

~~~
Spent some great weeks in Argentina definitely, enjoyed the slower pace of life in Mendonza, the colonial buildings in Bueno Aires and got blown away by Iguazu falls.

After this, it was on to Brazil, the last stop.

I recall feeling quite happy that the trip was coming to an end as I was getting quite burnt out, but also equally sad while reflecting on all the places I had been the last few months. Magical pace of life in Nicaragua, the colours of Guatemala, eating tofu in Panama, Scaling Machu Pichu, waking up in forests in Bolivia and so many more.
It all went by so fast, too fast. I didn’t know how to feel.

I wished sometimes that we had this hand held device where I could turn the knob, and it brings me back to any point in my life, to re experience it all again.

IMG_20160222_203501I guess that’s why they say to just enjoy the present. For we do not know when we get to experience it again. To live in the present would be the best, but also one of the more difficult things to do. Life, such a paradox sometimes.

Tonight, I had the loveliest sunset, pictures do not do justice.
The skies turned pink, flamed up in orange, with blue splashed across the sky.
With lights of buildings glittering in the far distance.
So I decided to stop everything, enjoy that moment, soaked it in before the skies put on their black night clothes to end the day.

Till the next post, stay gold 🙂

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