Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Argentina take 1

A really quick post from a cafe in La Plata, Argentina, a little South of Buenos Aires, and although I have enough material to be typing here for several hours, I do have a lot of work to get on with so I'm going to try and spend a few hours tonight calculating. Four projects on the go are currently interfering, perhaps destructively, though I hope to get a couple of them ahead of the rest for some interesting results in the not too distant future. Preoccupations with the biggest talk of my career next week are also playing on my mind though I'm looking forward to it as well.

Anyway, I landed in Buenos Aires after a fine flight through a stinkingly hot Madrid, from London and was greeted by the coldest temperatures in BA for several years - minus 2 on the runway on touchdown. We (Sam and Debs, a couple of friends from back home) made our way to Palermo ready to crash at our hotel, but after a shower and being greeted by an amazingly friendly hotel manager who did everything to make us feel at home we were refreshed enough to head out into the city and go exploring. We walked up North, passing a wonderful cafe on the way were we breakfasted and warmed up a little before going round the botanic gardens, passed the zoo and through the Japanese garden
leaf reflection

to an art museum where we saw a great photography exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe's works. On the way back we passed the famous Floris Generica
open flower
In the evening we headed to a parilla to try my first Argentinian steak and I was not disappointed. A very fine fillet for a small sum was succulent and juicy to perfection and the buzz in the restaurant showed that we had chosen a pretty good spot to try the first local delicacy. Other steaks have followed and, baring one, have been fantastic.

Anyway, time is getting on....we had planned to fly up to Iguazu, but our flight was cancelled and so we decided to drive the 1300 km up North. (Sunrise over the rio de plata after finding out our flights were canceled:
sunrise over the silver river
After running around the city failing to find a car, we tracked one down, and two days and 16 hours of driving later found ourselves on the Frontier with Brazil and Paraguay. We headed straight for the falls just in time as we had only three hours before the park closed. I really can't put into words how spectacular they are. Pictures do not do them justice, they are just overwhelmingly powerful! For now, pictures will have to do and these are the first few that I've processed so far.
La Garganta del diabolo
Iguazu falls 1
Iguazu falls 4
Iguazu falls 5
Iguazu falls 2
Anyway, I hope to talk more about the journey up soon but now I have to work. One thing I need to state however is that, time after time, we have been bowled over by not just people's friendliness, which I've met in many countries, but their incredible kindness and willingness to go out of their way to help you. Over and over again we have been greeted with the most incredible hospitality I've ever come across. In England if you turned up in a restaurant at 10 at night in an overbooked tourist town in the middle of nowhere and asked if they knew of any hotels, they might point you in the direction of a hotel to try, or simply shake their heads. When this happened on the drive up to Iguazu, the restaurant owner phoned around a dozen hotels pleading for a place for us until he found one, booked us a room and then told us to sit down and have a meal before we went on to the hotel where they were waiting for us. This has continued to happen every day without prompting or pleading. This country has impressed me a lot on many fronts so far and I'm really looking forward to the next few weeks of travel and work here....and now back to it....

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