July 29, 2006

Pining for the Good Life

It~s coming to the end of my time in Argentina, I~m very sorry to say. I~m writing this on the triple borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay in a little woodsy town called Puerto Iguazu. I arrived here 2 days ago after a long 22hr bus journey from Buenos Aires. Immediately on arrival, despite the sunny skies and soaring temperatures, I began to feel acute loneliness for Buenos Aires and, particularly, for the friends I made there.
Those 3 weeks in B.A. have been among my favourite in all my time in South America. It~s funny how attached you can become to relative strangers. It~s one of the sadder aspects of being on the move. You constantly meet these amazingly interesting people with whom you just click, people you dont seem to meet in your bubble back at home, but because you happen to be going in different directions, have different plans, you go your seperate ways. Of course, emails are exhanged and promises made, but the very nature of travel is moving on, meeting new people, seeing new places...and you tend to forget about the promises. It happens everyone. The people I met in B.A, the people who became my band of friends for nearly a month, were some of the funniest, most interesting people Ive met in SOuth America, and if I manage to stay in touch with even just one of them, I will be happy.
My Welsh roommate, Ciaran, and I hit it off from Day 1. In fact, he has been my favourite roommate of my entire trip. Sometimes, you just meet people with whom you dont have to try at all, and Ciaran was one of those people. It helped that we both had the same ridiculous sense of humour and I will definitely be swinging by the south of Wales on my way home.
Nico and Anthony, the closest match to Bill & TEd that Ive ever seen!, were the life and soul of our group. Ive never laughed so much in all my life as I have around those two. Anthony was one of those people who, when he started to tell a story, managed to paint a total picture for everyone by describing every little detail. One of the Top 5 Moments in BA is his story about this nutter called Chris who was in his class at school who once picked up a barking jack russell and just threw him over a fence! Nico was my drum´n´bass buddy and I have some great memories of our nights out around the city - a very unique guy who reminds me a lot of an old friend.
Next up was Andy, a really sound guy from Westmeath, who moved into our dorm. Andy and I became really good friends and had lots of ¨lying in bed¨ chats. Andrew and Evelyn´s Day of Culture is my favourite memory of Andy! We set out one day, frazzled from a week of heavy dancing and partying, in search of some soul satisfaction. Inititally, we had great plans - museums, churches, various murals, etc. We thought we´d go for a ¨spot of tea¨ to get us kickstarted for our mission, and decided to check out Cafe Tortoni (BA´s oldest cafe), but ended up having a massive afternoon tea, after which we couldnt physically stand up, so it seemed appropriate to go the whole hog and order a bottle of champagne! A very giggly, silly afternoon was had! Needless to say, the Day of Culture never really got under way! Going to be meeting up with him in Auckland, NZ which Im hugely looking forward to.
Every day in Buenos Aires was exciting. You never knew when you got up in the ¨morning¨ (2pm onwards ) who you~d be having dinner with that night or where you might end up. Like New York, it is a city bursting at the seams, full of possibilities. There´s never an excuse to be bored in BA! Ive never partied so hard. Its funny because I thought I had grown out of clubbing...or at least I had at home...but I´d forgotten how much I enjoyed it, especially drum n bass. We had some ammmaaazing nights dancing!
And then, there were the restaurants!! Oh god, in Buenos Aires you can grow fat happily. If anyone ever needs a recommendation for eating in BA, you know where to find me!!
Favourite moments were going hat shopping with Nico and Andy, dinner and a tango show with a big group from the hostel, Anthony doing my make-up for a night out , going to th zoo with Ciaran, getting kicked out of an Indian restaurant! (not our fault!), our last night together, and of course Tuesday nights in Bahrain!
Life is somewhat quieter after B.A. We all happened to leave around the same time and go our seperate ways. Ive been spending the last few days relaxing in the tropical weather of Iguazu. Up here near the jungle its stickily hot, but it~s great to feel the sun~s rays on my body again.
Yesterday, I visited Iguazu Falls with my roommate Belinda and her boyfriend Ollie (an Ozzie couple). Iguazu Falls are spectacular, even though right now the water levels are the lowest in 9 years!
Legend has it that the falls were created when a young warrior named Caroba incurred the wrath of a forest god by escaping downriver in a canoe with a young girl named Naipur, with whom the god had become infatuated. Enraged, the god caused the riverbed to collapse in front of the lovers. Naipur was turned into a rock at the base of the falls, and Caroba into a tree which overlooks the river.
Im not wild about the hostel here - its more like a hotel. Its like a shopping center or something - big and white with lots of lights. The staff arent friendly and theres a weird vibe about the place. Having a good laugh hanging out with Belinda though....she´s a really interesting girl who has been a tour guide in Vietnam and Cambodia for the last 2 years, so she has a lot of good stories!
PLanning on moving on to Rio in the next day or two, which seems like the perfect place to finish this great adventure in South America!

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