September 28, 2007 GMT
Desert to Jungle


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Road Works on the Ruta 16

Spring has sprung! With the warm sun shining upon us we headed out on Ruta 16 a long, long.... long straight road disecting the top of Argentina. The 600 kilometres cuts through flat scrub lands and is punctuated, now and then, by the odd 40 kilometres or so of road works... just to add a touch of spice.

Dotted here and there are dusty, unispiring small towns with insipid, dubious lodgings. One such town with such a hostal was El Quebrachal. It was the only place to rest for the night , the hostal was taken straight from the chain 'Worlds Truely Horrible Hotels'

Fortunately for Jules, she was filled to the brim with cough syrup and whiskey (purely medicinal of course!) to combat her nasty flu. She did not notice the cigarette butts, dirt and scum that decorated our small dank room.

Around 4 o'clock in the morning a fight broke out in the room next door. The shouting, banging and crashing turned into a full-on brawl and moved out into the street.... yeah... great!

To be perfectly honest, the journey was not all that bad, just the one night. After our horrid evening we again broke the ride, but this time in the very nice town of Presidente RS Peña, in a very nice hotel, with a very nice owner, who had very nice collection of very nice muscle cars!


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NICE! Don Hector's 'Hot Rod' 10.6 seconds, Standing Quarter
Don Hector told us that when he drives this car all the girls want to kiss him!!!

Dry desert brush almost instantly transforms into lush tropical forest as if a line is drawn in the sand. Replacing the rocky dust is a deep red cla,y which surprises you visually, and the dry desert air is replaced with the sweet, damp smells of rainforest. A truely beautiful sensation.


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Baby Seat on a Baby Bike - Corrientes

The township of San Ignacio de Mini is quite and relaxed. Most of the tourists are 'Day Trippers' being dragged about the country side in battered mini busses to visit ruined Jesuit missions. A whirlwind tour takes place before being packed back into the bus and whisked away to the next exciting location.

Founded in 1696, at its present site, San Ignacio de Mini is impressive. Life on the mission brought together various indigenous tribes, including the Guarani, and provided them with employment, food, education and religion and a peaceful way of life until the invasion and ultimate destruction by armies from Brazil and Paraguay.


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Remains of the Church, completed in 1724

People watching is one of our favorite past times, and where better to undertake this activity than at a historical site filled with tourists!


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Creepy Jesuit Sun Dial... at least we hope that is what it is!

Some rush form place to place, 'ooh' and 'aah', take a quick snap for their holiday album and speed off to the next point of interest.

Others leisurely stroll and chat, taking it all in enjoying every moment, wandering and pondering.


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Door to the Library

Whilst there are others, like 'Video Cameral Man' who absorbs everything through the view finder of his camera. Pushing in front of people to ensure exclusive footage of each and every artifact on show, all to be enjoyed at a later some date in the comfort of his living room.

To us, these different people are as fascinating as the actual ruins themselves.


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Where has all the rain forrest gone
One million square kilometres of virgin rainforest has been depleted to sixty thousand kilometres and spread about in tiny parcels

30 rivers converge to create the famous Iguazu Falls. With the mistaken belief we would be communing with nature we visited the impressive and well organised park.


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Parque Nacional Iguazu

Unfortunately our timing was off. We arrived in Puerto de Iguazu in the height of the winter tourist season, when a multitude of tourists, local and international, all vie for a view of the enourmous cascading flow of water.


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Glimps of the Mighty Iguazu Falls - Devils Throat

The crush of people at the view point for The Devils Throat should had been expected. As we walked across the kilometre of board walk, throngs of holiday makers were scurrying backwards and forwards like a troupe of army ants.

Arriving at the lookout, Jules managed to sneak forward and take a few precious photos whilst being elbowed and almost knocked over. We are sure the Falls would have been magnificent, should we have been able to see them in full.


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Frocked Up!

Fed up with being pushed, shoved and generally squashed we chose not to board the train back to the main gate but take a silent and gentle cruise down the river.


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Peace and Quiet at Last

Here the river runs like treacle and the world seems to stand still and silent. Alligator and tortoise bask on the banks lazily, sunning themselves, moving only for a superior position in the sun.


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Aligators

We had hooked up with Marcel from Switzerland, (our paths had been crossing, now and then, since San Rafael) caught up on travel stories over a few meals and bottles of wine.


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Yet another fine Argentine steak dinner
Grant, Marcel, Jules

As Australians we are required to have a visa to enter Brazil. Fearing a long-winded and difficult process we started procedures early. In reality the visa organisation was a doddle. We visited the emabassy, filled in the required forms, presented a photo each, paid the fee and returned in two hours for our multi-entry Brazillian visa. Done like a dinner.

Next stop... Brazil!

Posted by Julie Rose at September 28, 2007 03:32 PM GMT
 
 

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