Sunday, 31 January 2010

Be Careful What You Ask For!

Like the old joke goes, always be careful what you ask for! I came to Rosario for some quietness, rest and water. And this is exactly what I got! Only the water was not on a beach, not on the islands of Rio Parana, it came from the heavens...

It has been raining since yesterday, pretty much all the time I've been here. The hostel is really nice and made some new friends, but that's all there is to it. Rain, rest (boredom?) and quietness. Apparently it will go on for a few days on my return to Buenos Aires, it's an effect of the once-every-decade visit of El Nino. I shouldn't complain and I'm not, but next time I'll be more careful with the titles of my posts here.....

Friday, 29 January 2010

Nerooooo, ligo verooooo....

It cannot get any hotter than this! The city is on fire! I need this water desperately. Thankfully the Portenos have some seriously cold beers in the fridge and that goes a long way.

I don't know what you know about Brazilians but they must be the hardest partying people on earth! The loudest, friendliest and most lovable too. On my return from Uruguay, a small communication breakdown forced me to "think laterally" as they say. And by following the advice of some friends from Montevideo I ended up in a crazy place full of them! I mean 95% of the people there were from Brazil. An eclectic mix I have to say and after 3 days I was done. I have a certain age you see and I can go so far. The days were hot and lazy, the nights were hot and sweaty! Enough said.

And now we come back to that water mentioned on the title. The mirage that I keep seeing all day, every day. I'm off again. I have to. It's a matter of life or death almost. Tomorrow I'll be in Rosario, on the Parana river. A few hours bus drive and I'll find my oasis..... An update will follow straight from the shadow of a tall tree, or the bottom of the river.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The beach at last!

The past 4 days passed quietly and idly in Colonia Del Sacramento.

This is the first European (Portuguese) settlement in what became Uruguay. On the north bank of Rio De La Plata, literally across the river from Buenos Aires, this new port  was founded  as a raiding settlement. Raiding and disrupting the Spanish trade from B.A. that is. Basically it was a base for piracy, and I liked that idea. Eventually the Spanish took that over as well, after founding Montevideo first, and the rest is history.

The foundations, gates and lighthouse, church and port of the ancient city still remain. The old part of the town was included in the UNESCO World Heritage program as well. It's a nice, sleepy town. You're more likely to encounter tourists running amok on rented mopeds and golf buggies (!) than locals most of the time. And it has some nice beaches too. Nothing like the north Uruguayan or Brazilian Atlantic coastline, but still very enjoyable.

So it went. Some aimless wandering around, endless hours on the beach, local delicacies and a mild sunburn. The only downside to all this was the loss of my shades. Someone nicked them in the hostel. Oh well, it was meant to happen at some point.

Back to the frenzy of Buenos Airs now, some unfinished business to be taken care of and then: Samba de Janeiro!

And since I'll be at the Rio Carnaval in a couple of weeks, a little taste of what's to come from the (relatively small) Carnaval of Colonia:
Hasta luego!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


Montevideo looks old. At least La Ciudad Vieja, the old city, looks old. I know, that's it's name and it's supposed to be, but what I mean is more neglected than just old. There is a certain beauty in that but it's not something that would instantly win you over.

After the craziness of Buenos Aires, this feels like a provisional town in comparison. I mean, Montevideo has 1.3 million people but everything is so much slower and quiet. I like that, at least right now.

The main point for me is the waterfront. Technically we're still at the end of Rio de La Plata, but it actually feels like the ocean. Today it has been stormy all day. Drizzle and rain, and drizzle again but incredibly windy as well. You can imagine how that turned out at the port and the south seafront! It has nice food too. Of the all-the-meat-you-can-eat school of cuisine but still very nice. And the people are seriously friendly.

So, it has been the little break I needed after BA but I didn't fall in love with the place I have to admit. Yet.
PS: the nearest beaches are too far for my comfort. I'll be patient another couple of days I guess......

Friday, 15 January 2010

Time for a beach

The temperature is rising fast, Buenos Aires is a frying pan!
Spanish lessons and lazy days have been the norm this week. Nothing really wild but it's been great fun. I know this might shock you, but I haven't tried the Tango yet! It's too hot, and everybody knows how inept I am with freely jiggling limbs. I will though, promise I will.

I might (or might not) have time for another update this weekend, but it looks like next week I'm gonna have a much needed break in Uruguay. I think I deserve it! A few hundred miles of sandy beaches sound like music to my ears....

Hasta luego!

And of course, we shouldn't forget our daily dose of Diegito (with a side dish of Che, a local lad don't forget):

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Out The Window!

A little note on something strange but wonderful that I neglected. An apparent tradition (?) in Buenos Aires that left me utterly amazed, even though everybody else seemed totally cool about! On New Year's Eve, in the Microcentro, the "City" so to speak, apparently everybody throws out the window all the papers, notes and work diaries of the dying year! It's literally raining paper!!!

Have a look:

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Parana Delta.

Today was a wonderful day. Very very hot and humid I'm afraid, but it was fantastic!

The Delta of the Parana river, less than one hour by train from Buenos Aires is a spectacular water maze seemingly in the middle of the jungle. The river and all its little branches spread and converge and split and meet again forming an endless pattern of small and larger islands. Along the banks there are hundreds of houses, some simple huts, some small holiday homes and some quite grandiose villas, with the only connection with the city being by boat through Tigre.

We had lunch in one of the local restaurants on the bank of a small triangular island and we walked. A lot! The place is just beautiful! The vegetation is so diverse (doubtless not all of it is natural-I cannot imagine pine trees growing on their own in there but I might be wrong), the river and it's canals twist and turn, thick shadows pierced by blazing sun-rays, kids swim everywhere, wooden footpaths and footbridges and so many more things to marvel at. I can imagine this place being a sanctuary of a kind for months!

Here's the place:,+Argentina&ll=-34.33323,-58.52211&spn=0.175774,0.441513&t=h&z=11

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year!!!

I hope 2010 will bring health, happiness and at least a few of all's dreams closer!